from the Circuit Court of Macon County Nos. 15-CF-1335
16-CC-116-CC-2 Honorable Karle E. Koritz, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Jacqueline L.
Bullard, and Sonthonax B. SaintGermain, of State Appellate
Defender's Office, of Springfield, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Jay Scott, State's Attorney, of
Decatur (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and John M.
Zimmerman, of State's Attorneys Appellate
Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE DeARMOND delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Justice Turner dissented, with opinion.
1 Due to a voicemail left on Judge Robert C. Bollinger's
answering machine, the State charged defendant, Adam C.
Smith, with threatening a public official. During the
pendency of that case (case No. 15-CF-1355), the trial court
found defendant in direct criminal contempt (case No.
16-CC-1). On May 13, 2016, after the jury found defendant
guilty of threatening a public official in case No.
15-CF-1355, the court sentenced defendant to 30 days in the
county jail for direct criminal contempt in case No. 16-CC-1.
At the sentencing hearing in July 2016, the court again found
defendant in direct criminal contempt for actions he had
taken since the last contempt ruling and sentenced him to 180
days in jail as a sanction in case No. 16-CC-2. The court
sentenced defendant to 10 years in prison for threatening a
public official. Defendant filed appeals in all three cases.
These appeals were consolidated in March 2018 for purposes of
2 On appeal, defendant raises the following issues: (1) the
State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt defendant
intended to communicate a threat of unlawful violence to a
public official; (2) section 12-9(a) of the Criminal Code of
2012 (Criminal Code) (720 ILCS 5/12-9(a) (West 2014)) is
unconstitutionally overbroad, violating the first amendment
of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const., amend. I) and
section 2 of article I of the Illinois Constitution (Ill.
Const. 1970, art. I, § 2); (3) the trial court erred by
allowing the State to introduce other-crimes evidence, which
denied him a fair trial; (4) he was denied his statutory
right to a speedy trial when the court granted the
State's motion to continue the case past March 31, 2016;
(5) the court erred by allowing him to proceed pro
se at trial without first substantially complying with
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (eff. July 1, 1984); (6)
the court erred by not ordering, sua sponte, a
hearing on his fitness, even though he had earlier been found
fit to stand trial; (7) the court abused its discretion in
summarily convicting him of direct criminal contempt in case
Nos. 16-CC-1 and 16-CC-2; and (8) the court imposed an
excessive sentence. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 In November 2015, the State charged defendant by
information with threatening a public official (720 ILCS
5/12-9(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2014)). According to the charging
instrument, on or about October 27, 2015, "defendant
knowingly conveyed to a public official, Judge Robert
Bollinger, by telephone a communication containing a threat
that placed the public official in reasonable apprehension of
future bodily harm." On November 4, 2015, the trial
court (Judge Dan Flannell) gave defendant a copy of the
information and read the charges to him. The court asked
defendant whether he had counsel, wanted to obtain private
counsel, or wanted the court to appoint him a public
defender. Defendant said he would represent himself because
he believed the Macon County Public Defender's office was
biased against him.
5 On November 25, 2015, at defendant's preliminary
hearing, the trial court asked defendant if he still intended
to represent himself or wanted a public defender appointed.
Defendant again said he wanted to proceed pro se
instead of being represented by the Macon County Public
Defender's office. After finding the State established
probable cause, the court again told defendant it would
appoint a public defender to represent him but defendant did
not have the right to choose who the public defender would
be. Defendant said he would still proceed pro se.
6 On December 3, 2015, the case was assigned to Judge Karle
Koritz, who normally sits in De Witt County.
7 On January 6, 2016, the State filed a motion for defendant
to undergo a fitness evaluation. Defendant objected, arguing
he had been found fit in a prior case and was fit. Over
defendant's objection, the trial court appointed Dr. Rohi
Patil to examine defendant and determine defendant's
fitness to stand trial. On February 8, 2016, Dr. Patil
submitted a report he prepared to the court, concluding
defendant was fit to stand trial. The report stated:
"[Defendant] is a young man with a long history of
mental illness and noncompliance with treatment. He has been
found unfit to stand trial in criminal matters on two
occasions in the past. At this time, he demonstrates
significant grandiosity as well as persecutory beliefs, but
although we find his judgment to be impaired, we do not
believe that he is psychotic. He clearly understands the
charge against him, the possible consequences if he is
convicted, and courtroom processes and the roles of the major
participants. We believe that he is fit to stand trial,
although we fully expect him to try to impede the process
through behavioral disruptions, bizarre motions, and other
methods, and to feel fully justified in doing so."
