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People v. Miller

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

April 25, 2014

DALE MILLER, Respondent-Appellant

Page 1282

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. No. 07 CR 80001. Honorable Paul Biebel, Judge Presiding.



The appellate court affirmed the trial court's order committing respondent to a secure facility as a sexually violent person, since section 35(c) of the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act does not allow a respondent who has not made a timely jury demand to make a demand after the State withdraws its timely jury demand and no good cause existed that would warrant granting respondent's late jury demand; furthermore, the record showed that the trial court considered the factors relevant to committing respondent to a secure facility at a hearing immediately after the trial, and in the absence of any indication that defendant had other witnesses or evidence he wanted to present and was prevented from doing so, the trial court's failure to hold an additional hearing did not warrant vacating the commitment order.

For Dale Miller, APPELLANT: Daniel T. Coyne, Matthew M. Daniels, Michael R. Johnson, The Law Offices of Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL.

For The People of the State of Illinois, APPELLEES: Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois, Michael A. Scodro, Solicitor General, Michael M. Glick, Gopi Kashyap, Assistant Attorneys General, Chicago, IL.

JUSTICE TAYLOR delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Gordon and Justice McBride concurred in the judgment and opinion.



Page 1283

[¶1] Respondent Dale Miller appeals orders from the circuit court of Cook County finding him to be a sexually violent person and committing him to a secure facility for treatment. He contends that he was denied his right to a jury trial after the State withdrew its jury demand, as well as his right to dispositional hearing on the issue of whether he should be committed to secure care.


[¶3] On February 2, 2007, the State filed a petition to commit the respondent under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq (West 2006)), alleging that respondent had been convicted of sexually violent offenses and suffered from the mental disorder of paraphilia, not otherwise specified (NOS) nonconsenting persons, such that it was substantially probable that he would engage in future acts of sexual violence. The State attached to its petition a certified copy of respondent's conviction from 1992 of aggravated criminal sexual assault and robbery, as well as the report of Dr. Ray Quackenbush, a medical doctor who diagnosed respondent with paraphilia, alcohol abuse in a controlled environment and antisocial personality disorder. The copy of respondent's 1992 conviction indicated that the circuit court ordered behavior clinical examinations of respondent while the case was pending.

[¶4] The next day, the court found, based on the petition, that it had cause to believe that respondent was a sexually violent person and ordered him detained at the Department of Human Services (DHS). On February 28, 2007, the court held a probable cause hearing, at which time respondent's counsel informed the court that respondent had told him that he would rather represent himself. After the court suggested that respondent " work things out" with his counsel, respondent stated that he would rather represent himself, which the court allowed. After hearing testimony from Dr. Quackenbush that respondent had admitted during an interview that he would lose control of his behavior when someone said " no" to him, and that respondent received 135 disciplinary tickets while incarcerated, the court found probable cause to believe that respondent was a sexually violent person. The State filed a timely jury demand within 10 days of the probable cause hearing, while respondent, who chose to remain pro se after the circuit court's repeated reminders of his right to counsel, did not file a jury demand of his own within the statutory period.

[¶5] On April 17, 2007, the trial court again advised respondent of his right to counsel, which he refused. Respondent then filed two motions to dismiss the petition, the first of which alleged that the failure to hold a probable cause hearing within 72 hours of the filing of the petition was a violation of section 30(b) of the Act (725 ILCS 207/30(b) (West 2006)) and of his constitutional rights. His second motion to dismiss was based on the State's failure to verify the petition. Both motions were denied. After being admonished on his right to counsel on two additional court dates, respondent continued to

Page 1284

insist on proceeding pro se, and filed a new motion to dismiss claiming that paraphilia NOS-nonconsent was not a valid diagnosis, which was also denied.

[¶6] On December 10, 2008, after several other occasions in which the court advised respondent to reconsider his right to counsel, respondent agreed to have an attorney appointed to him. Counsel for both parties appeared before the court on March 21, 2011, to schedule a trial date, at which time the State indicated that it was unsure as to whether it would continue to demand a jury trial, and respondent's counsel asked the court to entertain a tardy jury demand. In doing so, respondent's counsel argued that defendant appeared pro se throughout the early parts of the proceeding and was unaware of the deadline for filing a jury demand. Respondent's counsel proposed a trial date of June or July 2011, so that he could attempt to communicate with respondent, who had refused transportation to the hearing. The court deferred ruling on respondent's late jury request, and on September 1, 2011, the State withdrew its jury demand and respondent's counsel again requested a jury trial. Finding that respondent had waived his right to a jury trial, the court denied the request.

[¶7] The court issued orders on two separate dates informing respondent that trial would go forward in his absence if he continued to refuse appearing in person. On March 23, 2012, the date set for trial, respondent again refused transportation to court, and the trial court decided to try respondent in absentia, over his counsel's objection.

[¶8] At trial, the State called two clinical psychologists, Dr. Jessica Ransom and Dr. Robert Brucker. Since respondent did not consent to an interview with either doctor, both witnesses based their opinions on respondent's files from the DHS and the Illinois Department of Corrections, which included his criminal and disciplinary history, health records and prior evaluations. His criminal history included two convictions for sexual offenses, namely: (1) the previously mentioned 1992 conviction of attempted aggravated sexual assault, in which he robbed and attempted to assault a security guard at a restroom stall at knife point; and (2) a 1972 conviction of rape, where he entered a woman's house and forced her to have sex with him by holding a sharp object to her neck. The doctors also considered the fact that respondent received more than 130 disciplinary tickets while incarcerated, as well as respondent's report to Dr. Quackenbush that the anger and rage respondent feels when a woman refuses intercourse with him causes him to lose his ability to control his urges and behavior. Both experts opined a diagnosis that respondent suffered from paraphilia NOS, sexually attracted to nonconsenting females, nonexclusive type; and that respondent also suffered from antisocial personality disorder (APD), which, combined with paraphilia, contributes to his inability to control his behavior. The experts opined that respondent's mental disorders affect his emotional capacity and predispose him to ...

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