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People v. Jones

November 01, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
V.
JESSE J. JONES,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Johnson County. No. 97-CF-6 Honorable James R. Williamson, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kuehn

Jesse J. Jones (defendant) asks us to find that Public Act 89-689 (Pub. Act 89-689, eff. December 31, 1996 (1996 Ill. Laws 3775)) is unconstitutional because the act violates the rule that all bills must be confined to a single subject (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)). Defendant is specifically interested in section 104-21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/104-21 (West 1996)), which includes an amendment by Public Act 89-689 (Pub. Act 89-689, §90, eff. December 31, 1996 (1996 Ill. Laws at 3792) (amending 725 ILCS 5/104-21 (West 1994))). The amended version of section 104-21 does not automatically provide a criminal defendant with the right to a fitness hearing relative to that defendant's fitness to stand trial because the defendant is receiving psychotropic medication. 725 ILCS 5/104-21 (West 1996). We decline to find Public Act 89-689 unconstitutional, and we affirm the trial court's judgment and sentence.

Defendant committed a crime on December 12, 1996, while he was incarcerated in Shawnee Correctional Center. During his May 20, 1999, trial, he was taking the prescription drug Serentil, which is labeled as a psychotropic drug. He testified that he had been taking the drug since 1997. The prosecutor asked defendant various questions to determine if defendant was aware of his surroundings and what was transpiring within the courtroom. Defendant responded that he was so aware. Defendant was found guilty, and on June 23, 1999, the trial court sentenced defendant to four years' imprisonment.

At the time of defendant's trial, the version of section 104-21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 in effect (725 ILCS 5/104-21 (West 1996)) did not require an automatic fitness determination if a defendant was taking a psychotropic drug during the trial. Defendant contends that the newest version of this statute is unconstitutional because the act which amended the statute violated the single-subject rule. If we declare the statute unconstitutional, the original version of the statute would control.

The original section 104-21(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1980 Supp., ch. 38, par. 104-21(a)) became effective on December 28, 1979, and stated, "A defendant who is receiving psychotropic drugs or other medications under medical direction is entitled to a hearing on the issue of his fitness while under medication."

This statute was first amended effective December 13, 1995, and then stated in relevant part, "A defendant who is receiving psychotropic drugs under medical direction is entitled to a hearing on the issue of his or her fitness while under medication; however, no hearing is required unless the court finds there is a bona fide doubt of the defendant's fitness." 725 ILCS 5/104-21(a) (West Supp. 1995). Our supreme court concluded that this second version was unconstitutional because the act which amended the statute violated the single-subject rule. Johnson v. Edgar, 176 Ill. 2d 499, 516-17, 680 N.E.2d 1372, 1380 (1997).

The statute was again amended effective December 31, 1996, and then stated, "A defendant who is receiving psychotropic drugs shall not be presumed to be unfit to stand trial solely by virtue of the receipt of those drugs or medications." 725 ILCS 5/104-21(a) (West 1996). This is the present version of the psychotropic drug statute and is the version challenged by defendant in this appeal.

We review constitutionality issues on a de novo basis. People v. McClanahan, 191 Ill. 2d 127, 132, 729 N.E.2d 470, 474 (2000). Although defendant failed to raise the constitutionality argument at the trial court level, he is not precluded from raising it for the first time on appeal. See People v. Bryant, 128 Ill. 2d 448, 454, 539 N.E.2d 1221, 1224 (1989).

Statutes carry a very strong presumption that they are constitutional as written. Russell v. Department of Natural Resources, 183 Ill. 2d 434, 441, 701 N.E.2d 1056, 1060 (1998).

The Illinois Constitution states as follows:

"Bills, except bills for appropriations and for the codification, revision[,] or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject." Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d).

The rule is designed to "facilitate orderly legislative procedure" (Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 514, 680 N.E.2d at 1379) and to prevent legislation from passage that would not have the necessary support to pass if it was presented by itself (Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 514, 680 N.E.2d at 1379 (citing Geja's Café v. Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, 153 Ill. 2d 239, 258, 606 N.E.2d 1212, 1220 (1992))).

The term "subject" should be liberally construed, and the subject can be as broad as determined by the legislature. Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515, 680 N.E.2d at 1379 (quoting People v. Dunigan, 165 Ill. 2d 235, 255, 650 N.E.2d 1026, 1035 (1995)). The subject matter of the act must have a "natural and logical connection." Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 515, 680 N.E.2d at 1379 (citing Cutinello v. Whitley, 161 Ill. 2d 409, 423-24, 641 N.E.2d 360, 366 (1994)). The legislature must "go very far to cross the line to a violation of the single[-]subject rule." Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 516, 680 N.E.2d at 1380.

In Johnson v. Edgar, the supreme court concluded that lumping various statutory sections under the heading of "public safety" violated the single-subject rule because the provisions were disparate. Johnson, 176 Ill. 2d at 517-18, 680 N.E.2d at 1381. The "public safety" heading did not serve to unify ...


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