8 On February 10, 2016, the trial court (Judge Koritz) found
defendant fit to stand trial. Again, the court asked
defendant whether he wanted to proceed pro se. The
court stated it knew Judge Flannell had already admonished
defendant regarding his right to counsel and found defendant
made a knowing and intelligent waiver. However, the court
stated it wanted to revisit the issue with defendant. The
court explained the difficulties involved when a lay person
defends himself in court. Defendant argued he was entitled to
the appointment of private counsel rather than a public
defender. The court told defendant it would appoint the Macon
County Public Defender's office if defendant requested
counsel. Defendant stated he would continue to represent
9 The State also filed a motion to admit other-crimes
evidence. The motion noted defendant had been in custody at
the Macon County jail since October 28, 2015, which was the
day after the alleged offense in case No. 15-CF-1355.
According to the motion, on December 29, 2015, and January 7,
2016, while in jail, defendant tendered inmate-request slips
to staff at the jail addressed to Judge Bollinger, both of
which included statements to Judge Bollinger substantially
similar to the voicemail left on Judge Bollinger's
answering machine on October 27, 2015, which was the basis
for the charge in case No. 15-CF-1355. The slip from December
29, 2015, referenced three Bible verses. The slip from
January 7, 2016, also referenced multiple Bible verses. The
State argued the request slips and the contents therein were
relevant "other crimes" evidence admissible to show
defendant's intent and identity. The State also asked for
the trial to be continued from March 31, 2016, until the May
trial setting because one of the State's material
witnesses, Detective Matt Whetstone, would be unavailable on
10 On March 11, 2016, the trial court held a pretrial hearing
and heard arguments on various motions. During the hearing,
the court noted defendant had referred to the assistant
state's attorney as a "snake attorney" and
included citations to certain Bible verses, including Psalm
141:6, which, according to the court, references judges being
thrown from a cliff. The court ordered defendant to refrain
from (1) any references to Bible verses, unless the verses
somehow related substantively to the motion; (2) insulting or
derogatory language; and/or (3) name-calling in any motion
going forward. The court warned defendant he would be subject
to criminal contempt proceedings if he violated this order.
11 The trial court then addressed the State's motion to
admit other-crimes evidence. The State noted Sergeant Kris
Thompson would testify he received an inmate-request slip
addressed to Judge Bollinger that contained derogatory and
threatening language. Thompson received the slip from
Correctional Officer Joshua Wilson, who picked the slip up
from defendant's cell on December 29, 2015. Sergeant
Thompson himself picked up another inmate-request slip from
defendant addressed to Judge Bollinger containing multiple
Bible verses and derogatory and threatening language.
Detective Whetstone would testify that he was the original
investigating officer in the case and was familiar with the
original voicemail left for Judge Bollinger and that the tone
and content of the inmate-request slips were similar to the
voicemail left for Judge Bollinger. The State asked the court
to admit the inmate-request slips to show defendant's
identity as the individual who left the voicemail and his
intent to physically threaten Judge Bollinger when he left
the voicemail message. Defendant argued this evidence should
not be admitted because the notes were written after the
charged offense. The court granted the State's motion to
admit the inmate-request slips as other-crimes evidence if
the evidence was otherwise admissible and a proper foundation
established. The court then denied the State's motion to
continue defendant's trial off the March 31 calendar
because the court thought the continuance could potentially
affect defendant's right to a speedy trial.
12 The trial court also warned defendant about his behavior.
The court noted allegations regarding defendant's erratic
behavior might cause the court to question defendant's
ability to represent himself and his fitness to stand trial.
The court noted it did not have a bona fide doubt of
defendant's fitness at that point but told defendant not
to give the court a reason to have a bona fide
doubt. The court also warned defendant his actions could
cause him to be held in criminal contempt.
