People v. Hood

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation2022 IL App (4th) 200260
Docket Number4-20-0260
PartiesTHE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICHARD L. HOOD, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date21 November 2022

2022 IL App (4th) 200260

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.

RICHARD L. HOOD, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 4-20-0260

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

November 21, 2022


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County No. 18CF148 Honorable Scott Jones Butler, Judge Presiding.

James E. Chadd, Douglas R. Hoff, and Joseph Michael Benak, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Gary L. Farha, State's Attorney, of Quincy (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Rosario David Escalera Jr., of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Knecht and Justice DeArmond concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

STEIGMANN, JUSTICE

¶ 1 In February 2018, the State charged defendant, Richard L. Hood, with three counts of criminal sexual assault (720 ILCS 5/11-1.20(a)(1) (West 2018)) and one count of unlawful restraint (id. § 10-3). A jury found defendant guilty of all four counts, and the trial court later sentenced him to nine years and eight months in prison on each of the three criminal sexual assault counts and one year in prison for the unlawful restraint count, to be served consecutively.

¶ 2 Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) denying defendant's requests for standby counsel, (2) admitting testimony from a sexual assault nurse examiner that did not fall within the medical diagnosis exception to the hearsay rule, (3) admitting cumulative and prejudicial evidence of the victim's demeanor after the alleged assault, and (4) entering a conviction on the unlawful restraint count because it is a lesser-included offense of criminal sexual

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assault.

¶ 3 We disagree and affirm.

¶ 4 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 5 A. The Charges

¶ 6 In February 2018, the State charged defendant with three counts of criminal sexual assault (counts I through III) (id. § 11-1.20(a)(1)) and one count of unlawful restraint (count IV) (id. § 10-3). Counts I through III alleged that on January 30, 2018, defendant committed three separate acts of sexual penetration against B.L.M. by the use of force or threat of force: (1) penis in mouth (count I); (2) penis in vagina (count II); and (3) penis in anus (count III). Count IV alleged that, on the same day, defendant detained B.L.M., "in that he would not let her leave a house [located in] Quincy, Illinois."

¶ 7 B. The Pretrial Proceedings

¶ 8 In April 2018, at defendant's first appearance, defendant informed the trial court that he intended to proceed pro se. The following month, at a status hearing, defendant refused to respond when the court asked if he still wished to represent himself or whether he wanted appointed counsel. The court determined that defendant's silence could not constitute a waiver of counsel and accordingly appointed the public defender, Todd Nelson, to represent defendant.

¶ 9 At a June 2018 hearing, defendant complained about Nelson's representation. Despite defendant's complaints, the trial court declined to vacate Nelson's appointment. Defendant then told the court he wished to represent himself. The court continued the hearing, and the next day, Nelson advised the court that he had a conflict of interest. The court reassigned the case to another attorney in Nelson's office, Chris Pratt.

¶ 10 Later in June 2018, defendant appeared with Pratt and told the trial court he was

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still considering whether he wanted to proceed pro se. The court continued the case for one week.

¶ 11 At the next hearing, defendant told the trial court he wished to represent himself and pro se filed a motion for substitution of judge and a motion to dismiss the indictment. The court granted defendant's motion for substitution of judge and referred the case to the chief judge for reassignment. The court stated the new judge would address defendant's waiver of counsel.

¶ 12 In July 2018, defendant appeared with Pratt at a status hearing. The trial court asked Pratt if he was adopting defendant's pro se motion to dismiss the indictment. Pratt advised the court that defendant wished to represent himself. In response to the court's questions, defendant stated that he had an eighth-grade education, had no trouble reading or learning, and had participated in court proceedings before. The court stated that it was inclined to order a fitness and psychological evaluation to determine if defendant was "of his right mind" before accepting defendant's waiver of counsel. In light of the gravity of the charges, the court sua sponte appointed Dr. Terry Killian to conduct a fitness evaluation.

