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The People of the State of Illinois v. Brown County Michael E. Crenshaw

August 10, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BROWN COUNTY MICHAEL E. CRENSHAW, )
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



No. 09CF5 Appeal from Circuit Court of Honorable Diane M. Lagoski, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

JUSTICE COOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Turner and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The trial court found defendant, Michael E. Crenshaw, guilty of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--13(a)(3) (West 2008)), a Class 1 felony (720 ILCS 5/12--13(b)(1) (West 2008)). Defendant committed an act of sexual penetration with his daughter, H.H., who was then 15 years old. The court sentenced defendant to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant argues the court erred by (1) denying his motion to suppress his confession, (2) admitting H.H.'s cell phone recording, and (3) imposing an excessive sentence. We affirm the court's judgment.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Defendant was charged with criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/12--13(a)(3) (West 2008)), a Class 1 felony (720 ILCS 5/12--13(b)(1) (West 2008)), in that on or about February 9, 2009, he committed an act of sexual penetration with H.H. who was then 15 years old. Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted and sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

¶ 4 The evidence at trial was that on January 14, 2009, Kevin Kaufman, a special agent with the Illinois State Police, and other officers, interviewed defendant at the Mount Sterling police department regarding allegations of sexual abuse made by H.H. The interview occurred after H.H. stated to Matthew Boley, a school social worker, that defendant told her that he had sex with her five times. H.H. could not recall ever having sex with her father and felt he made those claims to induce her to have sex with him. The social worker reported the allegations to the Department of Children and Family Services. Defendant denied the allegations, and the Department of Children and Family Services determined the allegations were unfounded.

¶ 5 H.H. testified that in the early morning hours of February 9, 2009, defendant entered her bedroom and made her have sex with him. H.H. had planned for this in advance, because this was not the first time defendant had entered her bedroom and demanded sex. She recorded the act on her cell phone, holding the phone in her hands while defendant forced himself on her. While defendant thought she was playing a game on the phone, H.H. was actually recording the act. H.H. then played the recording for her friends at school, and then for her stepmother, Stephanie Crenshaw, at home. After listening to the recording, Stephanie immediately left the home with her two younger children. When Stephanie confronted defendant about the recording, he said that he had gone up to H.H.'s room, but it was only to get a massage. Later that same day, H.H. called the police from a friend's house to report the sexual assault. Deputy sheriff Justin Oliver went to H.H.'s friend's house and listened to the recording. Before Oliver left the house, H.H. gave him the phone. The next day defendant called in sick to work.

¶ 6 On February 10, 2009, Special Agent Jason Garthaus of the Illinois State Police began looking for defendant to question him concerning H.H.'s allegations. Garthaus saw defendant riding his motorcycle toward his residence. Shortly thereafter, Agent Kaufman contacted defendant via telephone. Defendant agreed to meet with the police and asked them to pick him up at his residence because he was tired and did not want to drive. Agents Kaufman and Garthaus picked defendant up at about 5:30 p.m. Defendant walked out to the agents' truck without assistance. Defendant told Garthaus that he had taken four sleeping pills, two more than usual, since he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. Garthaus could tell that defendant was tired, but other than that defendant appeared to be fine. Before starting the interview, Kaufman gave defendant Miranda warnings. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). At 5:44 p.m., defendant signed a Miranda waiver.

¶ 7 During the interview, defendant said that he went to H.H.'s room to get a back rub, during which H.H. "touched his penis a couple of times." Approximately five hours into the interview, Kaufman presented defendant with an inculpatory scenario, and in response, defendant said, "I guess." After the interview, defendant was taken to Schuyler County jail.

¶ 8 Defendant testified that on February 9, 2009, he had taken more than four sleeping pills, that he had taken 2 to 3 5-milligram tablets of hydrocone, 2 20-milligram capsules of Adderall, 15 to 20 10-mg. tablets of cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxant), and 30 to 40 tablets of trazodone (sleeping aid). Defendant stated he had earlier written a suicide note and then hid it. He later stated that he actually wrote three suicide notes and gave them to his stepmother three days after he got out of jail.

¶ 9 Defendant's expert, Dr. Robert Chapman, determined that during the February 10, 2009, interview, defendant suffered side effects from the overdose of medicines that he had taken for the purpose of committing suicide. Dr. Chapman found as follows: "The combination of the medicines are such as to cause unsteady gait, drowsiness, confusion, poor concentration, impaired body perceptions and impaired capacity to understand, comprehend and make rational judgments based on information provided or questions asked."

ΒΆ 10 After the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced ...


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