13 On May 10, 2016, the State filed a motion for a finding of
direct criminal contempt. The court noted defendant had
violated the court's order to not include derogatory and
insulting language in documents he filed with the court. The
State noted defendant referred to the case both as
"fraudulent case No. 15-CF-1355" and "Adam C.
Smith vs. Public Enemy # 1."
14 At a pretrial hearing on May 11, 2016, the trial court
instructed defendant to keep his voice down, to stay calm,
and not use terms like "BS" or
"freaking." The court again told defendant he could
be appointed a public defender to represent him. Defendant
declined because the court was going to appoint a Macon
County public defender. Defendant then told the court (Judge
Koritz) defendant had made many complaints about him to the
Judicial Inquiry Board. Defendant stated: "You, you keep
that in mind with while Bollinger is being investigated, for
hopefully the Judicial Inquiry Board is gonna hang-you're
gonna be investigated right up above with them. So keep that
in mind." The court immediately addressed
defendant's comment, stating the court had ordered
defendant to not use language that demeans the dignity of the
trial court. The court found defendant to be in direct
criminal contempt of court for violating the court's
order. Defendant responded he held the court "in
contempt with the Judicial Inquiry Board."
15 The trial court then advised defendant of the basis for
the court's contempt ruling. The court noted defendant
raised his voice to the court and told the court it should
keep in mind defendant had reported the judge to the Judicial
Inquiry Board. The court also noted the various filings
defendant had made since March 31 accusing the court of
judicial corruption and extortion and defendant's
continued references to Macon County as "Make-Up
County" and his case as a "fraudulent court
case." The court did not sentence defendant at that
16 Defendant's trial was held in May 2016. Defendant
proceeded pro se. Although he was on trial for
threatening a public official, his opening statement focused
mainly on alleged wrongs committed by Judge Bollinger and law
enforcement officers. Defendant told the jury he filed
petitions in the circuit court regarding offenses police
officers committed against him, including burglarizing his
home while he was in jail on a prior charge. The Decatur
Police Department refused to make an arrest. When law
enforcement failed to act, he filed petitions at the circuit
clerk's office. Defendant told the jurors Judge Bollinger
filed a false police report against him and dismissed his
mandamus petitions as part of a cover-up. He also
told the jurors he had been denied his right to use the
public law library in the Macon County courthouse and either
Judge Bollinger, a detective, or someone in the state's
attorney's office had illegally tampered with evidence.
He ended his opening statement by telling the jurors the
evidence in the case would prove Judge Bollinger's guilt
and defendant's innocence.
17 Amanda Dillow testified she was Judge Bollinger's
judicial clerk. Her job duties included answering the phone,
taking messages, scheduling court hearings, making sure cases
were prepared for court, and making entries on the computer
during court. If anyone from the public wanted to contact
Judge Bollinger, they could call a phone number for a
telephone line she answered. If she did not answer the call,
a caller was given the option of leaving a voicemail message.
On October 27, 2015, someone left a message that concerned
her "because it was sort of a rambling-type of message,
undertones of-I don't really want to say threatening, but
it was kind of just unsettling." She told Judge
Bollinger that someone, whom she believed was defendant, had
left the judge an angry message. The judge did not listen to
the message before court security was informed of it.
Sergeant Lydell Kallenback and then Detective Whetstone came
to the office and listened to the message. The judge listened
to the message later in the day.
18 On cross-examination, defendant asked Dillow if she heard
anything that was "actually threatening." She
responded it was an implied threat. According to her
testimony, "It was not a direct this-is-going-to-happen
type of thing. It was more a watch-your-back type of
thing." Defendant then asked her what words in the
voicemail formed the basis for her belief the message
contained an implied threat. She responded she could not say
she remembered the message verbatim. However, the caller said
something to the effect this would not be the last time Judge
Bollinger heard from the caller. She described the message as
an indirect threat. She did not know if the caller meant he
was going to (1) report Judge Bollinger to the Judicial
Inquiry Board or (2) physically harm the judge. However, she
said the caller was very angry with Judge Bollinger.
19 On redirect examination, Dillow testified this was not a
typical message normally left for Judge Bollinger. The
message did not contain a specific, overt threat, but the
message had a "blanket undertone." The caller was
very angry, specifically with Judge Bollinger.
