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December 4, 1997



Rehearing Denied January 9, 1998. Released for Publication January 22, 1998.As Corrected December 5, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court. Cerda, P.j., and McNAMARA, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

The Honorable Justice WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

On November 22, 1992, Kevin Healy was arrested by the Chicago police department and charged with the murder of Laura Sage. Between March 16, 1993, and September 17, 1993, a period of 185 days, while Healy was incarcerated awaiting trial, the prosecution requested five continuances in an attempt to complete its crime laboratory work. During this time, neither Healy nor his attorneys caused, contributed to, or agreed to these continuances.

Because this delay violated the Illinois Speedy Trial Act, we reverse Healy's conviction and order his discharge.


The facts surrounding Sage's murder and Healy's arrest come from the trial testimony of Healy; Assistant State's Attorney Stan Gonsalves, who published Healy's confession to the jury; and Detective Bernard Ryan, who investigated Sage's murder.

In August 1992, Healy picked-up a hitchhiker, Sage, in his van while driving through Cicero. After talking with Healy for several minutes, Sage offered to have sex with Healy for money. Healy agreed, had sex with Sage, and paid her $40.

On November 2, 1992, while his wife was staying at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Healy sought Sage's company by driving through Cicero. When he found Sage, Healy accompanied her to a motel where he paid her again for sex. At the motel, Healy met Sage's friend, Carnival Bob. Over the next five days, Healy sought Sage's company in Cicero on several occasions. Healy gave Sage money for sex, and Sage would use this money for drugs. Healy saw Sage injecting drugs on several occasions. During this time, Sage began staying at Healy's house.

On November 7, 1992, while riding in Healy's van, Sage demanded more money for drugs. When Healy refused, Sage threatened to tell Healy's wife and employer about his solicitation of a prostitute, and threatened to have Carnival Bob burglarize Healy's house. Sage lied down in the back of Healy's van to rest. Healy followed Sage, kneeled on top of her, and grabbed her shirt. Healy testified: "I told her to get out of my truck, to get out of my life." According to Healy, Sage responded: "She said I was a dead man because she had aids [sic]." Healy then killed Sage by beating her with a flashlight, strangling her with a plastic tie-strap, and stabbing her.

On November 13, 1992, Sage's body was found in the Chicago River. The Chicago police department began its investigation. After learning Sage's identity, the police met with several of her friends. The police learned Sage was last seen with a man named Kevin in a blue van containing Chicago fire department paraphernalia. On the morning of November 22, 1992, three detectives went to Healy's house.

At Healy's house, the police observed a blue van in the driveway. Healy answered the door and met the police briefly. When Healy admitted his acquaintance with Sage, the police told Healy they would like to interview him at Area 1 Police Headquarters "some time in the future." Healy chose to speak with the police immediately. After nearly six hours of police interrogation, a failed polygraph test, and eventually an inculpatory statement, Healy was arrested.

On December 16, 1992, the prosecution returned an indictment against Healy, and the court set an arraignment for December 29, 1992. Healy agreed to extend this date to January 4, 1993. On that date, Healy filed a motion to substitute judges and asked for a bond hearing, which was set for January 20.

On January 20, 1993, Healy filed his discovery motion. The court offered the prosecution 45 days to complete discovery. Healy's attorney suggested the parties return on March 16, 1993, once the prosecution had answered discovery.

On March 16, 1993, the prosecution provided discovery documents and requested blood, saliva, and hair samples from Healy. Healy's attorney objected for the record and asked to file a written response, but the court granted the prosecution's request. The prosecution asked for six weeks to finish analyzing these samples. Defense counsel responded, "I have no problem with any date in May, Judge." Then, the court spoke with defense counsel:

"THE COURT: Is it a by-agreement date or are you saying you want time to file your motions, too; file what motions would be due on said date?

I am trying to set a date, counsel, by which they can get the work-up done and that information can be gotten [sic] to you so that their Discovery to you is complete and it would give you time to review your Discovery to prepare your answer and file any pretrial motion that will be heard. Pick a date that would allow that?

[Defense Attorney]: Any date in May we will be here."

The court ordered the parties to return on May 6, 1993. No trial date was set.

On May 6, 1993, the prosecution reported the samples had not been analyzed and requested another month to complete its tests. The court said:

"THE COURT: All right. What date do we want?

[Assistant State's Attorney]: A month date.

THE COURT: Today is what? The 6th? Why don't you pick a date the week of June 7.

[Defense Attorney]: Any day will be fine, Judge.

THE COURT: Let's make it the 9th. June 9, status.

[Defense Attorney]: Sure, Judge."

On June 9, 1993, the prosecution again reported the samples had not been analyzed and requested another month. The court said:

"THE COURT: Do you have a time frame?

[Assistant State's Attorney]: Judge, I'm hoping to have it within a month.

THE COURT: Okay counsel, do you want to look at your calendar. The problem is actually a month from now I will not be here. I will be on vacation. So maybe the prudent thing is to set it when ...

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