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The People of the State of Illinois v. Toni C. Hale

March 29, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TONI C. HALE,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 09CF392 Honorable Michael R. Roseberry, Judge Presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Pope and Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In October 2009, a jury found defendant, Toni C. Hale, guilty of single counts of threatening a public official and aggravated battery. In December 2009, the trial court sentenced her to five years for threatening a public official and seven years for aggravated battery.

¶ 2 On appeal, defendant argues (1) the trial court erred in giving certain jury instructions, (2) the State failed to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and (3) her sentences were excessive. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 In July 2009, the State charged defendant by information with four counts of aggravated battery (counts I, II, III, and V) (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(18) (West 2008)) and one count of threatening a public official (count IV) (720 ILCS 5/12-9 (West 2008)). Count IV alleged defendant committed the offense of threatening a public official in that she knowingly and willfully conveyed directly to correctional officer Brian Doellman, a public official, a communication containing a threat that would place Doellman or a member of his immediate family in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm by stating "she knew where we lived and slept and she would kill us when she got out and that she would have our blood on her hands." Count V alleged defendant committed the offense of aggravated battery in that she, in committing a battery, knowingly made contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Doellman in that she bit and spit on him, knowing him to be a peace officer engaged in the execution of his official duties. Defendant pleaded not guilty.

¶ 5 In October 2009, defendant's jury trial commenced. The State proceeded to trial on counts IV and V. Brian Doellman testified he worked as a correctional officer with the Adams County sheriff's department. On July 11, 2009, Doellman was on duty when an "aggravated" and "angry" defendant was brought into the jail. Doellman helped other officers put defendant in a holding cage. Once inside, defendant's demeanor "got worse" and she pounded on the door and yelled threats. Defendant then took off her tank top and tied it around her neck and the top of the cage. Fearing she might be trying to hang herself, Doellman and other officers entered the cage. Defendant swung at Officer Kevin Taute. Doellman and other officers grabbed defendant's arms and put her in a restraint chair. Defendant then bit Doellman on his arm. Doellman testified it "startled" him, "like it was going to hurt," and he pulled his arm away. Thereafter, defendant started spitting, and officers placed a spit mask on her. After defendant was restrained, she "continued making threats" and stated "she was going to kill us and that she knew where we lived and that she would have our blood on her hands." Doellman stated he took the threat seriously.

¶ 6 Quincy police officer Kevin Taute testified defendant was yelling profanities at the officers when they placed her in the holding cell. While placing defendant in the restraint chair, "she made a movement with her mouth to attempt to bite [Officer Doellman's] arm." She also stated "that when she gets out she's going to kill him and she knew where they lived."

¶ 7 Penny Mast, a corrections officer with the Adams County sheriff's department, testified she saw defendant bend down "like she was going to bite Officer Doellman." While she was restrained in the chair, defendant stated "she was going to kill us" and "she was going to have our blood on her hands." Defendant also said she knew where the officers lived.

¶ 8 April Stovall, an employee at the Adams County jail, testified she heard Officer Doellman say that defendant bit him. Defendant also made threats against him, stating she was "going to beat his ass" and "cut his throat."

¶ 9 Correctional officer Timothy O'Dear testified that on July 13, 2009, defendant was informed of the charges by another officer. Upon hearing the charges, she became agitated and said "she was going to cut their throats and play in their warm blood and that she did not threaten them. She promised them."

¶ 10 Correctional officer Brian Boden testified defendant became very upset upon hearing the nature of the charges and stated she "did not touch those motherfuckers." She stated she "threatened them" and told them she "would cut their throats and play in their warm blood."

¶ 11 Defendant did not testify. Following closing arguments, the jury found defendant guilty on counts IV and V. The State then moved to dismiss counts I, II, and III.

¶ 12 In December 2009, the trial court sentenced defendant to five years on count V and seven years on count IV. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently with each other. Thereafter, defendant appealed.

¶ 13 In January 2010, defendant filed a motion for a new trial and a motion to reduce sentence. In April 2010, this court remanded the cause for a ruling on defendant's motions. People v. Hale, No. 4-09-0968 (Apr. 16, 2010) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). In October 2010, appointed counsel filed a motion for a new trial, which the trial court denied in November 2010. This appeal followed.

¶ 14 II. ANALYSIS

¶ 15 A. Jury Instructions

ΒΆ 16 Defendant argues the trial court erred in giving a jury instruction that allowed the jury to convict her of threatening a public official without making a finding on all ...


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