Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County.No. 07 CR 80008
Honorable Thomas J. Bryne, Judge, presiding.
Justices Fitzgerald Smith and Pucinski concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Following a stipulated adjudication as a sexually violent
person pursuant to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment
Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 2006)),
respondent, Earl Chester, appeals from the circuit
court's denial of his motion to withdraw his stipulation
and its order committing him to the Illinois Department of
Human Services (IDHS) for institutional treatment. He
contends that the trial court erred in accepting his
stipulation because (1) the Act does not provide for
stipulations and (2) the court failed to conduct a fitness
hearing prior to accepting the stipulation. We affirm.
3 On August 16, 2007, the State filed a petition to commit
respondent as a sexually violent person under the Act. In its
petition, the State alleged that respondent (1) was found
guilty of sexual assault in the circuit court of Cook County
and sentenced to 22 years in the Department of Corrections,
(2) had been diagnosed with paraphilia, not otherwise
specified, non-consenting persons (PNOS), a mental disorder
which predisposes respondent to commit acts of sexual
violence, and (3) was dangerous because his mental disorder
created a substantial probability that he would engage in
acts of sexual violence in the future.
4 In support of its petition, the State included the report
of a psychological evaluation of respondent conducted by Dr.
Ray Quackenbush, Psy.D. Prior to the evaluation, the doctor
informed respondent of the nature and structure of the
proceedings under the Act. In his report, Dr. Quackenbush
indicated that respondent articulated his understanding of
the information and consented to the interview. As part of
the evaluation, Dr. Quackenbush interviewed respondent,
reviewed his arrest and conviction history, and examined
respondent's prison disciplinary and medical files.
Several assessment methods were used to determine
respondent's level of risk for committing future sexually
violent offenses. Respondent was diagnosed with (1)
paraphilia not otherwise specified, non-consenting victims,
(2) polysubstance dependence, and (3) antisocial personality
disorder. Based on the evaluation, Dr. Quackenbush concluded
that respondent showed a substantial and continuing risk for
sexual offense recidivism and his actions met the criteria
for PNOS. As such, he recommended that respondent be found to
be a sexually violent person under and the Act and subject to
civil commitment for clinical intervention to prevent
respondent from engaging in future acts of sexual violence.
On September 11, 2007, the court found probable cause to
believe that respondent was a sexually violent person and,
pursuant to section 30(c) of the Act, ordered respondent to
participate in an evaluation to determine whether he was a
sexually violent person. On that same date, both respondent
and the State filed a demand for a jury trial.
5 On January 9, 2008, upon respondent's request, the
court ordered Dr. Eric Ostrov to conduct any and all
examinations of respondent in preparation of his defense in
the commitment proceeding. The matter was continued by agreement
of the parties over the course of the next several years. On
July 13, 2010, the court granted the State's motion for a
current sexually violent person evaluation of respondent.
Because Dr. Quackenbush was no longer available, the State
requested that the Department of Corrections be directed to
assign an evaluator to perform a current evaluation of
respondent. Although the State asserts that Dr. John Arroyo
submitted evaluation reports concerning respondent on
December 2010, September 25, 2013 and November 25, 2013 and
that Dr. Kimberly Weitl submitted reports on October 26,
2007, February 15, 2010, June 18, 2013 and October 31, 2013,
those reports do not appear in the record.
6 Trial in this matter commenced and the jury was sworn in on
March 9, 2015. On March 10, 2015, prior to proceeding with
trial, the parties tendered a stipulation in which they
agreed that respondent was waiving his right to a jury trial;
the State's evaluators would opine that respondent had
been convicted of a sexually violent offense; respondent
suffers from mental disorders and is substantially probable
to reoffend; and, thus, based on the stipulation, the Court
would find respondent to be sexually violent person. In
presenting the stipulation, defense counsel indicated that he
had reviewed each paragraph with respondent and answered any
questions respondent had regarding the agreement. Before
accepting the stipulation, the following colloquy occurred:
"THE COURT: *** Did you review this document with your
[RESPONDENT]: Yes, I did.
THE COURT: Did you review each and every one of these 16
paragraphs with your lawyer regarding the stipulation that
you're asking to enter at this time?
THE COURT: I'm showing you page three of the stipulation
and agreement. Is that your signature on this stipulation?
[RESPONDENT]: Yes, it is.
THE COURT: And is it your intention at this time to waive or
give up your right to a jury trial in this matter?
THE COURT: And proceed by way of stipulation where you're
admitting that at this time you're currently a sexually
violent person ...