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06/21/89 the People of the State of v. Mickey Myers

June 21, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

MICKEY MYERS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Before the issue of shackling as it might affect credibility can arise, there must be evidence the jury knew the witness was shackled. Here, the record contains no indication the jury was aware the witness was shackled. The trial court described the restraint as a waist-type device with one hand attached to the witness stand underneath a table, and stated it did not think the jury was aware of the shackles.

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

540 N.E.2d 1050, 185 Ill. App. 3d 118, 133 Ill. Dec. 184 1989.IL.948

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon. Charles H. Frank, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ, J., concurs. JUSTICE LUND, specially Concurring.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KNECHT

After a jury trial in the circuit court of Livingston County, the defendant, Mickey Myers, was found guilty of aggravated battery in that he knowingly or intentionally caused bodily harm to a correctional institution employee. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(6).) He was sentenced to a term of eight years in the Department of Corrections consecutive to his current sentence.

The defendant appeals his conviction on the sole ground he was denied a fair trial due to the shackling of his key witness. We affirm.

On October 14, 1987, Terry Williams, a counselor at Pontiac Correctional Center, was scalded with water while walking past a row of cells in a segregation unit. Williams received first and second degree burns on areas of his head, face, and neck.

At trial Williams testified he knew the liquid came from the defendant's cell because it is directly in front of a guard tower and because as he walks down the cell row he glances at each cell and the number above it. Williams also testified that just before getting hit with the substance he saw the defendant standing in the middle of his cell holding a bowl-container.

Other evidence from the prosecution at trial consisted of (1) objects found in the defendant's cell: a bowl still wet to the touch, a pair of gloves, and an extension cord with the end stripped exposing bare wires, generally referred to as a "stinger" used to heat liquid; (2) corroboration of the testimony of Williams and a corrections officer (Officer Munson), in that the floor around the defendant's cell was wet after the incident; and (3) testimony by Munson the defendant "admitted having done it."

The defense presented one witness, James Allen, another inmate at Pontiac Correctional Center. The circuit court ordered Allen shackled by one hand to a waist-type device he was wearing. Before Allen was allowed to testify, the defense objected to his being shackled. The court allowed the shackles, holding, "I think everyone knows that he is incarcerated in the Department of Corrections, and I just can't imagine any possible prejudice." Allen was brought into and taken out of the courtroom out of the presence of the jury.

Allen testified he was housed in the cell next to the defendant at the time of the incident. Allen stated the defendant could not have thrown the liquid as the incident occurred three or four cells down the gallery and he and the defendant were talking at the time Williams was scalded. On cross-examination, Allen testified his adult convictions consisted of robbery, kidnapping, rape, and murder.

Just prior to the sentencing hearing, the court found the defendant was not prejudiced by the shackling of Allen and denied the defendant's motion for a new trial. Addressing the ...


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