People v. Williams

Citation73 Ill.Dec. 360,97 Ill.2d 252,454 N.E.2d 220
Decision Date27 May 1983
Docket NumberNo. 53240,53240
Parties, 73 Ill.Dec. 360 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Hernando WILLIAMS, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

Page 220

454 N.E.2d 220
97 Ill.2d 252, 73 Ill.Dec. 360
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
Hernando WILLIAMS, Appellant.
No. 53240.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
May 27, 1983.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 30, 1983.

[97 Ill.2d 262]

Page 224

[73 Ill.Dec. 364] Tyrone C. Fahner, Atty. Gen., Chicago, for appellee; Richard M. Daley, State's Atty., County of Cook, Chicago, Michael E. Shabat, Kevin Sweeney, Asst. State's Attys., Chicago, of counsel.

Steven Clark, Deputy Defender, Ralph Ruebner, Deputy State Appellate Defender, Kenneth L. Jones, Asst. State Appellate Defender, Chicago, for appellant; Martin Carlson, Asst. State Appellate Defender, Chicago, of counsel.

WARD, Justice:

After his pretrial motions had been denied, Hernando Williams changed his plea to guilty in the circuit court of Cook County to charges of murder, armed robbery, rape and aggravated kidnapping. The pleas were accepted and judgment was entered upon them. The State then asked for the death penalty, and after a bifurcated sentencing proceeding before a jury and the judge who had accepted the pleas, the defendant was sentenced to death on the murder conviction. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of 30 years for armed robbery and aggravated kidnaping. He was sentenced to 60 years for rape, but that sentence was ordered to run consecutively to a prior 30-year sentence for rape. The circuit court denied a motion by the defendant to vacate the pleas of guilty, and the defendant has taken a direct appeal to this court under the Constitution of Illinois (Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b)) and under our Rule 603 (73 Ill.2d R. 603).

According to testimony given at the sentencing hearings and at an earlier motion to suppress statements of the defendant, the victim, Mrs. Linda Goldstone, on March 30, [97 Ill.2d 263] 1978, was employed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago as an instructor in the Lamaze method of childbirth. On that evening, as she was alighting from her car in the victinity of the hospital, she was approached by the defendant and robbed at gunpoint. He made her undress from the waist down. He then forced her into his car and, it appears, took her to a shop owned by his father. There he bound her hands and feet.

He then forced her into the trunk of his car. With Mrs. Goldstone in the trunk, the defendant picked up his sister at work and drove her home. He then drove the victim to a motel, forced her inside and raped her.

On the next day, with Mrs. Goldstone bound and locked in the trunk of the car, the defendant appeared at a suburban court where charges of aggravated kidnaping, rape, and armed robbery were pending against him. The case was continued, and the defendant then drove to visit a friend, Nettie Jones, at her apartment. While he was there, people of the area heard cries for help coming from the trunk of his auto. Someone notified the police of the incident. The defendant drove away from a crowd

Page 225

[73 Ill.Dec. 365] that had gathered and proceeded to a tavern where he visited other friends.

Early that evening, the defendant checked into another motel. He forced Mrs. Goldstone into the motel and again raped her. Later, he forced her back into the trunk and picked up his niece at a friend's house and drove the niece home. As he had done the day before, he drove his sister home from work and spent the evening visiting various taverns with friends.

In the meantime, police were searching for the defendant's car. The victim's husband, Dr. James Goldstone, a physician, after learning that his wife had not appeared for class that evening, notified the police of her absence. The victim's car was found by Northwestern University security[97 Ill.2d 264] officers. Early the following morning, Dr. Goldstone received a phone call from his wife in which she told him that she would be home soon. He heard a voice in the background say, "Shut up bitch, tell him you'll be home in about an hour." The victim asked Dr. Goldstone if he had called the police, and he told her to tell the man whose voice he had heard that he had not informed the police.

Officers investigating the incident at Jones' apartment obtained the license number of the car and learned that the defendant had visited Jones. The police searched the area for the auto without success and periodically watched the defendant's home, but the car was not located.

On April 1, at 6 a.m., the defendant released the victim from the trunk of the auto. He gave her $1.25 and instructed her to take a bus home and not to call the police. He then drove off. The victim, ignoring his instructions, ran to the porch of a nearby house for help. The person who came to the door refused to allow her to enter, but he did call the police. The defendant, who had only driven around the block to see whether his instructions would be obeyed, returned and ordered the victim off the porch. He then took her to an abandoned garage and killed her, shooting her in the chest and head. There was medical evidence that the victim had been beaten once or more during her captivity.

The defendant was arrested at his home that afternoon while he was washing the trunk of his car. Early the next morning he gave a statement that was transcribed by a court reporter. In the statement, the defendant admitted to kidnaping, robbing and shooting the victim.

A number of the contentions of the defendant concern the constitutionality of the death penalty statute (Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1). The issues raised have been decided adversely to him in recent holdings of this court, and there is no necessity of discussing them in detail now. [97 Ill.2d 265] This court has a number of times held that the grant of discretion to the prosecutor under the statute to ask for the death penalty is not unconstitutional. (E.g., People v. Davis (1983), 95 Ill.2d 1, 28, 69 Ill.Dec. 136, 447 N.E.2d 353, People v. Szabo (1983), 94 Ill.2d 327, 351, 68 Ill.Dec. 935, 447 N.E.2d 193.) Too, we have held that there is no unconstitutional vagueness in the statutory provision that the court sentence the defendant to death if the jury determines that "there are not mitigating factors sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death sentence" (Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1(g)), or in the provision that the absence of a "significant history of prior criminal activity" (Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 38, par. 9-1(c)(1)) is a mitigating factor. People v. Lewis (1981), 88 Ill.2d 129, 144-46, 58 Ill.Dec. 895, 430 N.E.2d 1346.

