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People v. Raines

December 10, 2004


Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 01CF762, Honorable Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Myerscough


In November 2002, a jury found defendant, Daniel E. Raines, guilty of three counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (2) (West 2000)). Defendant was sentenced to death. In December 2002, defendant filed a posttrial motion, arguing the trial court erred when it barred expert testimony regarding defendant's state of mind at the time of the murder. The court denied the motion, and defendant filed his appeal on December 24, 2002, with the Supreme Court of Illinois. Thereafter, on January 10, 2003, then-Governor George Ryan commuted defendant's death sentence to a sentence of imprisonment for natural life. By order dated April 8, 2003, the Supreme Court of Illinois transferred defendant's appeal to this court. We affirm.


In June 2001, defendant was charged by information with three counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2000)), alleging defendant shot Vermilion County deputy sheriff Myron Deckard while Deckard was performing his official duties and transporting defendant to the Vermilion County jail.

On September 25, 2002, defendant filed a supplemental discovery disclosure, indicating his intent to call Dr. Ruth Kuncel, a licensed clinical psychologist, as a witness. Dr. Kuncel's psychological report was attached to the disclosure. Dr. Kuncel's report stated she interviewed defendant, reviewed a litany of documents, and administered 12 tests (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III, Trailmaking A and B, major portions of the Delis-Kaplin Executive Function System, Stroop Color and Word Test, Figure Recall subtest of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neurological Status, Brown ADD Scales, Validity Indicator Profile, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, 16PF- Fifth Edition, Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test, and the Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank, Adult).

According to the clinical-observations/mental-status section of the report, Dr. Kuncel found as follows:

"[Defendant] was alert and oriented, with no obvious motor deficits observable to casual observation. He exhibited the capacity to attend and concentrate in a normal manner. [Defendant] was socially appropriate with [Dr. Kuncel] throughout the evaluation. [Defendant] was observed in disagreement with jail personnel, but his behavior was within normal limits. [Defendant] presented with no obvious memory or language deficits to casual observation. No misperceptions were observed or reported. While appearing to be of at least average general intelligence, his thinking style was notable for its linearity and inflexibility. That is, he seemed to go from 'A' to 'B' with limited capacity for entertaining alternative hypotheses, causative relationships, or consequences.

[Defendant] presented as anxious, shy, reactive, energetic, and depressed, with modest social skills, although covering his discomfort variously with a veneer of excessive emotional control and/or some bravado. For example, his face can be comparatively expressionless and he may speak with comparatively flat affect and minimal inflection[,] when, on closer observation, he is quite upset."

Further, according to the report, the shooting was the result of incidents that happened earlier on the day of June 5, 2001. On that day, defendant appeared in the trial court on a revoked-license charge. While there, he was told of an outstanding warrant in Vermilion County. Unable to post bond, defendant was being transferred to Vermilion County. Deckard was the officer transporting defendant. According to the report, during the drive to Vermilion County, defendant "concluded that if he reached Danville, he would be kept in jail there for a sufficiently long period of time [during which] that he would lose everything. [Defendant] needed to get out of [the squad] car and go home so he would not lose his family life. *** [Defendant] slipped out of the restraints[,] and the encounter with the officer followed." The report further stated that after "the encounter," defendant hitchhiked a ride and then took a taxicab before he reached the home of his ex-wife. Once there, defendant drank some beer, spent time with his ex-wife, and then walked to the police department in the middle of the night to report the incident.

Dr. Kuncel's report concluded as follows:

"[Defendant]'s purpose in exiting the police car, consistent with his perception of his circumstances, his psychological makeup, and his cognitive style, was to go home and keep his personal affairs in order with no desire to do serious harm to the police officer. Subsequently, in the dark and rain, still focused on his initial goal, while consciously frightened, anxious, physiologically distressed, and in a high state of autonomic arousal, at least in part, in response to the officer's reported discharge of the pistol, [defendant] pulled the trigger of the gun."

Dr. Kuncel's conclusion was based on her findings that defendant was "prone to be insecure, emotionally needy, shy, anxious, and socially ill at ease." Dr. Kuncel further opined that defendant possessed "a self-contained, rigid, concrete, and goal-directed thinking style that generally impedes his ability to think abstractly or flexibly in unstructured situations, leaving him *** often unaware of the possible consequences of his actions or of how others might interpret said [actions]."