¶ 13 In August 2018, the trial court conducted a status hearing at which it addressed, among other things, defendant's (1) motion to dismiss indictment (which contained complaints about Pratt's representation), (2) fitness, and (3) waiver of counsel. The court conducted an inquiry into defendant's complaints about Pratt and found they had no merit. The court then turned to the issues of fitness and waiver of counsel and noted that Killian had submitted an evaluation concluding that (1) defendant was fit to stand trial and (2) there was no impediment to defendant's representing himself. Defendant affirmed that he still wished to waive counsel, and the court admonished defendant, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (eff. July 1, 1984), about the rights he would be giving up if he did so. The court's admonitions were consistent (nearly verbatim) with this court's recommended warnings about the dangers, disadvantages, and

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consequences of self-representation discussed in People v. Ward, 208 Ill.App.3d 1073, 1081-82, 567 N.E.2d 642, 647-48 (1991). At the conclusion of the court's Rule 401 admonitions, as recommended in Ward (id. at 1082), the court addressed the issue of standby counsel. Specifically, the court stated the following:

"The Court does have, I believe in its discretion, the ability to appoint standby counsel, and I am going to tell you that as I am of the belief that [doing so] puts an attorney in a difficult position as far as the role that they are actually serving[.] *** [I]t would be my intention in using my discretion not to appoint standby counsel to represent you or be present during any stage of the trial. Do you understand that?"

Defendant stated that he understood each of the Ward admonitions, including the admonition regarding standby counsel.

¶ 14 The trial court next inquired into defendant's education and experience. During that inquiry, defendant asserted that he had "successfully defended [himself] in several cases" and had "litigated quite a bit" while "locked up" for "24 years straight." Defendant stated that he had participated in both civil and criminal legal proceedings in the past, including three jury trials. He affirmed that he was familiar with how a trial is conducted, including jury selection and the preparation of jury instructions. Defendant stated he had questioned a witness before, was familiar with the rules of evidence, and was capable of making an opening statement and closing argument. He understood the charges against him and possible penalties. The court found defendant's waiver of counsel to be knowing and voluntary and vacated Pratt's appointment.

¶ 15 Between August and October 2018, defendant filed additional motions, including motions (1) to extend the discovery deadline, (2) to reduce bond, (3) for appointment of standby

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counsel and a private investigator, and (4) for release or bond reduction.

¶ 16 In December 2018, the trial court conducted a hearing on defendant's pending motions, first addressing his motion for standby counsel. The court asked defendant why his motion for standby counsel should be granted. Defendant responded, "[A]t the time that you [accepted defendant's waiver of counsel] you made the observation that you thought it would be too complicated to appoint standby counsel. I don't think you realized the legal complexities of the issues involved." The court replied as follows:

"[A]s far as that which was stated at the time that I took your waiver for counsel, *** I was reading from admonishments to be given to a defendant wanting to proceed at a criminal trial without counsel ***. And, I believe what was said was, if the Court, in its discretion, does not appoint standby counsel, the Defendant is specifically informed that there will be no standby counsel to assist him at any stage during the trial. And, I read that, as far as the standard form admonishments-[.]
* * *
*** I don't have any transcript before me, and nobody has offered that. I will say this: Number one, it certainly would be improper for the Court to have some blanket policy in place where you wouldn't, under any circumstances appoint standby counsel. So the record is clear, I am not exerting any blanket policy with respect to your case, [defendant], or anyone other's, and considering this request that you are making, and I would likewise recognize that whether or not standby counsel is appointed or not is a discretionary matter. It is purely within the discretion of the Court to do that, and in considering that, the Court is obligated to consider three factors: Number one, the nature and gravity of the charges; second,
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the expected factual and legal complexity of the proceedings; third, the abilities and experience of the Defendant. Those are factors the Court is obligated to consider that are enumerated in the case People v. Gibson.
Certainly, the charges that are pending against you are quite serious in nature, [defendant], with the two counts of-or three counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of unlawful restraint. The three criminal sexual assault charges all being Class 1 felonies, and as has been indicated earlier in these
...

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