Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Tye

June 26, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JIMMIE TYE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

Not Released For Publication

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JIMMIE TYE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Michael B. Bolan, Judge Presiding.

Following a bench trial, defendant Jimmie Tye was found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to death. Defendant's conviction and sentence were upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Tye, 141 Ill. 2d 1, 565 N.E.2d 931 (1990). Defendant subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel at both the guilt-innocence and sentencing portions of his trial. The circuit court *fn1 granted the State's motion to dismiss defendant's amended petition for post-conviction relief with regard to the guilt-innocence phase without an evidentiary hearing but granted defendant a hearing on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at the sentencing phase of his trial. Following a hearing, the court determined that defendant was entitled to a new sentencing hearing. A new sentencing hearing was held, and, although defendant was again found eligible for the death penalty, he was sentenced to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole. Defendant now appeals, contending the circuit court erred in dismissing his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt-innocence portion of his trial without holding an evidentiary hearing and erred in sentencing him to natural life in prison. In addition, at the request of defendant, the parties have filed supplemental briefs regarding the applicability of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000), to this case.

 Defendant was charged with the murder of his three-year-old daughter Jasmin. He retained a private attorney and a bench trial was eventually held. The following is a summary of the relevant evidence. The details of the crime and events surrounding it are set forth in greater detail in the Illinois Supreme Court's decision on direct appeal. Tye, 141 Ill. 2d at 7-13.

On October 24, 1984, defendant was looking after his daughter, Jasmin, while her mother Pamela was at the hairdresser. When Jasmin refused to go to bed after defendant instructed her to do so, defendant struck her several times with a belt. Jasmin continued to refuse to go to bed and defendant continued to strike her with the belt. Defendant then began to strike Jasmin with a 14-foot extension cord. Defendant instructed Jasmin to put her pajamas on. When she began to put her pajamas on the wrong way, defendant began to beat her with the extension cord again. Defendant then held Jasmin up by one arm while continuing to beat her. According to a statement defendant gave to police, he beat Jasmin over the course of an hour on her arms, legs, back, stomach, chest, shoulders, and face.

According to defendant, he then helped Jasmin put on her pajamas and go to bed. Jasmin complained that her head hurt and defendant got her a damp towel. Later, Jasmin began to vomit. According to defendant, he blew into Jasmin's mouth and nose at one point in an attempt to clear them of vomit.

By the time Pamela returned home, Jasmin was no longer moving. Because the apartment had no telephone, defendant and Pamela left to summon help. Pamela's father came over and found that Jasmin's body was cold and had no pulse. He left and flagged down a police officer. Jasmin was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to an investigating detective, both defendant and Pamela initially told the police that it was Pamela who had whipped Jasmin on October 24. Later, defendant gave a formal, court-reported statement confessing to beating Jasmin. That statement was admitted into evidence at trial. Detectives searched defendant's apartment and found a belt and extension cord but no evidence of blood or vomit or a towel similar to the one defendant claimed to have placed on Jasmin's head.

The chief medical examiner of Cook County testified that his external examination of Jasmin's body revealed contusions too numerous to count over virtually every part of her body. The injuries were consistent with blows inflicted by a belt, belt buckle, or electrical cord. An internal examination of the victim's body revealed severe hemorrhaging to the underlying fat and muscle. An X ray revealed a recent fracture of Jasmin's upper arm consistent with an upward pulling of that arm. The examiner also testified that he found partially digested food in Jasmin's stomach and no evidence of vomit in her mouth or nostrils.

Defendant testified at trial and admitted to whipping Jasmin on October 24, 1984. Defendant denied, however, that he had possessed any of the mental states necessary to sustain a charge of murder. According to defendant, he had whipped Jasmin because he was "mad at her because she had been disobedient."

After hearing all of the evidence, the trial court found defendant guilty of murder. The State requested a capital sentencing hearing and defendant, as he had at trial, waived his right to a jury for purposes of the hearing. The trial court found defendant eligible for the death penalty because the victim was under the age of 12 and the death resulted from exceptionally brutal and heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty. See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(7). Despite presenting a number of mitigation witnesses at the sentencing hearing, defendant was sentenced to death. In finding that there were insufficient mitigating factors to preclude the imposition of the death penalty, the trial court held:

"The Court's already made a finding that your behavior, Mr. Tye, on the date in question was exceptionally brutal and heinous and indicative of wanton cruelty. I heard testimony in this courtroom about what you did. I also saw the photographs about what you did. What you did is you savagely brutalized three, four year old child. Defenseless child, innocent child. All she did to you was refused to go to bed, if I were to believe that portion of your testimony. You inflicted hundreds of wounds upon her body. You broke her arm. You dislocated her shoulder to such a degree that her little body went into shock. That's a mechanism the body has to shut off the pain and that's what caused her death. And I have to consider what you did and contrast what you did with any mitigation that's presented here today in your behalf and determine whether or not that mitigation is sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death penalty.

