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The People of the State of Illinois v. James Johnson

February 3, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JAMES JOHNSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. Honorable Annette A. Eckert, Judge, presiding. No. 05-CF-1915

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Chapman

NOTICE

The text of this decision may be changed or corrected prior to the filing of a IN THE Petition for Rehearing or the disposition of the same.

JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Welch and Wexstten concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The defendant, James Johnson, was charged with burglary and retail theft, and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He appeals an order committing him to inpatient treatment at a secure facility. He argues that his stipulation that a psychiatrist would testify in accordance with his report constituted a functional waiver of the entire hearing, something that is not permissible under the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Mental Health Code) (405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq. (West 2006)). We affirm.

¶ 2 The defendant was charged with burglary and retail theft after stealing rings and pendants valued at approximately $300 from a mall jewelry kiosk. He was initially found unfit to stand trial; however, a little over a year later, he was found fit to stand trial. Based on stipulated facts, the court found the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity and set the matter for a hearing to determine whether he was still in need of psychiatric care. See 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a) (West 2006).

¶ 3 Prior to the hearing, Dr. Jagannath Patil filed a report with the court. Dr. Patil is a psychiatrist who examined the defendant. In his report, Dr. Patil diagnosed the defendant as suffering from schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. He noted that the defendant's symptoms included both grandiose and paranoid delusions as well as auditory hallucinations. He went on to state that the defendant had acted on these delusions and continued to do so. This has included acts of violence. As a result, the defendant had been continually institutionalized for nearly all of the previous 12 years and was required to register as a sex offender. The report noted that the defendant had no awareness of his mental illness, but was compliant with medications and received some benefits from the medications and from treatment in the inpatient setting. Dr. Patil noted that the defendant believed that his medications helped him to stay calm and sleep better, but did not believe they provided any other benefits. Dr. Patil recommended continued inpatient treatment for the defendant.

¶ 4 At the hearing, the parties focused their arguments on the proper Thiem date for the defendant. See People v. Thiem, 82 Ill. App. 3d 956, 962, 403 N.E.2d 647, 652 (1980) (explaining that the court must specify the maximum period of commitment, which cannot exceed the maximum sentence the defendant could have received had he been convicted on the most serious charge against him). After ruling on the Thiem date, the court asked the attorneys for both parties, "Would you stipulate to the report, please, of Dr. Patil dated February 28, 2007?" The court noted that if the parties stipulated to the report, "it would be appropriate for the court then at this time to make an order with regards to commitment and also in-patient status or out-patient status." (Emphasis added.) Both attorneys indicated that they had previously stipulated to the report and did not object to the court entering it into evidence. The court then admitted the report into evidence.

¶ 5 Neither party offered any argument related to whether the defendant was in need of treatment on an inpatient basis. However, counsel for the defendant informed the court that the defendant's main concern was that he continue to receive certain privileges, including being allowed an "unsupervised building pass." The court stated that such privileges were up to the discretion of the defendant's treatment team and that the only decision for the court to make was "whether *** there is to be in-patient or out-patient [treatment] and whether involuntary commitment should be a part of [the] order." The court then noted that it had previously read Dr. Patil's report and found the defendant to be in need of treatment on an inpatient basis. The court entered an order to that effect. The State filed a motion to reconsider the court's ruling on the Thiem date, which the court granted. This appeal followed.

¶ 6 On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) because he stipulated to all of the evidence needed to support the determination that he was subject to commitment, the stipulation was tantamount to a waiver of the hearing, (2) the Mental Health Code does not contemplate a waiver of hearings in their entirety (see In re Michael H., 392

Ill. App. 3d 965, 979, 912 N.E.2d 703, 714 (2009)), and (3) even assuming waiver is permissible, the record must demonstrate that the waiver was knowing and voluntary. He further contends that counsel's decision to stipulate to all of the evidence necessary to commit him constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.

¶ 7 Before addressing these arguments, a brief overview of the procedures to be followed after a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity would be useful. Once a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity is entered, the court must hold a hearing within 30 days to determine whether the defendant is currently in need of treatment and, if so, whether he needs treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis. 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a) (West 2006). The hearing is governed by the procedures outlined in the Mental Health Code. 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a) (West 2006). Thus, the defendant cannot be found subject to involuntary commitment without the testimony of at least one psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or clinical social worker who has actually examined him. 405 ILCS 5/3-807 (West 2006). The court must find that the defendant "is reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon himself or another" and that he either needs care on an inpatient basis or would benefit from such care. 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a)(1)(B) (West 2006). This finding must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(g) (West 2006); see also 405 ILCS 5/3-808 (West 2006).

ΒΆ 8 There are two key differences, however. An initial order admitting a patient to a facility in civil involuntary commitment proceedings expires after 90 days, with subsequent orders lasting for 180 days. In re Michael H., 392 Ill. App. 3d at 971, 912 N.E.2d at 708 (citing 405 ILCS 5/3-813 (West 2006)). Orders for continuing civil commitment must comply with all of the procedural requirements applicable to initial orders, including proof by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent meets the ...


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