Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 15 DV 70879
Honorable Laura Bertucci-Smith, Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McBride and Howse concurred in the judgment
1 Defendant Benjamin Lane was charged with domestic battery.
After a bench trial, the court found him guilty of the
uncharged offense of reckless conduct, finding that reckless
conduct was a lesser-included offense of domestic battery. In
this appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in
making this finding. We disagree and hold that the trial
court properly convicted defendant of reckless conduct.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 The State charged defendant with domestic battery, alleging
that he "knowingly or intentionally without legal
justification caused bodily harm to Raven Austell[, ] a
family or household member, " when he "struck ***
Austell about the head causing injury."
4 At trial, Austell, defendant's ex-girlfriend, testified
that she and defendant broke up on January 25, 2015. The next
day, she went to defendant's apartment to get her keys
back from him and to return defendant's parking pass.
Austell said that she and defendant exchanged the items
outside his apartment building while she sat in her car.
Austell testified that, after they exchanged the items,
defendant reached in through her open car window and punched
her in the face. The Chicago police officer who responded to
the scene testified that Austell had some bruising, redness,
and minor swelling on her face.
5 Defendant denied punching Austell. He testified that he
gave Austell her keys and that she reluctantly returned his
parking pass to him.
6 The court found defendant guilty of reckless conduct,
finding that defendant reached into the car to retrieve his
parking pass and that, as he reached in, he hit Austell in
the face. The court found that defendant "shouldn't
have been struggling to get the pass, and that it was
7 Defendant filed a posttrial motion arguing that reckless
conduct was not a lesser-included offense of domestic battery
and, consequently, he could not be convicted of that
uncharged offense. The court denied the motion. Defendant
8 II. ANALYSIS
9 Defendant's only argument on appeal is that he could
not be convicted of reckless conduct, because it was not a
lesser-included offense of domestic battery.
10 Because a defendant has a fundamental due process right to
notice of the charges against him, he generally may not be
convicted of an offense that he has not been expressly
charged with committing. People v. Clark, 2016 IL
118845, ¶ 30. But a defendant may be convicted of an
uncharged offense if it is a lesser-included offense of a
crime expressly charged in the charging instrument, and if
the evidence at trial rationally supports a conviction on the
lesser-included offense and an acquittal on the greater
11 To determine whether an uncharged offense is a
lesser-included offense of a charge, we apply the
"charging instrument" approach, wherein we
determine whether the facts in the charging instrument
include "a broad foundation or main outline of the
lesser offense." Id. ¶ 31. The charging
instrument need not explicitly state all of the elements of
the lesser offense in order to meet this ...