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In re Commitment of Jackson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

November 15, 2017

In re COMMITMENT OF JOHNNY JACKSON
v.
Johnny Jackson, Respondent-Appellant. The People of the State of Illinois Petitioner-Appellee,

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 10-MR-352 Honorable David A. Brown, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and McDade concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          O'BRIEN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Respondent, Johnny Jackson, was found to be a sexually violent person (SVP). After a dispositional hearing, the circuit court of Peoria County committed respondent to institutional care in a secure facility. Respondent appeals, arguing the court erred in denying him conditional release. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On November 18, 2010, the State filed a petition under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 2010)) to commit respondent to the custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS). After a bench trial, the court found that respondent was an SVP.

         ¶ 4 A dispositional hearing, pursuant to section 40(b)(2) of the Act, was held on December 9, 2016, to determine whether respondent's commitment should be institutional care in a secure facility or conditional release. 725 ILCS 207/40(b)(2) (West 2014). The parties stipulated to the predispositional reports of Dr. Kimberly Weitl, on behalf of the State, and Dr. Kirk Witherspoon, on behalf of respondent.

         ¶ 5 Weitl's report stated that she interviewed respondent and reviewed documents in his file regarding his criminal history, prior evaluations, mental health records, and treatment plans. Respondent told Weitl that he began having seizures when he was eight or nine years old and they continued until he was in his thirties. He then began having seizures again in June 2015 when he was in his forties. Respondent was hospitalized at the Elgin Mental Health Center in 1986 for an alcohol-related suicide attempt, and he remained there for two years.

         ¶ 6 Weitl noted that respondent's criminal history included three sexual offenses. In 1986, respondent sexually assaulted a nine-year-old female. He knew the victim from church and offered to walk her home. Weitl's report stated, "While on the way, [respondent] describes holding her hand and kissing her. Once at her house, he lifted her dress; removed her panties; and rubbed his penis between her legs and on her vagina." In 1988, while still on probation from the 1986 offense, respondent sexually assaulted a mentally disabled 20-year-old female. In 1992, respondent sexually assaulted a four-year-old female.

"[Respondent] was discovered under a blanket with his pants unzipped and his penis exposed, next to a 4-year-old female. The child's panties were pulled down and her vagina was exposed. The victim told authorities that [respondent] had penetrated her vagina and rubbed her rectum with his penis. [Respondent] admitted to the police that he had digitally penetrated the victim's vagina and rubbed his penis between her legs; and he noted he had been intoxicated the night of the offense. [Respondent] acknowledged to [Weitl] that he had not known this child prior to the night of the offense."

         ¶ 7 Weitl's report noted that respondent had received 84 disciplinary tickets while in the custody of the Department of Corrections. He also had frequent contact with mental health personnel while incarcerated. In November 2015, respondent had a number of incident reports, including multiple instances of trying to harm himself by striking his head on the wall and with his fists, engaging in sexual misconduct with another resident, and having suicidal ideations.

         ¶ 8 Weitl stated:

"[In] 2000 [respondent] was evaluated and it was noted that he had 'briefly' been involved in sex offender treatment at the Graham Correctional Center. Upon another admission, this time to the Taylorville Correctional Center, [respondent] denied committing any sexual offenses and refused to participate in sex offender treatment. He was diagnosed with Pedophilia in that evaluation. Other records indicate that [respondent] participated in sex offender treatment at the Big Muddy Correctional Center, but that he had been terminated after three months for calling a female therapist a 'bitch.' He admitted during a subsequent evaluation that he had not gained anything from his short time in treatment." '

         The report further stated that in November 2010 respondent expressed a desire to participate in sex offender treatment but in December 2010 indicated that he had some reservations about the treatment and "wished to obtain more information ...


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