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People v. Lawson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

March 3, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KATHLEEN NEELY LAWSON, Defendant-Appellant

Page 211

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 12-CF-2065. Honorable John A. Barsanti, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

Where defendant was convicted of two counts of forgery in connection with a letter of diminished capacity purportedly written by a treating psychologist in order to transfer assets from her father's trust to her mother, the appellate court held the letter was made with the intent to defraud and delivered, regardless of the fact that no one was defrauded and the letter was unsuccessful.

Robert G. Black, of Law Offices of Robert G. Black, of Naperville, for appellant.

Joseph H. McMahon, State's Attorney, of St. Charles (Lawrence M. Bauer and Sally A. Swiss, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

PRESIDING JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

SCHOSTOK, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

Page 212

[¶1] Defendant, Kathleen Neely Lawson, appeals her convictions of two counts of forgery (720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2012)). She contends that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, with the intent to defraud, she knowingly made and delivered a false document that was apparently capable of defrauding another. We affirm.

[¶2] I. BACKGROUND

[¶3] Defendant was indicted on two counts of forgery in connection with a letter of diminished capacity purportedly written by a treating psychologist. The letter was provided in order to facilitate the transfer of assets from the trust of defendant's father, Harry Neely, to her mother, Donna Neely. It was alleged that the letter was made with the intent to defraud (count I) and was delivered (count II). On March 17, 2014, a bench trial was held.

[¶4] Mark Neely, defendant's brother, testified that Harry suffered a series of strokes in October 2011. As a result, Harry was transferred to The Tillers Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (The Tillers) in Oswego, where he remained until he passed away 18 to 20 months later. During Harry's time there, he could not get up and walk on his own, he was always sleepy, and he was unable to speak for very long. Over time, his condition improved only slightly.

[¶5] Early in Harry's stay at The Tillers, a dispute arose over his care. Mark and his wife wanted to bring Harry to their home, while defendant and Donna wanted him to remain at The Tillers. In November 2011, Mark filed a petition for guardianship but, after a discussion with Donna, he agreed to drop the matter if he and other family members were kept advised of Harry's medical care. Mark ...


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