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People v. Crane

September 23, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DAVID A. CRANE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 87-CF-32 Honorable Michael R. Morrison, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

Released for publication October 1, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DAVID A. CRANE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 87-CF-32 Honorable Michael R. Morrison, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

PUBLISH

In 1987, defendant, David A. Crane, was charged with first-degree murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9--1(a)(2) (now 720 ILCS 5/9--1(a)(2) (West 2000))). Defendant was tried and convicted twice. Each time, this court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial. People v. Crane, 196 Ill. App. 3d 264 (1990), aff'd, 145 Ill. 2d 520 (1991) (Crane I); People v. Crane, No. 2--94--0692 (1996) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23) (Crane II). In 1997, after a third trial, a jury convicted defendant of first-degree murder. On appeal, we affirmed the conviction and defendant's 40-year prison sentence. People v. Crane, 308 Ill. App. 3d 675 (1999) (Crane III). Defendant then filed a petition for relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122--1 et seq. (West 2000)). The trial court dismissed the petition summarily. Defendant appeals.

On appeal, defendant makes three arguments. First, defendant asserts that his petition raises the gist of a meritorious constitutional claim that our decision in Crane III denied defendant due process because, in rejecting defendant's claim of instructional error, we misstated the law and contradicted our holding in Crane II. Second, defendant maintains that, at his third trial, he was prejudiced by the trial court's incorrect assumption that it could impose an extended sentence if it found by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant's crime was accompanied by exceptionally brutal and heinous conduct indicative of wanton cruelty (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 1005--5--3.2(b)(2); Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000)). Third, defendant claims that the summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition is void because the law authorizing the dismissal (Pub. Act 83--942, eff. November 23, 1983) was passed in violation of the Illinois Constitution's single-subject clause (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, §8(d)).

We hold that (1) Crane III correctly stated long-standing law and did not deny defendant due process; (2) defendant has waived his Apprendi-based argument; and (3) the law allowing summary dismissals of post-conviction petitions was not passed in violation of the single-subject rule. We affirm.

The long history of this case is well documented in our prior opinions and order. We recount those facts pertinent to the issues on appeal. In Crane I, defendant was charged with murdering Robert Gahan in that, without legal justification, defendant "beat and burned" Gahan, thereby causing Gahan's death. The State alleged both that defendant acted with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9--1(a)(1)) and that defendant knew his acts created a strong probability of bodily harm (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 9--1(a)(2)). Defendant's theory was that he was not guilty of murder because (1) he beat Gahan in self-defense; and (2) he burned Gahan only because he mistakenly believed that Gahan was already dead. At trial, the court instructed the jury on the affirmative defense of self-defense but not on the affirmative defense of mistake of fact. The jury convicted defendant on both counts.

On appeal, we held that defendant was denied a fair trial when the trial court refused to instruct the jury on mistake of fact. We observed that there was evidence from which the jury could have found that when defendant burned Gahan, he believed that Gahan was already dead. Crane I, 196 Ill. App. 3d at 269. Had defendant believed the victim was dead when defendant "committed his acts of burning," he would have lacked the "requisite mental state for murder in connection with those acts." Crane I, 196 Ill. App. 3d at 270. Thus, had the jury believed "both the defendant's self-defense theory and his mistake-of-fact theory, there would [have been] no basis to convict him of murder for 'beating and burning' the victim." Crane I, 196 Ill. App. 3d at 270. Hence, fairness required the trial court to instruct the jury on defendant's mistake-of-fact defense. Crane I, 196 Ill. App. 3d at 270.

The supreme court affirmed. Observing that some evidence supported defendant's mistake-of-fact defense, the court reasoned that, because "defendant's whole case rested upon the concepts of self-defense and mistake of fact," the failure to instruct the jury on mistake of fact as well as self-defense was prejudicial error. Crane I, 145 Ill. 2d at 528.

Defendant was reindicted. The indictment charged that, without lawful justification and either intending to kill Gahan or knowing that his acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm, defendant "beat and burned" Gahan and thus killed him. Crane II, slip op. at 1. On retrial, defendant introduced evidence that he beat Gahan in self-defense and that, when he burned Gahan, he mistakenly believed that Gahan was already dead. The trial court instructed the jury on self-defense but refused to instruct the jury that it could convict defendant of aggravated battery as a lesser included offense of murder. The jury convicted defendant of murder, finding that he knew that his acts created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to Gahan. Crane II, slip op. at 14. On appeal, we held that the failure to give the instruction on aggravated battery was error because there was evidence to support a finding that defendant was guilty only of that offense. In language upon which defendant now relies, we explained:

"[A]n aggravated battery instruction is warranted if there is some foundation that (1) Gahan did not die from the beating and (2) defendant mistakenly believed Gahan was dead ...


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