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In re Commitment of Lingle

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 16, 2018

In re COMMITMENT OF LAWRENCE LINGLE
v.
Lawrence Lingle, Respondent-Appellant. The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

          Appeal from Circuit Court of Macoupin County No. 04MR06 Honorable Joshua Meyer, Judge Presiding.

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

          OPINION

          STEIGMANN, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In 1966, respondent, Lawrence Lingle, was convicted of rape. In 1982, respondent was convicted of rape and deviate sexual assault. In February 2004, shortly before respondent's prison term ended, the State filed a sexually violent person petition against respondent. See 725 ILCS 207/15 (West 2004). From February 2004 to April 2015, this matter did not proceed to trial because of delays that were caused or approved by respondent.

         ¶ 2 In April 2015, respondent filed a motion seeking the appointment of a second expert witness. Respondent argued that a second expert witness was necessary because the State would be using two expert witnesses. In May 2015, the trial court denied this motion.

         ¶ 3 In April 2017, respondent filed a motion in limine. Because respondent conceded that he was convicted of a sexually violent offense, he sought to prevent the State from mentioning the underlying facts of his convictions during opening statements. Later that month, the trial court denied this motion.

         ¶ 4 Later in April 2017, the jury found respondent to be a sexually violent person. In May 2017, the trial court ordered that respondent remain in the custody of the Department of Human Services until he is no longer a sexually violent person.

         ¶ 5 Respondent appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) denying his request for an additional expert witness and (2) denying his motion in limine. Respondent also argues that the jury's verdict was "against the manifest weight of the evidence." We disagree and affirm.

         ¶ 6 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 7 A. The Sexually Violent Person Petition

         ¶ 8 In 1966, respondent was convicted of rape. In that case, respondent broke into a residence, threatened a woman with a knife, and raped her. The trial court sentenced defendant to 10 to 30 years in prison.

         ¶ 9 In 1982, respondent was convicted of rape and deviate sexual assault. In that case, respondent broke into a family's home, threatened the family with a knife, tied them up, raped the mother, raped her 16-year-old daughter, and raped a developmentally disabled adult. The trial court sentenced defendant to 40 years in prison.

         ¶ 10 In August 2002, respondent was placed on mandatory supervised release. Less than a month later, respondent's supervised release was revoked because he sexually assaulted his elderly and blind relative.

         ¶ 11 In February 2004, shortly before respondent's prison term ended, the State filed a sexually violent person petition against respondent. See id. From February 2004 to April 2015, this matter did not proceed to trial because of delays that were caused or approved by respondent.

         ¶ 12 B. The Relevant Procedural History

         ¶ 13 1. The Motion for a Second Expert Witness

         ¶ 14 In April 2015, respondent filed a motion seeking the appointment of a second expert witness, contending that a second expert witness was required because the State would be using two expert witnesses. In May 2015, the trial court denied this motion.

         ¶ 15 2. The Motion in Limine

         ¶ 16 In April 2017, respondent filed a motion in limine that sought to prevent the State from mentioning the underlying facts of his convictions during opening statements. Respondent noted that the State was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) he was convicted of a sexually violent offense, (2) he has a mental disorder, and (3) the mental disorder makes it substantially probable that he will engage in acts of sexual violence. 725 ILCS 207/5(f) (West 2016). Respondent conceded that he was convicted of a sexually violent offense and argued that, because he conceded this first element, the only purpose of mentioning the underlying facts would be to inflame the passions of the jury and deny him a fair trial. In April 2017, the trial court denied his motion.

         ¶ 17 C. The Jury Trial

         ¶ 18 In April 2017, respondent's case proceeded to a jury trial. During opening statements, the State previewed the expected testimony of its two expert witnesses. This preview included an in-depth discussion of the underlying facts of respondent's criminal convictions.

         ¶ 19 1. The ...


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