20 Judge Robert Bollinger testified he was a circuit court
judge in Macon County. He handled a variety of cases,
including miscellaneous remedy or "MR" cases. On
October 26, 2015, he reviewed five petitions for leave to
file mandamus actions filed by defendant. The five
petitions asked for mandamus relief based on alleged
misconduct by Macon County law enforcement and correctional
officers, the Decatur Police Department, the state's
attorney, and the "Residing" judge and other
officials at the Macon County courthouse.
21 The certified records for these "MR" cases were
admitted into evidence. In case No. 15-MR-997, defendant
alleged someone working for the Macon County Sheriffs Office
took the key to his home from the property room and then
burglarized and vandalized his house. Defendant asked the
trial court to issue an order compelling the unnamed
individual working in the sheriffs department to be arrested
and criminally charged. He also accused the Decatur Police
Department of covering up the crime.
22 In case No. 15-MR-998, defendant asked to be allowed to
use the Macon County law library. The named defendants in
this case were the Macon County Sheriffs Office and the Macon
County courthouse. According to his petition, the sheriffs
department and courthouse personnel were violating his equal
protection rights by denying him access to the law library.
23 In case No. 15-MR-999, defendant accused the state's
attorney of filing fraudulent charges against him, which led
to his wrongful imprisonment for 3½ years. He
asked the state's attorney to provide him a
"certificate of innocents [sic]" in case
24 In case No. 15-MR-1000, defendant alleged Correctional
Officer Samuel Hubner and/or Sergeant Flannery admitted
fabricating and then destroying false forensic evidence. He
wanted the named defendants fired from their jobs, arrested,
and charged with criminal offenses.
25 Finally, in case No. 15-MR-1001, defendant alleged Officer
Cory Maloney and Correctional Officer Mounce violated section
103-8 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS
5/103-8 (West 2014)) by eavesdropping on his communications
with his attorney. He also alleged Officer Maloney tried to
convince him to plead guilty in an earlier case. He asked for
an order of mandamus compelling the two individuals
to be fired, arrested, and criminally charged.
26 On October 26, 2015, Judge Bollinger denied
defendant's petitions for leave to file his
mandamus petitions, found the five claims amounted
to an abuse of the court process, dismissed the
mandamus petitions, and denied defendant leave to
amend his pleadings.
27 The next day, Dillow informed Judge Bollinger of the
voicemail message. She was somewhat alarmed by the message.
Bollinger did not immediately listen to the message but asked
someone from the Macon County Sheriffs Office to listen.
Sergeant Kallenback came to his office and listened to the
message. Bollinger listened to the message at that time. The
message concerned him. He had never received a phone call
similar to that message. He stated, "I was concerned
because of certain language used in that-on that-message
about what this caller's intentions were directed toward
me." When asked whether anything about the call was
specifically threatening, Bollinger stated he was
particularly concerned the caller felt like he had tried to
handle something legally but Judge Bollinger stopped him. The
caller said Judge Bollinger would be hearing from someone if
he did not reconsider what he had done. He testified the
message placed him in fear of future bodily harm.
28 Detective Matt Whetstone of the Macon County Sheriffs
Office testified he reported to Judge Bollinger's
chambers on October 27, 2015, because of a possible threat to
the judge. He listened to the message left for the judge and
recorded it on a portable voice recorder. The recorded
message was played for the jury. The message stated:
"Yeah I was uh, wanting to speak with uh, Bollinger, but
obviously that cock-sucker doesn't want to speak to the
public, that corrupt son of a bitch, so uh. Well he's,
uh, committed perjury and stuff and I've got all the
facts on that, so uh, well that's, that's, that's
on him, that, that's on him if that's the corruption
that he wants to illegally play. So uh, uh, I'm sure
he'll be hearing more from someone so alright… I
was just trying to give him, you know, another chance to, uh,
you know, reconsider, while he's, he's got a chance
to so, I was uh, yeah, you know, trying to do something
correct, trying to go about things legally to get some things
taken care of, for which he was obviously trying to cover up,
so I'll take it from there … so alrighty, thank
you … bye-bye."
