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June 30, 1994



Johnson, Cahill, Theis

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Johnson

JUSTICE JOHNSON delivered the opinion of the court:

On August 13, 1988, defendant, Lee Robin, was indicted for the murders of his wife, Annette, and their infant daughter, Denise. The trial court ordered him examined for fitness to stand trial and for sanity. Defendant was later found unfit to stand trial and placed in the custody of the Illinois Department of Mental Health (hereinafter the Department) for treatment on an inpatient basis. Shortly thereafter, defendant was admitted to Elgin Mental Health Center (hereinafter Elgin). Six months later, defendant was determined fit to stand trial and was ultimately found not guilty of the murders by reason of insanity. The trial court ordered him examined to ascertain whether he required additional mental health services. Defendant was involuntarily committed to Elgin where he remains.

Approximately 2 years after he was committed, the Department filed a petition seeking unsupervised off-grounds passes for defendant. Defendant had already been granted unsupervised on-grounds passes and supervised off-grounds passes. After a hearing, the trial court denied the Department's petition and defendant was remanded to Elgin and to the custody of the Department.

On appeal, defendant contends that the trial court's order denying the Department's petition to grant him unsupervised off-grounds passes was against the manifest weight of the evidence or, alternatively, a new hearing should be conducted on the petition as the trial court's decision was based on an improper standard.

We affirm.

The record evinces that in 1979, while in college, defendant dropped out of school because he began to feel overwhelmed, extremely depressed, and anxious. He eventually finished college and entered medical school. During this period, he suffered from anxiety, self-doubt, and depression. He was hospitalized for depression for 1 1/2 weeks. After his marriage and graduation from medical school, defendantagain experienced extreme depression and became suicidal. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks.

One year prior to the murders, defendant experienced a series of depressive episodes which included paranoid delusions, ideas of reference, feelings of complete worthlessness, and suicidal ideation or intent. He shared his suicidal thoughts with his family. A week before the killings, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide and was briefly hospitalized. He was later released from the hospital and told his psychiatrist that he had thoughts of killing his wife and child. He pleaded with his wife to take their daughter and leave him but she remained.

Members of defendant's family also suffered from mental illness. Defendant was very close to his father who was a manic depressive prone to violent periods. His brother also suffers from "schizoaffective disorder," another type of mental illness. Defendant was not close to his mother and found her to be very controlling and very demanding. He was considerably upset by his mother's tremendous dependence upon him. He directly compared his mother and his wife.

At the hearing in November 1992, the State presented substantial evidence in support of denying the Department's petition. Dr. Henry W. Lahmeyer, a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University Medical School, testified as an expert in forensic psychiatry. Dr. Lahmeyer, who conducted the most recent evaluation of defendant, stated that it would be "premature" to grant him unsupervised off-grounds passes. This opinion was based on a review of Elgin's records, police reports, testimony from the trial, and defendant's psychiatric and psychological records in addition to his interview with defendant and some of defendant's doctors. Dr. Lahmeyer diagnosed defendant as having "bipolar type 2," a manic depressive illness with mixed personality disorders.

Dr. Lahmeyer was asked to individually evaluate each report completed on defendant. The first, based on psychological testing conducted by a doctor at Elgin, indicated that defendant suffered from paranoid and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. He was also very defensive. Dr. Mary Catherine Hughes, a Department doctor, completed a psychological report which demonstrated findings similar to that of the Elgin doctor. However, she emphasized defendant's overt and covert hostility and his inability to deal with both his hostility and violent feelings.

The findings of a doctor at the Isaac Ray Center, were consistent with the other two reports as far as defendant's paranoia, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, unresolved issues of dependency, and a tendency to "act out" when issues of dependency arose. Hisparanoia created difficulties in establishing psychotherapeutic trust and he found psychotherapy to be threatening. The report also noted that defendant tended to externalize the blame for his problems and has very little insight into them. The final psychological report reviewed by Dr. Lahmeyer was conducted by a doctor at the Illinois Psychiatric Institute. This doctor's findings were also consistent with the others, but he believed defendant still had psychotic potential and was a danger to himself. He did not recommend a change in defendant's privileges.

Dr. Lahmeyer observed that defendant was unable to handle closeness with other individuals. He described an incident in which defendant developed a very close friendship with a female patient at Elgin. They talked frequently and engaged in activities together. The staff saw great improvements in defendant resulting from this relationship. Defendant believed he would marry the woman once they were both released. The woman was eventually discharged and she remarried her ex-husband. Defendant became extremely upset and demanded to have his Lithium level increased. Shortly thereafter, a telephone call was made to defendant from a woman he was scheduled to meet that day, presumably the aforementioned woman. A patient, a disorganized schizophrenic, answered the call and told the woman that defendant could not come to the telephone. Defendant overheard this and began shouting obscenities at the man, picked him up by the collar and began to shake him. Although this outburst ...

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