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People v. White

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

June 16, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
CORBITT WHITE, Respondent-Appellant.

          Filed May 8, 2017

         Under Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 09-CR-4187; the Hon. Timothy Joseph Joyce, Judge, presiding.

          Amy P. Campanelli, Public Defender, of Chicago (Ingrid A. Gill, of counsel), for appellant. Appeal

          Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Mary L. Boland, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          Panel JUSTICE MIKVA delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Connors and Justice Simon concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          MIKVA JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Corbitt White was found to be a sexually dangerous person and, pursuant to the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (SDPA) (725 ILCS 205/1.01 et seq. (West 2010)), was committed to the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections until a court finds him no longer dangerous. On appeal, Mr. White argues that his rights to due process, to confrontation, and against self-incrimination under the United States and Illinois Constitutions were violated because he was required by court order to participate in the mental health evaluations required by the SDPA, based on a petition that did not meet the requirements of the SDPA and before the State had elected to proceed solely under the SDPA. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On March 6, 2009, Mr. White was charged by indictment with five counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, six counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of criminal sexual assault, and two counts of kidnapping. According to the criminal complaint, on August 22, 2006, Mr. White threatened the victim with a knife and forced her into his vehicle, where he bound her hands behind her back and forcefully placed his penis into her vagina.

         ¶ 4 Following the indictments, the parties began the pretrial discovery process. On June 19, 2009, the State filed a motion to introduce other-crimes evidence in Mr. White's criminal case to show his propensity to commit sex offenses (see 725 ILCS 5/115-7.3 (West 2008)), including Mr. White's 1988 convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault, home invasion, and armed robbery, for which he was sentenced to 30 years' incarceration and released on parole in 2004.

         ¶ 5 On February 26, 2010, the State filed a document titled "Petition to Evaluate Defendant as a Sexually Dangerous Person." The petition stated that it was filed pursuant to the SDPA. The petition included detailed summaries of the allegations against Mr. White in the underlying criminal case, as well as the crimes for which Mr. White was convicted in 1988. The prayer for relief asked the circuit court to enter an order appointing two qualified psychiatrists to examine Mr. White to ascertain whether he was a sexually dangerous person and then file their results in writing with the court.

         ¶ 6 Mr. White moved to dismiss the State's February 2010 petition on the basis that it contained insufficient facts to support the State's assertion that he was a sexually dangerous person as defined by the SDPA. During the hearing on Mr. White's motion to dismiss the petition, defense counsel argued that the State was putting the "cart before the horse" and had filed the petition without showing "any type of good faith basis to believe Mr. White suffer[ed] from any mental disorders." The assistant State's Attorney's response was that the February 2010 petition was merely a request, as the "preliminary first step" to have Mr. White evaluated by two psychiatrists, and that the State was "not filing a petition to have him declared a sexually dangerous person" at that time. The assistant State's Attorney explained that, if the psychiatrists did not come to the conclusion that Mr. White was a sexually dangerous person, the State would not request a hearing under the SDPA and would instead pursue the underlying criminal charges. The assistant State's Attorney also stated that, if the psychiatric evaluations indicated that Mr. White did qualify as a sexually dangerous person under the SDPA, then the State would file a subsequent petition to request a hearing to have him declared sexually dangerous. Responding to the State's declared intentions, defense counsel insisted that the State was required to file a petition that complied with the requirements set forth in the SDPA before Mr. White could be ordered to be examined by a psychiatrist.

         ¶ 7 The circuit court denied Mr. White's motion to dismiss and ordered Mr. White to be evaluated as a sexually dangerous person by two qualified psychiatrists. In its ruling, the court stated that "the statute *** requires the State to file [a] petition in writing setting forth facts tending to show that the person named is a sexually dangerous person as defined in the statute" and found that "the petition [the State] filed meets that burden."

         ¶ 8 Following the court's ruling, defense counsel expressed concern that statements made by Mr. White during those evaluations could be used against him substantively or for impeachment purposes in the underlying criminal case, such that forcing Mr. White to undergo the evaluations would violate his rights under the fifth and sixth amendments. The court responded that "the State would be precluded from using those statements in any proceeding other than on a petition to have the defendant found a sexually dangerous person."

         ¶ 9 Mr. White filed a motion to reconsider the circuit court's ruling. As part of that motion, Mr. White argued that forcing him to discuss the underlying criminal case with the evaluators would "give[ ] the State a preview of [his] defenses at trial" and his right to a fair trial "should not be impinged upon absent a showing that [he] suffer[ed] from a mental disorder." The court denied Mr. White's motion to reconsider on May 26, 2010, reaffirming its finding that "the State has set forth sufficient facts in the petition to warrant the evaluation."