In evaluating your acts I, as a jury, *** have a right to draw upon my experiences in life to determine how serious your crime was. And I'll state for the record that for a period of seven years I was a homicide detective in the City of Chicago; and I investigated numerous child beatings. I investigated numerous child deaths. And I spent a total 25 years in the criminal justice system. And I have never seen a child beaten with such viciousness, repeatedly beaten over an hour to the extent her death was caused."

On direct appeal, defendant argued, inter alia, that the State had failed to prove that he acted with any of the mental states specified in the murder statute. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the trial court could have inferred, based on the evidence, that defendant acted with the necessary mental state in bringing about Jasmin's death. Tye, 141 Ill. 2d at 16. The court also upheld the propriety of the trial judge's reference to his own background and experience in assessing the severity of defendant's crime. Tye, 141 Ill. 2d at 20-24. Defendant's conviction and death sentence were affirmed. Three justices, although they concurred with the majority's affirmance of the murder conviction and agreed that defendant was eligible for the death penalty because Jasmin's death had resulted from exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty, dissented from the majority's view that death was an appropriate sentence. Tye, 141 Ill. 2d at 34-40 (Ryan, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part, joined by Clark and Calvo, JJ.).

In 1992, defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief. In 1994, defendant filed an amended petition in which he alleged that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel at both the guilt- innocence and sentencing phases of his trial. Defendant alleged that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel during the guilt- innocence portion of his trial because, among other things, his trial counsel failed to locate and introduce a hospital document indicating that the victim appeared to have vomited prior to her death, failed to investigate or introduce any evidence regarding possible abuse and corporal punishment inflicted upon defendant during his childhood, and failed to either conduct an investigation or employ experts to assess defendant's intellectual capacity to waive his Miranda rights or file a motion to suppress defendant's statements to police. Defendant's claims that he received ineffective assistance at the death-penalty-eligibility and sentencing portions of his trial were based on allegations that his trial counsel had failed to investigate the possibility that there was evidence that would have precluded a finding that defendant was eligible for the death penalty, failed to develop or present a defense mitigation theory at sentencing, failed to investigate or introduce evidence of defendant's mental state at the time of the crime, defendant's social or psychological history, or of defendant being under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time of the crime, and failed to introduce records corroborating defendant's testimony that he attempted to resuscitate the victim after finding her unconscious. Defendant's petition contained a large amount of material in support of his allegations, including an affidavit signed by defendant's trial counsel in which counsel acknowledged failing to take various actions during trial and during the sentencing hearing.

The circuit court granted the State's motion to dismiss the amended petition with respect to the guilt-innocence phase without an evidentiary hearing. The circuit court did hold an evidentiary hearing, however, regarding defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing. Following a hearing, the circuit court found that defendant had received ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing and ordered a new sentencing hearing.

A new sentencing hearing was held. At the new sentencing hearing, defendant waived his right to a jury. The State and defendant both called a number of witnesses in aggravation and mitigation. Defendant called relatives to testify in mitigation as to his good character and difficult upbringing, which included being whipped with an extension cord. Eileen McCarthy, a mitigation specialist/forensic social worker with the capital litigation division of the Illinois State Appellate Defender's office, testified regarding her compilation of a biographical, psychological, and social history of defendant. Among other things, she testified to the abuse defendant was subjected to during his own childhood. Clinical psychologist Dr. Mark Ramsden stated in an affidavit that, having examined defendant, he believed defendant committed the murder while under the influence of "an extreme mental or emotional disturbance, although not such as to constitute a defense to the prosecution," and that defendant's own abusive childhood had led him to beat Jasmin. Dr. Ramsden also found that defendant was dyslexic, unable to read at a minimally functional level, and had a full-scale IQ of 86. At the resentencing hearing, Dr. Michael Gelbort, a clinical psychologist practicing in the area of neuropsychology, testified ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.