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People v. Manning

Supreme Court of Illinois

March 22, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Appellant,
v.
ARTHUR MANNING, Appellee.

          CHIEF JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Garman, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          KARMEIER CHIEF JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The issue presented in this appeal, distilled to its essence, is whether jurors' inability to unanimously agree upon whether a mitigating factor exists, for purposes of second degree murder, results in a finding of first degree murder, as charged, and as necessarily found by the jury in the required statutory progression.We hold that it does.

         ¶ 2 STATUTE INVOLVED

         ¶ 3 In 2008, the second degree murder statute (720 ILCS 5/9-2 (West 2008)) provided in pertinent part:

"(a) A person commits the offense of second degree murder when he commits the offense of first degree murder as defined in paragraphs (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of Section 9-1 of this Code and either of the following mitigating factors are present:
(1) At the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the individual killed ***; or
(2) At the time of the killing he believes the circumstances to be such that, if they existed, would justify or exonerate the killing under the principles stated in Article 7 of this Code, but his belief is unreasonable.
(b) Serious provocation is conduct sufficient to excite an intense passion in a reasonable person.
(c) When a defendant is on trial for first degree murder and evidence of either of the mitigating factors defined in subsection (a) of this Section has been presented, the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove either mitigating factor by a preponderance of the evidence before the defendant can be found guilty of second degree murder. However, the burden of proof remains on the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of first degree murder and, when appropriately raised, the absence of circumstances at the time of the killing that would justify or exonerate the killing under the principles stated in Article 7 of this Code.[1] In a jury trial for first degree murder in which evidence of either of the mitigating factors defined in subsection (a) of the Section has been presented and the defendant has requested that the jury be given the option of finding the defendant guilty of second degree murder, the jury must be instructed that it may not consider whether the defendant has met his burden of proof with regard to second degree murder until and unless it has first determined that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of first degree murder."[2]

         ¶ 4 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 In 2008, the defendant, Arthur Manning, was charged in the circuit court of Kane County with three counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3) (West 2008)) based on the stabbing death of Naromi Mannery. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of first degree murder (id. § 9-1(a)(1)) and sentenced to 29 years in prison. The appellate court reversed and remanded for a new trial, finding that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense. People v. Manning, No. 2-09-0752 (2011) (unpublished order under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 23).

         ¶ 6 The second trial, like the first, generally established that the victim was highly intoxicated and ultimately an unwelcome visitor at a residence occupied by defendant and at least five other individuals. The victim was asked to leave and refused to do so. A fight ensued between the inebriated victim and four of the residents, including the defendant. Defendant was armed with a knife. In the course of that fight, the victim, who was apparently unarmed, was stabbed three times. A stab wound to the chest proved fatal. Defendant admitted to stabbing the victim twice: once in the arm and once in the back. There was no evidence that anyone other than defendant was armed.

         ¶ 7 Pursuant to defendant's request-and the appellate court's prior directive-the trial court instructed the jury on self-defense. Relatedly, the court also granted defendant's request to instruct the jury on second degree murder, based on both statutory mitigating factors: an unreasonable belief in the need for self-defense and provocation, with mutual combat being the requisite provocation. See 720 ILCS 5/9-2(a) (West 2008). Hence, the jury received Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Criminal, Nos. 7.06B and 26.01A (4th ed. 2000) (hereinafter IPI Criminal 4th). Commensurate with the provisions of the second degree murder statute, IPI Criminal 4th No. 7.06B listed the elements of first degree murder and indicated that the State had to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. The instruction then informed the jury (1) if it found that the State had failed to prove each element of first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt, it should stop deliberating and return a verdict of not guilty; (2) if it found that the State had proven each of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt, it should then decide whether defendant had proven that a mitigating factor existed; and (3) if it found that defendant had met that burden, it should find him guilty of second degree murder; however, (4) if it found that defendant had failed to meet that burden, it should find him guilty of first degree murder. IPI Criminal 4th No. 26.01A instructed the jury that it would receive three verdict forms-(1) not guilty, (2) guilty of first degree murder, and (3) guilty of second degree murder-and that its verdict must be unanimous. The instruction directed the jury to sign only one verdict form.

         ¶ 8 During the course of deliberations in this case, the following colloquy occurred outside the presence of the jury:

"THE COURT: *** We received a question from the jury: For approving mitigating factors to reduce charge to second degree murder, if vote on mitigating factor is not unanimous, does it revert to first degree murder? Okay. Proposed responses?
[THE STATE]: Yes.
[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: My response would be ...

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