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People v. Cole

October 06, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
LELAND COLE, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit, Knox County, Illinois

No. 96--CF--51

Honorable Harry Bulkeley Judge, Presiding

Following a bench trial, the trial court found respondent, Leland L. Cole, to be a "sexually dangerous person," as that term is defined in section 1.01 of the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (725 ILCS 205/0.01 et seq. (West 1996) (the Act)). 725 ILCS 205/1.01 (West 1996). On appeal, respondent contends: (1) that a clinical diagnosis of pedophilia cannot satisfy both the "mental disorder" component of the definition of "sexually dangerous person" and the other elements of the definition; and (2) that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that respondent is a "sexually dangerous person." For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Initially, we note that this court granted the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD) leave to withdraw as counsel for respondent. OSAD made its motion on the premise that section 10 of the State Appellate Defender Act (725 ILCS 105/10 (West 1996)) does not permit OSAD to represent clients in civil matters, such as those under review here (725 ILCS 205/3.01 (West 1996)). The State then filed a motion asking our supreme court to issue a supervisory order directing this court to vacate its earlier order and enter an order denying OSAD's motion for leave to withdraw. The supreme court denied the State's motion.

In its brief, the State asks this court to reconsider the decision to allow OSAD to withdraw in light of the supreme court's recent resolution of a similar controversy in the Second Judicial District. In that case, the Second District Appellate Court denied OSAD's motion for leave to withdraw as counsel for a respondent who was appealing his commitment as a "sexually dangerous person." OSAD then asked the supreme court for a supervisory order directing the appellate court to vacate its earlier order and enter an order allowing OSAD's motion for leave to withdraw. The supreme court denied OSAD's motion.

We must agree with the State that the supreme court has not exercised its supervisory power consistently in addressing this issue. However, in view of the late stage of this appeal and the circuit court's appointment of competent appellate counsel to represent respondent, the interest in judicial economy weighs heavily in favor of reaching the merits of respondent's appeal without further delay. Accordingly, the State's motion to reconsider is denied.

We now turn to a review of the proceedings in the trial court. At trial, T.L., a 10-year-old boy, testified that he stayed overnight at his grandfather's home on several occasions during July and August 1995. When he visited his grandfather, T.L. would sleep on the living room floor. Respondent would sleep on a couch in the living room. On four or five occasions, respondent undid T.L.'s pants and sucked on his penis. During these events, no one else was present except for T.L.'s grandfather who was asleep in the next room.

Milo L., T.L.'s father, testified T.L. spent several evenings at his grandfather's home during July and August 1995. At some point, however, T.L. refused to stay there. During the autumn of 1995, T.L. began to protest that he did not want to go to school. Once at school, T.L. would cry and ask to go home. The school's principal allowed T.L. to call home every morning. On some occasions, T.L. had to be picked up and taken home. Milo asked T.L. what was wrong. T.L. told his father that he could not tell him what was wrong. In February 1996, Milo asked T.L. whether anyone had ever touched him "where they're not supposed to." T.L. answered that someone had and identified respondent as the person who had done so.

On the State's motion, the trial court took judicial notice of respondent's prior sex offense convictions. In 1990, respondent pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse for fondling the penis of a boy under the age of 13 and was sentenced to a five-year prison term. In 1985, respondent was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for fondling the penis of a boy under the age of 13 and placed on probation. In 1981, respondent was convicted of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor for fondling a boy under the age of 14 and sentenced to a one-year prison term. In 1974, respondent was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for fondling a boy under the age of 14 and placed on probation.

Dr. Robert E. Chapman, a court-appointed psychiatrist, testified on behalf of the State. In an interview with Chapman, respondent denied any sexual activity with children. However, in view of respondent's long history of molesting prepubescent males, Chapman concluded that respondent is a "sexually dangerous person." Specifically, Chapman found that respondent suffers from pedophilia and anti-social personality disorder and that respondent had suffered from these mental disorders for more than one year prior to the filing of the State's petition.

Chapman testified he had evaluated respondent in 1990 as part of an earlier attempt to commit respondent. In his 1990 evaluation, Chapman had concluded that he did not have sufficient information to diagnose respondent as a pedophile. However, respondent's conviction on the 1990 charges and his most recent arrest provided Chapman with enough information to make a diagnosis of pedophilia. On cross-examination, Chapman admitted that his diagnosis of pedophilia was based entirely on respondent's history of committing sex offenses against young boys.

Dr. Anthony James Caterine, another court-appointed psychiatrist, testified on behalf of the State. In an interview with Caterine, respondent denied any sexual activity with children. Respondent also refused to submit to a penile plethysmography test, a test which can determine a male's ...


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