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People v. Terry

May 13, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
AARON L. TERRY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 99CF2038 Honorable John G. Townsend, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Turner

Released for publication.

In December 1999, the State charged defendant, Aaron L. Terry, with the offense of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony, in violation of section 4-103(a)(1) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Code) (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1), (b) (West 1998)). Defense counsel indicated defendant would rely on the affirmative defense of insanity. 720 ILCS 5/6-2 (West 1998). In March 2000, following a stipulated bench trial, defendant was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and was sentenced to 24 months' probation.

On appeal, defendant's only contention is that Public Act 90-593 (Pub. Act 90-593, eff. June 19, 1998 (1998 Ill. Laws 1307)) violates the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)). We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In December 1999, the State charged defendant with the offense of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony, in violation of section 4-103(a)(1) of the Code. 625 ILCS 5/4-103(a)(1) (West 1998). The State alleged defendant, not entitled to possession of the vehicle, possessed a 1998 silver Chevy Cavalier knowing it was stolen. In February 2000, defense counsel filed a motion for a fitness evaluation and to explore the issue of insanity as a defense. Thereafter, the trial court entered an agreed order for a fitness evaluation to determine whether defendant was fit to stand trial (725 ILCS 5/104-16 (West 1998)) and to determine if insanity was a defense.

In March 2000, the trial court, taking into consideration defendant's fitness evaluation by Dr. Lawrence Jeckel, a psychiatrist, found defendant fit to stand trial. Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to a stipulated bench trial. The evidence established defendant was found in possession of the silver Chevy Cavalier owned by Rent-a-Wreck. Defendant took the car without the owner's permission. Dr. Jeckel's report concluded defendant possessed the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct, but Dr. Jeckel did not believe defendant could conform his conduct to the standards of the law at the time of the alleged crime.

The State argued defendant could not be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to the enactment of Public Act 90-593. Public Act 90-593 reenacted various provisions of Public Act 89-404 (Pub. Act 89-404, eff. August 20, 1995 (1995 Ill. Laws 4306)), one of which deleted language from section 6-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/6-2 (West 1998)) that exonerated an accused who lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of law. Defendant correctly argued that Public Act 89-404 had been found unconstitutional because it violated the single subject clause. Defendant further argued that Public Act 90-593 likewise violated the single subject clause. Hence, defendant asserted he was not guilty by reason of insanity under the language of section 6-2 as it existed before Public Act 89-404 and Public Act 90-593.

The trial court found defendant guilty of the offense of unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. The court also refused to find Public Act 90-593 unconstitutional. Defendant was sentenced to 24 months' probation and ordered to obtain a mental health evaluation. This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

Defendant argues his conviction must be reversed because Public Act 90-593 violates the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution. We disagree. Defendant's argument concerning the constitutionality of Public Act 90-593 presents a legal question, and thus, our review is de novo. People v. Jones, 318 Ill. App. 3d 1189, 1190, 744 N.E.2d 344, 346 (2001).

The single subject clause of article IV, section 8, of the Illinois Constitution provides, in part:

"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 Supreme Court of Illinois has applied the single subject clause recently in People v. Malchow, 193 Ill. 2d 413, 427, 739 ...


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