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05/08/97 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. TRACY TAYLOR

May 8, 1997

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TRACY TAYLOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 90--CF--100. Honorable James T. Doyle, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication June 11, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Rathje delivered the opinion of the court. Geiger, P.j., and Inglis, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rathje

JUSTICE RATHJE delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Tracy Taylor, was convicted of one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault and was sentenced to a term of 30 years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections. The defendant appealed, and this court reversed his conviction and remanded the cause for a new trial. See People v. Taylor, 244 Ill. App. 3d 460, 183 Ill. Dec. 891, 612 N.E.2d 543 (1993). Following a second jury trial, the defendant was again convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault and was sentenced to a term of 35 years' imprisonment.

The defendant appeals raising the following issues: whether the trial judge should have recused himself from all proceedings which occurred after the jury began deliberations; and whether the increase in the defendant's sentence from 30 to 35 years' imprisonment was improper.

On October 11, 1994, following the defendant's second conviction, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. The State called several witnesses to testify in aggravation.

Susan Dahl testified that, on January 18, 1990, she was working as a clerk in a convenience store when the defendant robbed the store. In the course of the robbery, the defendant slapped her in the face and told her that he had a gun.

Cameron Forbes, employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections in the records department, testified as to the defendant's penitentiary records for the time period between his two trials in this cause. Mr. Forbes explained that an inmate disciplinary report is referred to as a "ticket." There are major tickets which would be for something like assaultive behavior while a minor ticket would be for not reporting for school or being slow in locking up. Minor tickets are sent to the program unit which is limited to enforcing minor discipline. Major tickets are sent to the adjustment committee which has the latitude to dismiss the ticket or impose a proper punishment following a hearing. A major ticket would be any ticket where an inmate received a C grade demotion, a segregation placement, or a loss of good-conduct credits for the violation.

Mr. Forbes further testified that the records reflect that the defendant received one major ticket in his first six months of incarceration and nine thereafter. He also received 12 minor tickets during his incarceration. The records further reflected that the defendant lost good-time credits on two occasions. According to Forbes, of the major tickets the defendant received, it appeared that at least two were for assaultive behavior.

On cross-examination, Mr. Forbes testified that neither of the two incidents of assaultive behavior were directed against a correctional officer. He acknowledged that there was gang activity at the Menard facility, to which the defendant had been transferred from the Joliet facility, but denied that the gangs had more control over the day-to-day activities of the inmates than the guards. He further denied that fighting was very common at Menard or Joliet. Mr. Forbes acknowledged that the good-time credits that the defendant lost as a result of those incidents were in fact restored to him as of January 22, 1992.

Mr. Forbes further testified that other "major" tickets that the defendant received were for giving extra meat to another inmate while the defendant was on the serving line; failing to complete an assigned detail; and being in a cell with another inmate where music was being played too loud. However, Mr. Forbes was unsure as to whether all these were included as major tickets in his total of nine for the defendant since in certain cases a minor punishment was imposed. Mr. Forbes did agree that the defendant had only been involved in two incidents of assaultive behavior since his incarceration.

Mr. Forbes further testified that the defendant's records showed no violations from November 1992 to November 1993 when he was returned to the Kane County jail to await his new trial. In addition, the records reflected that the defendant had received a "low risk" status and had been recommended by the warden for transfer to a less secure facility. The transfer was denied solely on the basis of the amount of time remaining to be served on the defendant's sentence.

On redirect examination, Mr. Forbes testified that, in one of the assault incidents, the defendant and two others jumped another inmate and began to beat him up. The defendant was also "ticketed" for stealing syrup, which the inmates would use to make alcohol. On re-cross-examination, Mr. Forbes testified that no criminal charges were placed against the defendant while he was in the Department of Corrections.

The trial court then questioned Mr. Forbes as to why the 30 days of good-time credit that the defendant lost as a result of the above assault incident were restored to him. Mr. Forbes explained that, under Department of Corrections' procedures, after a certain period of time has elapsed without similar conduct occurring, the good-time credit lost is restored to the inmate, unless the time was lost in conjunction with an escape in which case it is not restored.

Thomas Oatman testified that the victim and he were living together at the time of the offense; they are now married. He described the impact that the offense had on his working life as well as on the victim and their social life. At the time that the cause was remanded for a second trial, the victim received eight obscene telephone calls. The calls were traced to the Department of Corrections facility at Danville. Mr. Oatman ...


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