Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit La Salle County, Illinois No. 85-CF-187 Honorable James A. Lanuti Judge, Presiding
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Slater
The respondent, Robert W. Burns, was adjudicated a sexually dangerous person in 1986 and committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC). On May 14, 2001, he filed an application for discharge pursuant to section 9 of the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Act) (725 ILCS 205/9 (West 2000)). Attached to his petition was a motion for an independent psychiatric examination, a motion to strike Dr. Mark Carich's socio-psychiatric report, and a request for appointment of an independent guardian. The trial court denied the motions. A jury found that the respondent was still sexually dangerous and rejected his request for release. On appeal, the respondent argues that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for an independent psychiatric examination; (2) the court erroneously denied the motion to strike Dr. Carich's report; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion for appointment of independent guardian; (4) the court's refusal to tender the jury instructions offered by defense counsel was improper; and (5) the State failed to prove that he was still sexually dangerous beyond a reasonable doubt. We reverse in part, affirm in part and remand the cause for further proceedings.
The respondent filed his second application for discharge in May of 2001. Attached to his application were several pro se motions. First, the respondent moved for an independent psychiatric examination, alleging that psychiatrist Ijaz Jatala was not a licensed psychiatrist and was biased. No supporting documentation was included with the motion. The respondent's second motion was a request to strike the socio-psychiatric report submitted to the court pursuant to the Act. In this motion, the respondent claimed that the report was insufficient because Dr. Carich was not a licensed psychologist and because no sociologist participated in its preparation. In his third motion, the respondent argued that the DOC, as his guardian, was not acting in his best interests because of undue bias against him.
After hearing arguments, the trial court denied the respondent's request for an independent examination. The court further determined that Dr. Carich's psychological report met the requirements of the Act and denied the motion for an independent guardian.
At trial, Dr. Carich testified that he has a Ph.D. in counseling and received his undergraduate diploma in psychology. He has coordinated the DOC's sexual offender treatment program for more than 10 years and has testified in at least 80 cases involving sexually dangerous persons. Dr. Carich testified that of those cases, he has supported 19 committed persons for discharge.
The respondent was placed in the DOC program in 1986 for admittedly abusing more than 40 victims. His victims ranged in age from infant to nine years old. Dr. Carich testified that the respondent had made progress since his admission. He cooperated with the DOC staff and regularly attended all group meetings. However, in 1998, the respondent was suspended from the program for violating DOC rules by engaging in sexual intercourse with another member of his group. The respondent was later reinstated. Shortly after his reinstatement, he voluntarily dropped out of the program. Dr. Carich did not believe that the respondent was ready to return to society.
The socio-psychiatric report prepared by Dr. Carich and signed by Dr. Jatala, Social Worker Nancy Henderson and Warden Michael Holmes was not entered as evidence. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found that the respondent was still sexually dangerous and denied his application for recovery.
On appeal, the respondent first claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion for an independent psychiatric examination. He claims that he has a right to an independent examination under the due process clause of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., amend. XIV.
The due process clause of the federal constitution imposes constraints on governmental regulations that deprive persons of liberty or property interests. Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18, 96 S. Ct. 893 (1976). The right to due process of law is the right to a fundamentally fair trial. Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284, 35 L. Ed. 2d 297, 93 S. Ct. 1038 (1973). Procedural due process guarantees that a defendant has the right to present relevant, competent evidence and that the State must take steps to ensure that an indigent defendant has a fair opportunity to present his defense. Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68, 84 L. Ed. 2d 53, 105 S. Ct. 1087 (1985). The State may not maintain a strategic advantage over a defendant when that advantage casts a pall on the proceedings. Ake, 470 U.S. 68, 84 L. Ed. 2d 53, 105 S. Ct. 1087.
When considering a due process issue, courts must consider three factors. Those factors are: (1) the liberty or property interest with which the State has interfered; (2) the risk of erroneous deprivation of the interest through the procedures already in place and the probable value of additional or substitute procedural safeguards; and (3) the effect the administrative and fiscal burdens would have on the State. Mathews, 424 U.S. 319, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18, 96 S. Ct. 893.
There is little question that the respondent's right to liberty is jeopardized under the Act. See People v. Trainor, 196 Ill. 2d 318, 752 N.E.2d 1055 (2001). Analysis of ...