         ¶ 10 Also on May 26, 2010, Dr. Peter Lourgos, assistant director of the forensic clinical services institute of the circuit court of Cook County, filed a letter informing the circuit court that Mr. White had been "uncooperative" and refused to participate in the first evaluation, thereby preventing the doctor from rendering an opinion. The court entered an order instructing Mr. White to cooperate with the evaluation.

          ¶ 11 At the May 26, 2010, hearing on Mr. White's motion to reconsider, after the circuit court had denied Mr. White's motion, the assistant State's Attorney stated:

"Judge, just to expedite matters, since we are going to need two psychiatrists to evaluate him, perhaps give it a mid-July date. Should the psychiatric institute come back with a report indicating that he doesn't fit the definition of mental disorder, the State has also filed a motion for proof of other crimes. We filed that some time ago. I am not sure if Counsel has responded to that. Perhaps get a response and maybe have Your Honor make a decision with respect to that so we can set this down for trial, whether or not we are proceeding as a sexually dangerous person or whether or not we can just actually try to criminally charge." The court did not rule on or order Mr. White's counsel to respond to the State's motion "for proof of other crimes" but simply directed the parties to return to court in June because the psychiatric reports regarding Mr. White would soon be filed.

         ¶ 12 On August 24, 2010, Dr. Lourgos filed a letter in which he stated that he examined Mr. White on June 18, 2010, and that

"Based on the above examination and review of the available records, it is my opinion within a reasonable degree of medical and psychiatric certainty that Corbitt White suffers from a mental disorder, specifically, sexual sadism, which has existed for a period not less than one year and is coupled with criminal propensities to the commission of sex offenses. Hence, it is my opinion within a reasonable degree of medical and psychiatric certainty that Corbitt White meets the statutory criteria for a sexually dangerous person." (Emphasis omitted.)

         ¶ 13 The second evaluator, Dr. Monica Argumedo, another psychiatrist with the forensic clinical services institute, also filed a letter on August 24, 2010, in which she stated that she examined Mr. White on July 27, 2010. Dr. Argumedo's conclusions paralleled those of Dr. Lourgos: she found that Mr. White "manifest[ed] a mental disorder, mainly Sexual Sadism, " that the condition had existed for a period of not less than one year, that the condition was coupled with a criminal propensity to the commission of sex offenses, and that, therefore, Mr. White met the statutory criteria for a sexually dangerous person.

         ¶ 14 On September 10, 2010, the circuit court ordered the forensic clinical services institute to tender to both parties "any and all notes, summaries, memoranda, and conclusions created in conjunction with the evaluation of Corbitt White as a sexually dangerous person." (Emphases in original.)

         ¶ 15 On September 28, 2010, the State filed a document titled "Petition to Declare Defendant a Sexually Dangerous Person." In this document, the State alleged that Mr. White met the statutory criteria for a sexually dangerous person and asserted that this conclusion was supported by the opinions of the two psychiatrists as described in their letters filed with the circuit court. This September 2010 petition alleged that "[f]or a period of not less than one year prior to the filing of this petition, defendant has had a 'mental disorder, ' as used in the SDPA" and also that there was "a substantial probability that [Mr. White] will engage in the commission of sexual assaults in the future if not confined." The relief requested in this petition was for the court to declare Mr. White a sexually dangerous person and appoint the Director of Corrections as his guardian.

         ¶ 16 Mr. White voluntarily waived his right to a jury trial, and his commitment hearing began on December 18, 2012. The State's case consisted of testimony from Dr. Lourgos and Dr. Argumedo, who each testified at length about their evaluations of Mr. White, reaffirming their opinions that Mr. White met the statutory definition of a sexually dangerous person. Each witness was cross-examined by defense counsel. The State also introduced certified copies of Mr. White's 1988 convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault, home invasion, and armed robbery, as well as copies of several other convictions for crimes Mr. White committed in the 1980s. Mr. White elected not to call any witnesses and chose not to testify on his own behalf.

         ¶ 17 On January 9, 2013, the circuit court found that the State had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. White suffered from two mental disorders, sexual sadism and antisocial personality disorder; that these mental disorders had existed for a period of not less than one year prior to the filing of the petition; that they revealed criminal propensities toward commission of sex offenses, acts of sexual assault, or acts of sexual molestation of children; and that, as a result, it was substantially probable that Mr. White, if ...


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