APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION
509 N.E.2d 1323, 157 Ill. App. 3d 115, 109 Ill. Dec. 311 1987.IL.784
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Christy S. Berkos, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court. RIZZI, J., concurs. PRESIDING JUSTICE McNAMARA, Dissenting.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WHITE
Defendant James Murphy, charged with the murder of Donald Bolden and having conceded that he committed the homicide, pled not guilty by reason of insanity and, alternatively, that the act was committed in self-defense. At trial, the jury heard the contents of a report of defendant's social history prepared by the Cook County Psychiatric Institute shortly after the incident; that report contained statements from defendant's mother indicating that he had quarreled with his family before the incident and that she believed defendant's actions to be a response to the quarrel, not a result of insanity or an attempt at self-defense. In closing argument, the prosecutor used the mother's statement as substantive proof that defendant's actions were caused by rage at the family dispute and were not a result of insanity or an attempt to defend himself. Defendant was found guilty of murder but mentally ill and sentenced to a 30-year prison term. We reverse.
On July 3, 1979, police officers responded to a report of a man with a knife, and en route to the reported address, saw defendant carrying a knife and chasing the victim. By the time an officer had left his squad car and approached the scene on foot, the victim was leaning against a car. As defendant was being disarmed and handcuffed, the victim collapsed; he died of internal bleeding from a single stab wound. Defendant said that the victim had been "picking on" him and had struck him with a baseball bat.
Defendant underwent a series of psychiatric examinations to determine whether he was fit to stand trial. Dr. Robert Reifman, who initially examined defendant, concluded that he was both fit to stand trial and sane at the time of the offense. However, on the basis of subsequent testing by Dr. Marvin Ziporyn which indicated mental retardation and paranoid personality, the court found defendant unfit for trial on January 14, 1981, and placed him in the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. The department provided the court with updates on defendant's condition, reporting in April 1981 that defendant remained unfit and in July 1981 that he was still unfit and unlikely to attain fitness by January 1982. However, on September 2, 1981, counsel for both the prosecution and the defense stipulated that two psychiatrists had examined defendant and found him fit for trial, and the court entered a finding of fitness in accord with that stipulation.
At trial, an assistant State's Attorney questioned psychiatrists for the prosecution and defense about a report of defendant's social history prepared by a Cook County Psychiatric Institute employee. That report included a conversation with defendant's mother which allegedly revealed the occurrences immediately before the homicide:
"MR CRONIN [prosecutor]: Have you read that report?
DR. ZIPORYN [defense witness]: This report?
Q. Yes, from Yvonne Stevens.
A. I just read the last paragraph, where she says the defendant is a schizophrenic, paranoid-type, with mild retardation --
Q. There is no question pending. I'm directing your attention to the middle of the first paragraph, after 'arrest.' Doctor, are you aware that Mrs. Hill stated about her son on the night that he was arrested: 'Later patient came home intoxicated. He asked his mother for money. She refused him, and he became very angry and belligerent. His seventeen-year-old sister intervened, told the patient that she was going to get some boys to beat him up. The patient again got a butcher knife and was going to cut his sister. She ran into [a] closet. The mother tried to take the knife from the patient. He knocked her down and ran out of the house with the knife. The mother then had the daughter call the police.'
A. Yes, sir, I was aware of that situation.
Q. Are you aware that she feels -- this is the mother talking to Yvonne Stevens -- "that it was a coincidence that the victim was on the street when the patient ran out of the house angry ...