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People v. Smith

November 5, 2004

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDWARD SMITH, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 00-CF-2782. Honorable Ann Brackley Jorgensen, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

PUBLISHED

Following a bench trial, defendant, Edward Smith, Jr., was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--14(a) (West 2000)), eight counts of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--13(a) (West 2000)), one count of aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12--3.3 (West 2000)), two counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12--4(a) (West 2000)), one count of unlawful restraint (720 ILCS 5/10--3 (West 2000)), and one count of armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-- 2(a) (West 2000)). The trial court sentenced defendant to consecutive prison terms of 25 years each on four of the counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and concurrent extended-term sentences of 12 years each for aggravated domestic battery and armed violence and 6 years each for unlawful restraint and aggravated battery. Judgments of conviction were entered on the remaining guilty verdicts, but the counts were merged. On appeal, defendant contends that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to conduct a fitness hearing after the trial court, sua sponte, raised a bona fide doubt of his fitness to stand trial. Defendant argues further that the trial court also erred by: (1) entering judgments of conviction for too many offenses and imposing sentences that are unauthorized under the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/1--1--1 et seq. (West 2000)); (2) improperly admonishing him pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 605(a) (134 Ill. 2d R. 605(a)); and (3) failing to credit him for time spent in custody before sentencing. We reverse and remand with directions because we find that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to conduct a fitness hearing after the court raised a bona fide doubt of defendant's fitness to stand trial. Because we reverse and remand based on defendant's first contention, we need not address the remaining issues.

BACKGROUND

On November 6, 2000, prior to defendant's trial, the assistant public defender filed a motion for a fitness evaluation, alleging that defendant had a history of mental health treatment, including current treatment at Good Samaritan Hospital, and that hallucinations could interfere with his ability to cooperate with counsel. Counsel stated that he had a bona fide doubt of defendant's fitness and requested that the court appoint Dr. Chiapetta to psychologically evaluate defendant. The trial judge ordered a fitness evaluation. Based on records from the hospital and jail and interviews with defendant, Dr. Chiapetta concluded that defendant was fit to stand trial. At a hearing on February 20, 2001, the attorneys stipulated that Dr. Chiapetta was a qualified clinical psychologist and would testify consistently with his report. Thereafter, the trial judge found defendant to be fit to stand trial.

Before, during, and after the February hearing, defendant expressed to the court his dissatisfaction with the assistant public defenders assigned to his case. The court had to continue the case several times for defendant to consider whether he wanted to represent himself. On July 23, 2001, defendant again insisted that he wished to fire the assistant public defenders and represent himself. Thereafter, the trial court, sua sponte in a written order, ordered the following:

"[T]he court having raised a bona fide doubt as to the defendant's fitness to stand trial, the defendant shall be examined by Dr. Murray of the probation department. The defendant shall also be examined by Dr. Murray regarding the defendant's cognitive ability to waive his Miranda [v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L.Ed. 2d 694, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966)] Rights."

The public defender's office remained on the case in the interim.

After reviewing the various records, including Dr. Chiapetta's report and a psychiatric evaluation from March 2000, and interviewing defendant, Dr. Murray diagnosed that defendant had a mood disorder, not otherwise specified, that was in remission, and that he had an antisocial personality disorder. Dr. Murray concluded that defendant was fit to stand trial, as he was of average intelligence, understood the nature of court proceedings, and could assist in his defense.

On August 21, 2001, after Dr. Murray had prepared his report, the case came before the trial court. Defendant immediately reiterated his desire to fire the public defender. The judge noted that Dr. Murray had found defendant fit to stand trial. After a brief colloquy with defendant, the judge indicated that defendant would be permitted to fire the public defender and to represent himself. Defendant requested standby counsel, and the judge responded that the public defender would be appointed in that capacity. The assistant public defender offered to check with the head public defender about assigning a different assistant. The assistant public defender further pointed out that the report from Dr. Murray needed to be addressed before a trial date was set. The court continued the case to August 27 for status, stating that the State would have to decide whether to stipulate to Dr. Murray's report.

However, when the case was called on August 27, the question of fitness was never addressed. A new assistant public defender appeared to serve as standby counsel, and the cause was continued for defendant to receive discovery. The issue of defendant's fitness was not addressed again until after the completion of the bench trial, which began at the end of May 2002.

More than three months after the pronouncement of guilt on June 3, 2002, defendant retained counsel to represent him for posttrial motions and sentencing. Counsel filed a motion for a new trial on January 6, 2003. He also filed a motion for a fitness examination, alleging that defendant had not been in a proper state of mind to represent himself at trial. In court, counsel informed the trial judge that he had a bona fide doubt of defendant's fitness. The court responded by entering an order raising a bona fide doubt and requiring a fitness evaluation by Dr. Corcoran.

Dr. Corcoran evaluated defendant and prepared a report wherein he concluded that defendant was fit to be sentenced. Dr. Corcoran found that defendant did not display any psychotic symptoms and offered a diagnosis of depressive disorder, not otherwise specified, and antisocial personality disorder. The parties eventually stipulated to the report, and the trial ...


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