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People v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

March 20, 2018

CHAD Z. WILLIAMS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 15CF407 Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holder White and DeArmond concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial in May 2015, the trial court found defendant, Chad Z. Williams, guilty of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to real property. In June 2015, the court sentenced him to 68 months in prison for disorderly conduct and imposed costs of $222 for criminal trespass to real property.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, defendant argues he was denied his right to a fair sentencing hearing because the trial court improperly considered the written report of defendant's fitness examination in sentencing him. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand with directions.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 On March 24, 2015, the State charged defendant by information with disorderly conduct (count I) (720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(2) (West 2014)) and criminal trespass to real property (count II) (720 ILCS 5/21-3(a)(2) (West 2014)). Count I alleged defendant knowingly caused to be transmitted to the Urbana Fire Department a false alarm of fire, knowing at the time of such transmission there were no reasonable grounds to believe a fire existed. Count II alleged defendant knowingly entered upon the land of Carle Therapy Services, located in Urbana, Illinois, after receiving, prior to such entry, notice such entry was forbidden.

         ¶ 5 On March 25, 2015, defendant filed a motion for appointment of a psychiatrist pursuant to section 104-11(b) of Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/104-11(b) (West 2014)). Defendant sought the appointment of "a qualified expert to examine defendant as to his fitness to stand trial and sanity at the time of the offense alleged." The trial court granted defendant's motion, appointing Dr. Lawrence Jeckel to examine defendant. The court ordered the report as to fitness to stand trial to be provided to the court and the report as to sanity at the time of the alleged offense to be provided to defendant.

         ¶ 6 In April 2015, Dr. Jeckel filed his 15-page report with the clerk of the circuit court. In a paragraph titled, "Statement of Nonconfidentiality, " Dr. Jeckel stated he "explained at the outset to [defendant] that the examination did not constitute a doctor/patient relationship in the usual sense, and that [Dr. Jeckel's] findings and opinions would be included in a report that would be made available to his attorney." Dr. Jeckel further stated defendant understood Dr. Jeckel might be requested to testify in court. Dr. Jeckel stated defendant agreed "to these conditions." Dr. Jeckel reiterated in a paragraph titled "Clinical Evaluation, " defendant "understood the exception to confidential[ity] and the requirement that [Dr. Jeckel] report to the Court the results of the fitness examination." Ultimately, Dr. Jeckel found defendant fit to stand trial.

         ¶ 7 In May 2015, defendant's bench trial commenced. Derrick Odle testified he is a division chief for the Urbana Fire Department. On March 23, 2015, six units responded to a false alarm of fire from Carle Therapy Services in Urbana. Nathan Pickens testified he is a security officer for Carle Hospital, including Carle Therapy Services. Pickens provided written notice to defendant on July 12, 2014, banning defendant from all Carle properties. Kelly Vaughn testified she is a patient services representative employed by Carle Therapy Services. Defendant entered Carle Therapy Services on March 23, 2015, and approached the front counter. Defendant requested "blind assistance" and an ambulance. Vaughn attempted to determine defendant's needs, but defendant became "very agitated." Vaughn sought assistance from a registered nurse who was also unable to discern defendant's requests and directed a coworker to call 9-1-1. While waiting for emergency responders, Vaughn observed defendant pull the fire alarm, stating "that is for refusing to help a blind man." Vaughn testified defendant did not appear to be blind.

         ¶ 8 Urbana police officer Shannon Wolfe testified she responded to a 9-1-1 call from Carle Therapy Services on March 23, 2015. She was familiar with defendant. Defendant has never appeared to be blind. Defendant testified he went into Carle Therapy Services on March 23, 2015, "with vision and some other physiological symptom[s]." After waiting for an ambulance for 20 minutes, he pulled the fire alarm. Defendant understood there was no fire. Following defendant's testimony, the trial court found defendant guilty on both counts. Defendant filed a motion for acquittal or, in the alternative, motion for a new trial. The trial court denied the motion.

         ¶ 9 In June 2015, the trial court conducted the sentencing hearing. In aggravation, the State presented the testimony of Louis Hall. Hall testified he was employed as a security supervisor for Carle Hospital on February 19, 2015. He had encountered defendant on multiple occasions. On February 19, 2015, Hall responded to a fire alarm defendant pulled as he exited the emergency room. Hall confirmed there was no fire "or any emergency of any nature that would have warranted [defendant] pulling the fire alarm." The State recommended a five-year sentence. Defendant did not present any evidence in mitigation. Defense counsel directed the court's attention to Dr. Jeckel's report, arguing "it clearly states, he-it's very likely he was seriously abused as a child and had to be removed from the home. And basically the child developed PTSD [(posttraumatic stress disorder)], and that manifested itself into conversion disorder." Defense counsel further argued the 26-year-old defendant was not a violent person. Defendant did not speak on his own behalf. Defense counsel asked for "conditional discharge and a period of 180-days in the Champaign County jail."

         ¶ 10 The trial court noted two statutory factors in aggravation were defendant's "prior criminal history" and deterrence. The court referenced the two occasions in which defendant falsely pulled a fire alarm, February and March 2015. It characterized the false pulling of a fire alarm at a medical facility as "an outrageous crime." The court considered defendant's "history, character, and condition, " stating "that's where I get to Dr. Jeckel's report." The court quoted from Dr. Jeckel's report, as follows:

"[Defendant] continues to engage in malicious mischief toward the police and in the community. He frequently acts out infantile, omnipotent demands, such as asking staff at Carle Therapy Services to call an ambulance for him. His insistence that he is blind, deaf, has PTSD or narcolepsy, is clumsy and may on occasion work with unsuspecting clerks. But he really can become a tyrant if a clerk asks him to pay, and he has a history of resisting arrest. *** Therefore, I believe he should be considered a chronic suicide risk, which is something that we have to take into consideration. In my opinion, he is not suitable for treatment in a psychiatric facility because he basically engages in ego-syntonic acting out and has shown no indication of stopping his 'reign of terror.' ...

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