This court also has held that the sentencing standards in the death penalty statute, which provide for the weighing of mitigating factors against aggravating factors, do not offend due process. In People v. Brownell (1980), 79 Ill.2d 508, 528-34, 38 Ill.Dec. 757, 404 N.E.2d 181, this court rejected a contention that the statute is constitutionally inadequate because it does not set out specific standards as to the weight to be given to the aggravating and mitigating factors. Because the sentencing process upheld in Brownell is a weighing process, we have judged that there is no need to impose a specific burden of proof upon the prosecution to show the absence of mitigating

Page 226

[73 Ill.Dec. 366] factors. (People v. Free (1983), 94 Ill.2d 378, 421, 69 Ill.Dec. 1, 447 N.E.2d 218.) We have also rejected the contention that the statute is unconstitutional in permitting the jury to consider in the second phase of the sentencing proceeding nonstatutory aggravating factors (People v. Kubat (1983), 94 Ill.2d 437, 504, 69 Ill.Dec. 30, 447 N.E.2d 247), and we have distinguished Henry v. Wainwright (5th Cir.1981), 661 F.2d 56, cert. allowed and cause remanded (1982), 457 U.S. 1114, 102 S.Ct. 2922, 73 L.Ed.2d 1326, which the defendant here cites for his argument to the contrary. People v. Davis (1983), 95 Ill.2d 1, 38, 69 Ill.Dec. 136, 447 N.E.2d 353; People v. Free (1983), 94 Ill.2d 378, 427, 69 Ill.Dec. 1, 447 N.E.2d 218.

[97 Ill.2d 266] Too, we have rejected the argument that the sentencing scheme is defective in failing to provide procedures for comparative review. That review would entail providing for the collection of data in all murder cases in this State for a comparison between cases in which the death penalty has been imposed and those in which it was not. (People v. Kubat (1983), 94 Ill.2d 437, 502-04, 69 Ill.Dec. 30, 447 N.E.2d 247.) Further, we have judged that the statute does not violate article I, section 11, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const.1970, art. I, sec. 11), which provides that all penalties be determined in accordance with the seriousness of the offense and with the goal of restoring the offender to useful citizenship. People v. Davis (1983), 95 Ill.2d 1, 28, 69 Ill.Dec. 136, 447 N.E.2d 353; People v. Free (1983), 94 Ill.2d 378, 420-21, 69 Ill.Dec. 1, 447 N.E.2d 218; People v. Szabo (1983), 94 Ill.2d 327, 351, 68 Ill.Dec. 935, 447 N.E.2d 193; People v. Gaines (1981), 88 Ill.2d 342, 380-82, 58 Ill.Dec. 795, 430 N.E.2d 1046.

The defendant also contends that his rights under the sixth amendment (U.S. Const., amend. VI) were violated by the trial judge's refusal to allow him to serve as co-counsel. Prior to entering the plea of guilty, the defense presented a motion asking that the defendant be allowed to serve as co-counsel at trial. The defendant said that he wanted "to represent [himself] with counsel." According to his attorney, the defendant desired to conduct some parts of the trial himself. He did not want to appear pro se with a lawyer in an advisory role. The court denied the motion and required the defendant to choose between representing himself or being represented by counsel. The defendant chose to have counsel represent him.

The State contends that this question is moot and has been waived, because the defendant did not go to trial. He pleaded guilty. Whether the issue is moot or not it is clear that it has no merit. In People v. Ephraim (1952), 411...

To continue reading

Request your trial
253 cases
  • McCray v. Abrams, 1272
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 4 de dezembro de 1984
    ...v. Morris, 708 F.2d 1493, 1497 (9th Cir.1983), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 719, 79 L.Ed.2d 181 (1984); People v. Williams, 97 Ill.2d 252, 73 Ill.Dec. 360, 372-73, 454 N.E.2d 220, 232-33 (1983), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 2364, 80 L.Ed.2d 836 (1984); People v. McCray, ......
  • State v. Belton, 693A84
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • 29 de agosto de 1986
    ...denied, 454 U.S. 1037, 102 S.Ct. 580, 70 L.Ed.2d 483 (1981); Blackwell v. State, 248 Ga. 138, 281 S.E.2d 599 (1981); People v. Williams, 97 Ill.2d 252, 73 Ill.Dec. 360, 454 N.E.2d 220 (1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 981, 104 S.Ct. 2364, 80 L.Ed.2d 836, reh'g denied, 467 U.S. 1268, 104 S.Ct. ......
  • U.S. v. Leslie, 83-3719
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 19 de abril de 1985
    ...dissent. 104 S.Ct. at 43 n. 3. See also cases cited in State v. Neil, 457 So.2d 481, 484 n. 3 (Fla.1984), and in People v. Williams, 97 Ill.2d 252, 73 Ill.Dec. 360, 454 N.E.2d 220, 233 (1983), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 104 S.Ct. 2364, 80 L.Ed.2d 836 (1984). For earlier decisions see Anno......
  • State v. Wylie, 4235
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 12 de maio de 1987
    ...[10 Conn.App. 693] to all claimed constitutional grounds, relied upon the constitutional interpretations proffered in People v. Williams, 97 Ill.2d 252, 73 Ill.Dec. 360, 454 N.E.2d 220 (1983) which in turn relied essentially upon the holding of Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT