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In Re Commitment of Undre v. Undre Hooker

April 11, 2012

IN RE COMMITMENT OF UNDRE
HOOKER THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
UNDRE HOOKER, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court ) of Lake County. No. 08-MR-1696 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Birkett

JUSTICE BIRKETT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice Jorgensen and Justice Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Following a jury trial, respondent, Undre Hooker, was adjudicated a sexually violent person under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (the SVP Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 2008)). On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by allowing the State's expert witnesses to testify to certain past conduct by him apart from the acts that underlay his convictions of rape and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Respondent argues that the State did not lay a proper foundation for the experts to mention these facts and that the trial court failed to weigh the prejudicial effect of the testimony against its probative value. For the following reasons, we affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 To provide a legal context for the background in this case, we note that three criteria must be alleged and established before a person may be committed as a sexually violent person under the SVP Act: (1) the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense (725 ILCS 207/15(b)(1)(B) (West 2008)); (2) the person suffers from a mental disorder (725 ILCS 207/15(b)(4) (West 2008)); and (3) the person is dangerous to others because his mental disorder creates a substantial probability that he will engage in acts of sexual violence (725 ILCS 207/15(b)(5) (West 2008)).

¶ 4 In December 2008, the State filed a petition seeking to detain respondent pursuant to the SVP Act. The State alleged that respondent was convicted in 2003 of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and that he was evaluated in 2008 by a psychologist, Dr. Ray Quackenbush, who diagnosed him with "Paraphilia, Not Otherwise Specified, Non-consenting Persons." The State alleged that, because of respondent's mental disorder and history of sexual violence, it was substantially probable that he would engage in further acts of sexual violence.

¶ 5 The petition proceeded to trial in February 2010. After jury selection, respondent asked the court to instruct the jury with Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Civil, No. 2.04 (2006) (hereinafter, IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04) prior to the testimony of each of the two expert witnesses whom the State intended to call. IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04 reads in its unmodified form:

"Limiting Instruction-Expert Testifies to Matters Not Admitted in Evidence

I am allowing the witness to testify in part to [books] [records] [articles] [statements] that have not been admitted in evidence. This testimony is allowed for a limited purpose. It is allowed so that the witness may tell you what he/she relied on to form his/her opinion[s]. The material being referred to is not evidence in this case and may not be considered by you as evidence. You may consider the material for the purpose of deciding what weight, if any, you will give the opinions testified to by this witness."

¶ 6 The trial court replied that it would not give IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04 at the outset of a witness's testimony but would give the instruction if and when, during the course of the testimony, respondent objected to "the hearsay nature of that." Counsel for respondent then noted "for the record *** that [she] requested this." The court then commented:

"I understand that you want me to read [IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04] as it's modified that was given to me here before the State's case even starts or their witness gets on the stand with respect to allowing the witness to testify concerning records, police reports[,] and things like that. If I hear an objection from you at the time to do that, then certainly it would be my plan to give sua sponte an instruction like that anyway as to what they can consider it for. It would be as to the basis of the witness' opinion."

¶ 7 The only witnesses at trial were two clinical psychologists who testified for the State: Dr. Quackenbush and Dr. Raymond Wood. Each testified that he interviewed respondent, applied diagnostic criteria, and reached a conclusion as to whether respondent met the SVP Act's definition of a sexually violent person. Quackenbush and Wood both described the documents on which they relied in evaluating respondent. Wood testified:

"Q. As part of your standard approach to a sexually violent person evaluation do you ever look at any documents?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. How does that fit into your standard procedure?

A. Well, the records review is for me the very first thing. I want to know as much about that person from his or her records as I can before I meet with them for the first time. I have just found in the years that I have been doing work with incarcerated populations it's best to go in with as much knowledge as possible rather than as little knowledge as possible.

Q. So this standard proceed [sic] which you have just described, is that how you approached [respondent's] sexually violent person's evaluation?

A. Yes.

Q. So you reviewed documents in this particular case?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Can you please describe the documents that you looked at?

A. The documents that are available at that point in the process typically are police reports, victim statements, decisions by the court, case records, indictments, judgments and sentences to corrections as well as the Illinois Department of Corrections, or IDOC[,] master file. There may be information if the Department of Children and Family Services was involved. There may be information from them regarding investigation of abuse cases. There may be reports by other mental health professionals regarding the individual that I am examining.

Q. Those documents that you have described, is it reasonable and in the standard practice for professionals like yourself to rely on these types of documents?

A. Yes, it is."

¶ 8 As to his use of documents in evaluating respondent, Quackenbush testified:

"Q. What did you first do as part of your evaluation of [respondent]?

A. The first thing I do is examine the Illinois Department of Corrections master file. The master file is a collection of documents that includes things like police reports, court records, discipline history in prison, previous psychological evaluations, pre-sentence reports. *** Tracking data, health history, medical records. It's a pretty comprehensive set of documents regarding a person and their involvement with the Department of Corrections.

Q. As part of that master file did you review Appellate Court opinions?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Are the types of documents that you just described reviewing, are they the sort of documents that are reasonably relied on by experts in your field to conduct these types of evaluations?

A. Yes, they are.

Q. Did you rely on those particular documents in doing the evaluation of [respondent]?

A. Yes, I did."

¶ 9 Twice during Wood's testimony, respondent objected when Wood was asked to relate which details in the documents he reviewed were relevant to his evaluation. Neither time did respondent specify the nature or grounds of his objection. Respondent made the first objection when Wood was asked to describe the facts on which one of respondent's rape convictions was predicated. Respondent made the second objection when Wood was asked which details about respondent's 2003 conviction of aggravated criminal sexual abuse were relevant to his evaluation. After making the second objection, counsel for respondent approached the bench and informed the trial court that respondent had "a continuing objection to the time [Wood] is going to be talking about [his] report."

After each of these two objections, the trial court admonished the jury with IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04. On two additional occasions during the testimony, once between Wood's direct and cross-examinations, and again during a break in Quackenbush's direct examination, the trial court, unprompted by any objection by respondent, sua sponte admonished the jury with IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04. The following is representative of the several admonitions that the court gave during the course of the testimony:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to allow the witness to testify as to what he considered, and the information that he considered is going to be allowed by me for a limited purpose, and it's permitted for you to weigh and evaluate the opinion that is going to be given by this witness. The material itself that's referred to is not evidence in this case, and that material can't be considered by you as evidence. You may consider the material for the purpose of deciding what weight, if any, to give the opinions that are going to be made by this witness."

¶ 10 As part of its instructions to the jury, the court provided this modified form of IPI Civil (2006) No. 2.04:

"I have allowed the witnesses to testify in part to records including but not limited to police reports, Department of Corrections records, Department of Human Services records, psychological evaluations, psychological testing, psychological articles and statements other than those made by the Respondent to the witnesses that have not been admitted in evidence. This testimony is allowed for a limited purpose. It is allowed so that the witness may tell you what he relied on to form his opinion. The material being referenced to is not evidence in this case and may not be considered by you ...


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