Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. No. 03-CF-801. Honorable Daniel J. Rozak Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'brien
Defendant Timothy Curtis was charged with three counts of aggravated battery. Following a jury trial, Curtis was found guilty of two counts and sentenced to concurrent three-year terms of imprisonment. He appealed, claiming that his due process rights were violated when he was required to wear a stun belt without the required hearing and that his convictions violated one-act, one-crime principles. We find that Curtis waived the due process issue by failing to object to the use of restraints and that one of his convictions must be vacated pursuant to one-act, one-crime principles. Accordingly, we vacate one of his convictions.
In October 2003, Curtis was charged by information with three counts of aggravated battery stemming from an incident that occurred in June 2003 at a McDonald's in Joliet. Count I alleged that Curtis "in committing a battery ***, without legal justification and while at *** a public place of accommodation, knowingly made physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with William Hinton, in that he struck William Hinton about the body" in violation of section 12-4(b)(8) of the Criminal Code of 1961. 720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(8) (West Supp. 2005). Count II alleged that Curtis violated section 12-4(b)(8) of the Criminal Code by striking Ursula Sheridan. 720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(8) (West Supp. 2005). Count III alleged that Curtis "in committing a battery *** knowingly caused great bodily harm to William Hinton, in that he beat William Hinton about the body," in violation of section 12-4(a) of the Criminal Code. 720 ILCS 5/12-4(a) (West Supp. 2005).
Prior to the first day of trial, the trial court stated that Curtis needed to be dressed in civilian clothes for the trial to which defense counsel responded that he had already spoken to the point person at the jail but asked the court that the sheriff's department be contacted regarding the necessary process. The court officer indicated that the point person has to follow regular departmental procedures in readying a custodial defendant for trial.
A jury trial ensued at which the following facts were revealed. On June 4, 2003, Curtis and the victim, William Hinton, were both at a McDonald's in Joliet when Curtis struck Hinton several times about the head and body, knocking him to the ground. Hinton lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital where he remained for nearly two weeks. The parties stipulated that Hinton's treating physician would testify that Hinton was treated for blunt head trauma, multiple concussions, and alcohol withdrawal. Ursula Sheridan was also hit by Curtis as he attempted to hit Hinton. After the State rested its case, upon the State's motion, the trial court dismissed the second count of the information, aggravated battery against Sheridan. Before the jury returned from deliberations, the following discussion occurred:
"THE COURT: `The way your client is sitting now is just fine. He still has the cuffs on him, but it would take a little bit of time to get that belt back on him. Rather than make the jurors wait, I would prefer to do it with him wearing the cuffs with them down behind the table. They have a verdict. It doesn't matter. He can stay seated.'
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: `If he can stay seated, that's fine.'"
The jury returned guilty verdicts on both remaining counts. At a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Curtis to concurrent three-year terms of imprisonment. After the trial court determined Curtis's sentence, it stated, "It's on both counts, concurrent. It's actually the same act, wasn't it? They should merge probably." Curtis followed with this appeal. We vacate in part.
Curtis raises two issues on appeal. The first issue is whether he was denied a fair trial based on the trial court's failure to hold a hearing before requiring Curtis to wear a stun belt. The second issue is whether one of his convictions should be vacated for violating the one-act, one-crime doctrine.
We turn to the first issue. Curtis argues that the trial court erred by failing to consider the necessary factors before requiring him to wear a stun belt during his trial and that the trial court's error deprived him of a fair trial.
We initially address the State's contention that the record does not establish that Curtis was required to wear a stun belt during trial. The record discloses that immediately before the jury returned with its verdicts, the trial court acknowledged that Curtis "still ha[d] the cuffs on him" and that "it would take a little bit of time to get that belt back on him." Based on the trial court's comments, as well as the fact that it is the standard operating procedure of the Will County sheriff's department to require all in-custody felony defendants to wear a stun belt, we reasonably conclude that Curtis was forced to wear a stun belt during his trial. People v. Martinez, 347 Ill. App. 3d 1001, 1003, 808 N.E.2d 1089, 1090 (2004) (acknowledging Will County's standard operating procedure regarding use of stun belts). In addition, the record expressly establishes that Curtis was, at the least, forced to wear handcuffs when the jury returned with its verdicts. People v. Buckner, 358 Ill. App. 3d 529, 531, 831 N.E.2d 676, 678 (2005) (determining that lack of an adequate description of the type of restraint used does not preclude review). The trial court also ...