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The People of the State of Illinois v. Brad L. Donath

March 22, 2013


Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Tazewell County, Illinois, Circuit Nos. 99-CF-129, 99-CF-130, and 99-CF-131 Honorable Scott A. Shore, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Carter

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

Presiding Justice Wright and Justice Lytton concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 In 1999, respondent, Brad L. Donath, was adjudicated a sexually dangerous person under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Act). 725 ILCS 205/0.01 et seq. (West 2008). Respondent filed an application for discharge or conditional release, alleging he had recovered. 725 ILCS 205/9 (West 2008). Following a bench trial, respondent was found to still be sexually dangerous, and his application was denied. Respondent appeals, arguing that: (1) the trial court's denial of his application for conditional release from the sexually dangerous persons program was against the manifest weight of the evidence; (2) he was denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to protect his speedy trial right. We affirm.


¶ 3 I. Pretrial

¶ 4 In 1999, respondent was charged with criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child for acts of sexual penetration with minors. 720 ILCS 5/12-13(a)(2), 12-14(a)(2), 12-14.1(a)(1) (West 1998). The charges were later dismissed when respondent was adjudicated a sexually dangerous person under the Act and committed to the Department of Corrections (DOC). 725 ILCS 205/1.01, 8 (West 2008).

¶ 5 On February 9, 2009, respondent filed a pro se application for discharge or conditional release from commitment, alleging that he had recovered. 725 ILCS 205/9(a), (e) (West 2008). Respondent, who was committed to the Big Muddy Correctional Center (Big Muddy), alleged that as a result of the counseling and treatment he had received since 1999, he was no longer a sexually dangerous person. On the same date, respondent also filed a motion requesting an independent psychiatric examination and a speedy trial.

¶ 6 Thereafter, the trial court appointed respondent a public defender and ordered the director of the DOC to prepare a statutorily mandated socio-psychiatric report on respondent. See 725 ILCS 205/9(a) (West 2008). After two agreed continuances by the parties, a hearing on respondent's motions was held on September 14, 2009. On that date, the State told the trial court that the socio-psychiatric report was delayed, because Dr. Mark Carich, the doctor completing the report, had approximately seven reports to complete before starting respondent's report and his assistant had recently quit. Respondent asserted that if the report continued to be delayed, his speedy trial rights would be violated. Respondent then requested a jury trial at the court's earliest convenience. The court set the jury trial for January 18, 2010, with a pretrial date of December 14, 2009, at which time the parties were to submit reciprocal expert reports. The court also granted respondent's request for an independent psychiatric examination.

¶ 7 On November 18, 2009, respondent filed a motion to continue, stating that his appointed expert, Dr. Robert Chapman, wanted assurances that he would be paid for his services and also wished to review the State's report prior to conducting his own evaluation of respondent. Respondent's motion to continue was granted on December 14, 2009, and the case was continued to March 26, 2010.

¶ 8 On March 26, 2010, the State reported that Carich only had one more report to complete before respondent's. The parties then agreed to continue the case until June 18, 2010. On July 28, 2010, respondent filed a motion to reschedule the jury trial, alleging that Carich refused to promptly prepare a socio-psychiatric report. Respondent requested that the cause be set for a jury trial and for the court to order preparation of the report or grant him discharge or conditional release. Respondent's motion was scheduled to be heard on September 17, 2010; however, the parties jointly agreed to continue the hearing to November 22, 2010.

¶ 9 On November 22, 2010, respondent reported receiving the State's socio-psychiatric report dated November 4, 2010. The parties agreed to continue the case to March 18, 2011, so that Chapman could complete his evaluation of respondent. On March 17, 2011, the parties agreed to continue the case until May 20, 2011.

¶ 10 On May 3, 2011, the State filed a motion to reconsider the trial court's September 14, 2009, decision granting the respondent's request for independent examination. The State's motion was granted on May 12, 2011, and the court denied respondent's request for an independent examination. The parties then agreed to continue the case until July 22, 2011. On that date, respondent's request to continue until August 28, 2011, was granted.

¶ 11 On August 18, 2011, respondent filed a motion to reconsider the court's denial of his independent examination. The motion was denied on August 28, 2011, and the case was set for pretrial on November 18, 2011, without agreement from respondent. On November 18, 2011, the court was informed that respondent would be privately hiring Chapman to evaluate him and to testify at trial. The parties then agreed to continue until January 6, 2012. On that date, the parties agreed to continue to January 20, 2012, where respondent waived his right to a jury trial. The parties then agreed to continue until February 3, 2012.

¶ 12 II. Trial

¶ 13 Respondent's bench trial commenced on February 7, 2012. The State's witnesses consisted of Dr. Angeline Stanislaus, Jessica Stover, and Carich. All three witnesses were part of a team that evaluated respondent and prepared a socio-psychiatric report. In preparing the report, the team conducted a four-hour interview of respondent on October 12, 2010, reviewed his treatment and DOC records, and spoke with other staff members at Big Muddy. Overall, the State's experts opined that respondent remained a sexually dangerous person and should not be discharged or conditionally released. The experts further opined that respondent needed to set his priorities and motivation on recovery, not just release. Respondent also needed to make more progress on the core issues that lead him to engage in sexual offenses before he could be released.

¶ 14 The State first called Stanislaus, a forensic psychiatrist assigned to the sexually dangerous persons unit at Big Muddy. Stanislaus had worked with respondent since 2004 and diagnosed respondent with pedophilia, fetishism, alcohol dependence, and polysubstance abuse. Respondent had suffered from these mental disorders for more than one year. Respondent's pedophilia had affected his emotional and volitional capacity and predisposed him to commit sexual offenses. Stanislaus reported that respondent was taking at least two medications for mood stabilization.

¶ 15 Stanislaus testified that respondent had been participating in the treatment program and had made progress. However, Stanislaus opined that respondent had not resolved several areas that were driving his sexually dangerous behavior. Respondent admitted to sexually assaulting or abusing the 3 victims in the charged offenses and 10 unreported victims. The 13 victims were between the ages of 9 and 13 years old, and the offenses started when respondent was 15 years old and ended when he was arrested at age 21. Stanislaus testified that despite respondent's young age, the pervasiveness and recklessness of his behavior were quite significant.

ΒΆ 16 Stanislaus testified that prior to respondent's commitment, he often used the molestation of children to release his stress. Through his treatment, respondent learned the various factors that played into his offending. Stanislaus, however, was still concerned about respondent's risk to reoffend because he was not consistently applying the intervention techniques he had been taught. Stanislaus reported that respondent struggled with emotional regulation, impulse control, and stress management. Respondent also continued to exhibit signs of sexual preoccupation and a need for immediate gratification. For example, respondent continued to masturbate to his deviant sexual fantasies to cope with ...

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