On September 27, 2002, the State filed a motion in limine seeking to bar Dr. Kuncel's testimony, arguing (1) defendant provided no notice of his intent to put forth a defense of insanity, intoxication, or other mental disease and (2) Dr. Kuncel's opinion that defendant did not intend to shoot Deckard should not be allowed into evidence as expert testimony.

On October 17, 2002, a hearing was held on the State's motion in limine. Upon direct examination by the State, Dr. Kuncel testified that, given her understanding of the terms, defendant had a mental disease or defect. Upon further questioning, Dr. Kuncel stated that defendant possessed "deficits in his thinking abilities." Dr. Kuncel did not find evidence of schizophrenia or evidence to support a legal insanity defense. Dr. Kuncel determined defendant possessed a high-average intelligence, and Dr. Kuncel found defendant's memory intact.

Upon questioning by the State about her interview of defendant as detailed in her report, Dr. Kuncel stated that she spoke with defendant about his state of mind when he hit Deckard with the baton, struggled with Deckard, and then shot him. Dr. Kuncel and defendant also discussed how defendant felt when he pulled the trigger. When asked by the State to identify the details of that part of the interview in the report, Dr. Kuncel responded that it was contained in her one-sentence summary, "He slipped out of the restraints[,] and the encounter with the officer followed." Dr. Kuncel felt the statement provided sufficient detail for the purposes of the report.

During cross-examination by defense counsel, Dr. Kuncel read into the record the conclusion from her report, opining that defendant did not intend to shoot Deckard. Dr. Kuncel further testified about defendant's mental deficits, consistent with the findings in her report.

On redirect, Dr. Kuncel agreed that the essence of her opinion was that defendant "didn't mean *** to hurt [Deckard] because he didn't really think through what he was doing." Dr. Kuncel further testified that when defendant shot Deckard, "his mind was a garble[.] *** It was all blurred together." Dr. Kuncel admitted that her opinion that defendant's mind was "garbled" was her interpretation of defendant's explanation of the shooting. Defendant's actual explanation to Dr. Kuncel for why he shot Deckard was essentially, "I don't know what hap-pened."

By docket entry dated October 18, 2002, the trial court granted the State's motion in limine, barring Dr. Kuncel from testifying to defendant's state of mind at the time of the shooting. The court found such testimony would not be of assistance to the jury because it concerned matters of common knowledge. In response to a motion to clarify, the court stated that it would allow Dr. Kuncel to testify to "the psychological tests she conducted, her conclusions regarding *** defendant's thought process and personality type[,] and her conclusions regarding how persons with those characteristics would think under stressful situations."

At trial, the State presented a certified copy from the Vermilion County circuit court, indicating defendant's outstanding warrant was for failure to appear for a traffic citation for the offense of driving with a revoked license. The State then called Wilbur Moore, a retired afternoon jailer for the Montgomery County sheriff's department, who testified that he was on duty the evening of June 5, 2001, when Deckard arrived to transfer defendant to Danville. Defendant was in handcuffs and a restraint belt.

Orville Miller, an inmate in the Montgomery County jail on June 5, 2001, testified that he was present when defendant was being prepared for transfer to Vermilion County. Miller heard defendant complain to Deckard that the handcuffs were too tight and cutting off his circulation. Miller testified that Deckard then loosened the handcuffs. Miller stated that after Deckard adjusted the handcuffs, they were very loose.

Jeremy Litz also testified for the State. Litz stated that at approximately 11 p.m. on June 5, 2001, defendant knocked on the door of his residence. Litz's residence is located in rural Macon County between Argenta and Cisco. Defendant told Litz he needed to get to Carlinville because his wife was giving birth and his brother had left him without a ride after the two got into a fight. Litz told defendant he would not take him all the way to Carlinville, but he agreed to take him to a truck stop, the Oasis, a few miles away from the house. Litz stated defendant seemed nervous but not upset. During the ride to the truck stop, they talked about hunting, and defendant offered Litz a 9-millimeter pistol if Litz would agree to take him all the way to Carlinville. Litz declined and dropped defendant off at the Oasis.

Annabelle Long, who resides near Route 48 in rural Macon County, testified that at approximately midnight on June 5, 2001, defendant rang the doorbell at her home. Long answered the door and then awakened her husband before talking further to defendant. Defendant was not upset or emotional. Defendant wanted to go to Carlinville because his wife was in labor, and he asked Long to drive him as far as Springfield. Long declined, but she offered to call a taxicab to take him, and Long gave defendant $60 to ...

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