Whetstone testified the voice in the recording belonged to
29 On October 28, 2015, Whetstone spoke with defendant. The
telephone number defendant provided Whetstone was the number
the caller to Judge Bollinger used to leave the message at
30 The trial court allowed the State to present evidence
regarding the inmate-request slips defendant left for Judge
Bollinger at the jail. The court instructed the jury this
evidence would "be received on the issues of the
Defendant's identification and intent and may be
considered by you only for that limited purpose." The
court told the jury, "It is for you to determine whether
the Defendant was involved in that conduct and, if so, what
weight should be given to this evidence on the issues of the
Defendant's identification and intent only."
31 Correctional Officer Joshua Wilson with the Macon County
Sheriffs Office testified he picked up an inmate-request slip
from defendant's cell on December 29, 2015. No one but
defendant was in the cell at that time. Wilson could not do
anything with the request so he passed it on to Sergeant Kris
Thompson. Wilson said the request slip was not requesting
anything and did not include any threats as far as he could
32 Sergeant Kris Thompson of the Macon County Sheriffs Office
testified he was assigned to the county jail. His duties at
the jail included reviewing hundreds of inmate request slips
and facilitating things the inmates needed. He also
supervised corrections officers working in the jail. Officer
Wilson provided him with an inmate-request slip on December
29, 2015. The request form had been filled out by defendant.
The inmate addressed the request slip to Judge Bollinger. The
request slip cited Psalms 55:15 and 141:6 and Isaiah 40:23.
Defendant also wrote on the form, "I'm going to
prove you guilty of your fraudulent charge and corruption
against me, and do my best to get you prosecuted. This is a
fact, not a threat, you anti-American communistic piece of
shit." Defendant then drew a middle finger and wrote
33 Defendant had access to a Bible when he wrote this slip.
The State introduced a Bible taken from defendant's cell.
In the Bible taken from defendant's cell, Psalm 55:15
states: "Let death seize them. Let them go down alive
into hell for wickedness. It is in their dwellings and among
them." Psalm 141:6 states: "Their judges are
overthrown by the sides of the cliff, and they hear my words,
for they are sweet." Isaiah 40:23 reads: "He brings
the princes to nothing. He makes the judges of the earth
34 Sergeant Thompson testified he received another
inmate-request slip from defendant on January 7, 2016, which
again was addressed to Judge Bollinger. This slip cited
Deuteronomy 32:30, 31, 34, and 42; Psalm 55:15, 28:23, and
144:6; Isaiah 33:22 and 40:23; and Amos 2:3. The slip then
"Praise the Lord.
As my right to freedom of speech and my j ob to preach the
word of the Lord as his servant, I'm sharing the word of
the Lord with Judge Bollinger, due to his fraudulent charge
against me, and because he defies the Lord of hosts, and due
to his corruption he is being investigated for the purpose of
prosecution and conviction. I'm doing my best to help in
the investigation. Praise the Lord."
then cited Psalm 144:9 and signed his name to the slip.
Defendant then wrote:
"All this writing is a fact, not a threat. You
cocksucking piece of shit, so don't take it any other way
unless it's up your ass, you fag. Hey Bollinger, if you
like balls, I'd like to ball you up as a bowling ball and
strike out the rest of make-up counties' judges and
state's attorneys, then I'll make your ass a gutter
ball. Talking about your mind being in the gutter, have you
been to Play-Mor Lanes yet? I'm going[.] I'm going to
striking [sic] out the entire corruption ring,
I'm playing major league baseball man."
testified Deuteronomy 32:30 states, "How could one chase
a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their
rock had sold them, and the Lord surrendered them. For the
rock is not like our rock, even our enemies themselves being
judges." Deuteronomy 32:41-42 states:
"If I whet my glittering sword and my hand takes hold on
judgment; I will render vengeance to my enemies and repay
those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
and my sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain
and the captives from the heads of the leaders of the
68:23 states: "That your foot may crush them in blood,
and the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your
enemies." Isaiah 33:22 states: "For the Lord is our
judge, the Lord is our lawgiver. The Lord is our king, he
will save us." Amos 2:3 states: "And I will cut off
the judges from ...