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The People of the State of Illinois v. Terry J. Sedlacek

March 28, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
TERRY J. SEDLACEK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 09-CF-540 Honorable Richard L. Tognarelli, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wexstten

NOTICE

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

JUSTICE WEXSTTEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Welch and Goldenhersh concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The State appeals the trial court's order entering summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the issue of his fitness to stand trial and granting the defendant's request that the State record and limit the scope of its proposed evaluation of the defendant's mental status. For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In March 2009, the defendant, Terry J. Sedlacek, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(b)(1) (West 2008)) and two counts of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2008)). The record indicates that following his arrest, the defendant was transported to St. Louis University Hospital, where he received both medical and psychological treatment.

¶ 4 In July 2009, alleging that he suffered from schizophrenia, the defendant filed a motion to determine his fitness to stand trial pursuant to article 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (article 104) (725 ILCS 5/art. 104 (West 2008)). The defendant's motion requested that the court appoint an expert to examine him (see 725 ILCS 5/104-11(b), 104-13(a) (West 2008)) and that a fitness hearing follow the filing of the expert's report (see 725 ILCS 5/104-15, 104-16 (West 2008)). In a discovery answer, the defendant also advised the State that he might raise the affirmative defense of insanity (720 ILCS 5/6-2 (West 2008)).

¶ 5 In September 2009, the trial court appointed Dr. Robert Heilbronner to examine the defendant to determine his fitness to stand trial. See 725 ILCS 5/104-13(a) (West 2008). In October 2009, Dr. Heilbronner submitted two reports to the trial court, and the court ordered that the reports be placed under seal. See 725 ILCS 5/104-19 (West 2008). At a subsequent fitness hearing, the parties stipulated that if called to testify, Heilbronner would opine that to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the defendant suffers from schizophrenia and would have difficulties understanding and participating in the proceedings against him. The parties further stipulated that Heilbronner would testify that the defendant would be unable to assist his attorneys in the preparation of a defense and that it could not reliably be determined whether the defendant would attain fitness to stand trial within one year. On October 20, 2009, referencing the parties' stipulations, the trial court entered an order finding the defendant unfit to stand trial and remanding him to the custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS) for treatment. See 725 ILCS 5/104-16(d), 104-17(b) (West 2008).

¶ 6 In December 2009, DHS submitted a report and treatment plan to the trial court pursuant to article 104. See 725 ILCS 5/104-17(e) (West 2008). Noting, inter alia, that the defendant had been "[r]eceiving psychiatric treatment since age 17," the report advised that the defendant suffered from chronic schizophrenia. The report concluded, however, that the defendant would likely achieve fitness "within one year." In a January 2010 progress report (see 725 ILCS 5/104-18 (West 2008)), DHS opined that the defendant was still unfit to stand trial but "may be restored to fitness within a year as statutorily allowed."

¶ 7 In June 2010, DHS submitted two progress reports, one of which indicated that the defendant was fit to stand trial and one of which indicated he was not. In July 2010, referencing the conflicting June 2010 reports, the trial court entered an order stating that further proceedings would be stayed until it received a progress report indicating that the defendant had attained fitness.

¶ 8 On October 19, 2010, DHS submitted a progress report stating its opinion that "there [was] not a substantial probability that [the defendant would] attain fitness within a period of one year from the date of the original finding of unfitness." The report further noted that the defendant's "one[-]year term of being found unfit [had] expire[d] on October 20, 2010."

¶ 9 On December 9, 2010, the State filed a request for a status hearing, asking that the trial court set the matter for a "first hearing" pursuant to section 104-20(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/104-20(a) (West 2008)). On December 28, 2010, DHS submitted a progress report concluding, "[The defendant] remains unfit to stand trial and is unlikely to attain fitness within the statutory time period." The December 2010 progress report further indicated that pursuant to section 104-20, the defendant's cause should proceed to a discharge hearing. The record indicates that the trial court never held a "first hearing" as the State requested. It is undisputed that the defendant is still in DHS custody at its mental health facility in Alton.

¶ 10 In March 2011, DHS submitted a progress report advising that the defendant was still unfit to stand trial. The report further indicated that pursuant to section 104-20, the defendant's cause should proceed to a discharge hearing. DHS reports concluding that the defendant remained unfit to stand trial were subsequently filed in July, September, and December 2011. Noting that the defendant's "one[-]year term of being found unfit [had] expired on October 20, 2010," those reports also stated the obvious conclusion that "there [was] not a substantial probability that he [would] attain fitness within a period of one year from the date of the original finding of unfitness."

ΒΆ 11 In April 2011, the State filed a motion requesting that the defendant be evaluated by its retained expert, Dr. Mathew Markos, Cook County's director of forensic services. The motion stated that the evaluation would be "for the purpose of assessing the defendant's fitness to stand trial and assessing whether the defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity." In May 2011, at a hearing on the motion, defense counsel stated that he did not object to the State's proposed examination, but he asked that the trial court order that the exam be video-recorded pursuant to section 103-2.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/103-2.1 (West 2008)). The State objected, arguing that section 103-2.1 was inapplicable under the circumstances. Asserting, inter alia, that many mentally ill defendants are "minimally cooperative" with court-ordered psychological examinations in the first place, the State further argued that the presence of a camera or recording device might "intrude on the evaluation ...


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