Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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. Hancock

April 23, 2002


Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 00CF1597 Honorable John R. DeLaMar, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook


Respondent, Mark Lee Hancock, appeals the June 14, 2001, jury verdict in the Champaign County circuit court finding him to be a sexually dangerous person pursuant to Illinois' Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Act) (725 ILCS 205/0.01 through 12 (West 2000)). We affirm.


On September 6, 2000, respondent was charged by information in the Champaign County circuit court with the following five felony counts: residential burglary in that respondent entered the dwelling place of another with the intent to commit criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/19-3 (West 2000)), criminal trespass to residence (720 ILCS 5/19-4(a)(2) (West 2000)), aggravated battery in that he kissed a minor in a public way (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(8) (West 2000)), aggravated criminal sexual abuse (720 ILCS 5/12-16(a)(6) (West 2000)), and aggravated criminal sexual abuse in that respondent threatened his victim's life (720 ILCS 5/12-16(a)(5) (West 2000)). The grand jury returned a true bill on all counts on September 28, 2000.

On October 19, 2000, the State filed a petition to have respondent declared a sexually dangerous person pursuant to the Act. Respondent subsequently underwent two mandatory court- ordered psychiatric examinations, which were performed by Dr. Lawrence Jeckel and Dr. Arthur Traugott. See 725 ILCS 205/4 (West 2000). On June 11, 2001, the State informed the trial court that it was going to proceed on the petition to have respondent declared a sexually dangerous person and not proceed on the pending criminal charges.

At trial, the two court-ordered psychiatrists testified concerning their evaluations of respondent. The psychiatrists diagnosed respondent as suffering from a number of mental disorders, including pedophilia and voyeurism with a history of exhibitionism. Both agreed that respondent was a sexually dangerous person with a propensity for committing acts of sexual assault against children. One psychiatrist testified that if he did not think respondent would continue committing these crimes in the future, he would not consider him sexually dangerous. The psychiatrists disagreed on whether one could be a pedophile and not be sexually dangerous. One psychiatrist believed that a person who was able to control his urges to molest children was not actually a pedophile, while the other believed that a person could be a pedophile and not be sexually dangerous.

The State introduced the testimony of two police officers, who described interviews they had with respondent. During these interviews, respondent admitted committing the underlying crimes, as well as confessing a number of other sex- related offenses over a period of several years. Respondent had on occasion broken into a home to look for sex. In one of the incidents that led to these proceedings, respondent was riding his bike at night and broke into a random home because the garage door was not all the way down. Respondent was confronted by an adult male in the house and fled on his bike. Respondent came back, however, and was caught on videotape by the adult male, who was now in his car looking for respondent. Respondent told the homeowner he wanted sex, and he told the police that he came back because he thought the adult male wanted to have sex with him. Respondent told police that he preferred 9- to 12-year- old girls and that he had on occasion broken into a house, stood over the bed of a sleeping child, and masturbated over the child. Respondent also described taking trips to Springfield, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana, to look for young girls, though he never followed through on whatever it was he was going to do with the children. On one occasion, respondent kissed an 11-year-old girl in public, then ran away. On another occasion, respondent broke into a house, climbed into bed with a 16-year-old girl and stifled her when she started screaming. Respondent fled out the window he had broken into before the girl's parents were able to respond.

Some of these admissions resulted in solving previously reported though unsolved crimes in Champaign County. The actual victims of the incidents to which respondent admitted were identified and testified about the prior assaults at this trial.

The State further introduced into evidence a videotape and audiotape of respondent's interviews with the police officers. Respondent confirmed on cross-examination that he was telling the truth when he made the confessions to the police that were in the recorded interviews.

The State finished presenting its case by informing the jury of respondent's prior convictions in the states of Virginia and Maryland. In 1977, respondent pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rape in Maryland. In 1979, respondent was convicted of unlawful entry in Virginia. In 1984, respondent was convicted of exposure of sexual or genital parts to a child in Virginia. In 1984, respondent was convicted of aggravated sexual battery in Virginia. The trial court instructed the jury that the prior convictions could be considered on the issue of whether respondent had demonstrated propensities toward acts of sexual assault and/or acts of sexual molestation of children.

Respondent testified in his own defense. He claimed that he was successfully controlling his urges through Buddhist meditation and self-administered aversion therapy, the concept of which he learned from a psychiatrist. He was absolutely committed to never masturbating or having sex again. Respondent's mother testified about his change in behavior since he was arrested. A member of respondent's Buddhist group also testified concerning respondent's progress.

The trial court refused respondent's jury instruction, which contained language about requiring the jury to find respondent had a propensity to commit further sex crimes "in the future." The trial court refused an instruction with a definition of "sexual assault" and "penetration." The trial court also refused a jury instruction requiring a specific finding that respondent had a volitional impairment. Finally, the trial court allowed the State to offer a definition of "propensity" during closing rebuttal over respondent's objection. The jury returned a verdict finding respondent to be a sexually dangerous person. Respondent appeals.


Respondent raises eight issues on appeal: (1) the trial court erred in refusing a jury instruction requiring a specific determination that respondent had a volitional impairment; (2) the Act as applied to respondent was unconstitutionally vague; (3) the court erred in refusing respondent's jury instructions defining the terms "propensity," "sexual molestation," and "sexual assault"; (4) the jury erred in finding respondent guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (5) the court erred in allowing the testimony of one of respondent's victims as well as other evidence related to her case when it was barred by the statute of limitations; (6) the court erred in allowing the State to present evidence that was highly prejudicial yet had no probative value, including reference to masturbation, going to other counties to look at young women, contact with a stripper, and propositioning an adult male for sex; (7) the sentencing provisions of the Act are unconstitutional and violate respondent's right to due process of law and equal protection of the law in violation of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois (U.S. Const., amend. XIV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, §2); and (8) the court erred in not requiring the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the underlying offenses that made up the basis for the initial charges. We address each issue in turn.

A. Does the Constitution Require a Specific Jury Determination that Respondent Suffers from a Volitional Impairment?

While this case was pending on appeal, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. ___, 151 L. Ed. 2d 856, 122 S. Ct. 867 (2002), on January 22, 2002. Respondent argues that, in Crane, the United States Supreme Court has announced a new rule of constitutional law requiring a specific determination by a jury, via a jury instruction, that a respondent lacks volitional control before a respondent may be civilly committed. Therefore, respondent argues, the trial court committed reversible error when it refused his requested jury instruction requiring a specific determination by the jury that respondent lacked volitional control. We have analyzed the United States Supreme Court's holding in Crane, and we find that under the facts of this case, the trial court did not err by refusing respondent's requested jury instruction.

Prior to Crane, the case that had been the standard for determining the constitutionality of civil commitment proceedings for sexual offenders was Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 138 L. Ed. 2d 501, 117 S. Ct. 2072 (1997). In Hendricks, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Kansas civil commitment statute for sex offenders who suffered from a mental illness. The Kansas statute was very similar to Illinois' Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (725 ILCS 207/1 through 99 (West 2000)). The Supreme Court held in Hendricks that the Kansas civil commitment statute satisfied due process because it was of the class of previously upheld civil commitment statutes that limited their application to persons who had a mental illness which made it "difficult, if not impossible," to control their dangerous behavior. Hendricks, 521 U.S. at 358, 138 L. Ed. 2d at 513, 117 S. Ct. at 2080. The Supreme Court cited the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act as a civil commitment statute that had been ...

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.