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05/27/87 the People of the State of v. Raul Garcia

May 27, 1987





509 N.E.2d 600, 156 Ill. App. 3d 417, 108 Ill. Dec. 904 1987.IL.681

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Vincent Bentivenga, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA, P.J., and WHITE, J., concur.


Following a bench trial, defendant, Raul Garcia, was found guilty but mentally ill of attempted murder, four counts of aggravated battery, and two counts of armed violence. Defendant was sentenced to a term of 12 years for attempted murder. On appeal defendant argues that the State failed to sustain its burden of proof with regard to his defense of insanity. We reverse and remand.

The facts surrounding the incident in question are not in dispute. Prior to the occurrence at issue here, defendant and his brother Rudolfo, the victim, were living in their mother's house along with several other family members and Rudolfo's fiancee, Linda. On the morning of June 30, 1983, at approximately 3 a.m., defendant entered the basement, where Rudolfo and Linda were sleeping on a couch. Defendant repeatedly stabbed Rudolfo and then left the house. Defendant was subsequently arrested around 5 a.m., when the police were notified that he had returned home. After being advised of his Miranda warnings, defendant led the police officers to the location of the knife that he used to stab Rudolfo. Defendant was then taken into custody and interrogated.

On July 1, 1983, pursuant to court order, defendant was examined by Dr. Stephen Cann, a staff psychiatrist for The Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Cann's report indicates that he diagnosed defendant as psychotic, with gross delusions and thought disorder. Cann's report further states that he found defendant unfit to stand trial. Thereafter, a fitness hearing for defendant was held on November 30, 1983. During the hearing, Dr. Gerson Kaplan, a psychiatrist, testified that pursuant to court order he examined defendant on September 27, 1983. Kaplan stated that prior to his examination of defendant, he reviewed the psychological examination of defendant prepared by a staff psychiatrist, the police reports concerning the stabbing, the grand jury transcript, and defendant's social service history. Based on the documentation provided and an examination of defendant, Kaplan testified that in his opinion, defendant was suffering from a schizophrenic disorder, paranoid type, and was not mentally fit for trial. Kaplan further opined that defendant was legally insane at the time of the stabbing because he was unable to control his behavior in conformity with the law. Thereafter, the trial court found defendant unfit to stand trial and committed him to the Department of Mental Health. Defendant was then placed in Elgin Mental Health Center, a maximum security facility.

Following six months of treatment at Elgin, which included the daily administration of psychotropic drugs to control hallucinations, defendant received a second fitness hearing. *fn1 At the hearing, Dr. Kaplan testified that he examined defendant for a second time on June 13, 1984. Kaplan explained that prior to examining defendant, he reviewed his previous psychological report of defendant, reports from Elgin, and a recent psychological examination of defendant conducted in June of 1984. Kaplan then testified that while defendant was still a sick man, he had improved sufficiently to be found fit for trial with medication. *fn2 Defendant was subsequently restored to fitness for purposes of trial.

At trial, Linda Garcia testified as the State's first witness. Linda stated that on the morning in question, she was asleep next to Rudolfo on a couch in the basement when she heard Rudolfo moaning. Linda indicated that she woke up, heard slapping noises, and saw defendant standing over Rudolfo, apparently hitting him. When Linda then began screaming, defendant ran from the room. Linda stated that she then saw blood on Rudolfo, realized that he was hurt, and ran for help. On cross-examination, Linda testified that although she lived in the same house as defendant, she never spoke to defendant because he was very quiet and kept to himself. Linda indicated that she was not aware of any disagreement between defendant and Rudolfo.

Rudolfo Garcia, Jr., testified next for the State. Rudolfo claimed that he had a close relationship with defendant as a child. Rudolfo then stated that he left home when he entered the Marines. When Rudolfo left the Marines in April 1982, and returned home, he realized that defendant was having problems with the family and that nobody was talking to him. Rudolfo testified that he tried to "break the ice" but had no success. Rudolfo further testified that he had an argument with defendant about one year prior to the incident in question when defendant was intoxicated and insulted one of Rudolfo's friends. According to Rudolfo, he was also a "little drunk" and had grabbed defendant by the throat. Rudolfo's friends separated them. Rudolfo testified that defendant then stated, "[One] of these days I'm going to get you while you're asleep."

On cross-examination, Rudolfo testified that while he was in the Marines, he received numerous phone calls from his sisters telling him that they were frightened of defendant. His sisters would explain the reasons for their fears to Rudolfo and advise him of the trouble that defendant was causing at home. Rudolfo further testified that he saw defendant disoriented once or twice the summer before he returned home permanently. According to Rudolfo's testimony, defendant was usually in his room, and Rudolfo would hear defendant talking to himself and laughing, even though he was alone and the radio and television were off. Rudolfo concluded by stating that defendant was never violent in his presence.

On redirect examination, Rudolfo testified that even though defendant had just started a job and was also beginning to go outside, defendant spent the majority of his time alone in his room. At dinner time, defendant would grab his dinner plate and run into his room to eat. Rudolfo indicated that defendant's room did not have a door and that the curtains were always shut.

Another State witness, Officer Peter Rodgers, testified that when he arrested defendant, he placed defendant in handcuffs to restrain him. Defendant was totally cooperative. Rodgers also stated that when defendant showed him where the knife was located, his voice sounded normal and defendant had no expression on his face. Rodgers further testified that while defendant was in custody ...

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