People v. Wright

Citation490 N.E.2d 640,111 Ill.2d 128,95 Ill.Dec. 787
Decision Date18 October 1985
Docket NumberNo. 59276,59276
Parties, 95 Ill.Dec. 787 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Patrick H. WRIGHT, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

Neil F. Hartigan, Atty. Gen., Jill Wine-Banks, Sol. Gen., Mark L. Rotert, Terence M. Madsen, Scott Graham, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, for appellee.

Charles M. Schiedel, Deputy State Appellate Defender, Supreme Court Unit, Springfield, Lawrence J. Essig, Asst. Defender, for appellant. THOMAS J. MORAN, Justice:

Defendant, Patrick H. Wright, was charged by information, in the circuit court of Coles County, with the offenses of murder, attempted murder, home invasion, residential burglary, attempted rape, and armed robbery. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, pars. 9--1(a)(1), 9--1(a)(2), 9--1(a)(3), 8--4(a), 11--1, 12--11, 19--3, 18--2(a).) Defendant's motion for a change of venue was allowed, and the cause was subsequently tried in Edgar County. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty on all counts. A jury proceeding, for purposes of sentencing, was waived, and the parties agreed to a single death penalty hearing before the court. Pursuant to sections 9--1(d) and 9--1(h) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Code) (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, pars. 9--1(d), 9--1(h) ), the court, upon evidence adduced at trial and stipulated to by the prosecution and defense, made a first-stage finding of a statutory aggravating factor (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9--1(b)(6) ). Although finding that the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, the court concluded that the presence of that statutory mitigating factor (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9--1(c)(2) ) alone was insufficient to preclude a sentence of death. The court thereupon sentenced defendant to death on the murder conviction and also pronounced maximum concurrent sentences of 60 years' imprisonment for home invasion, armed robbery and attempted murder and 30 years' imprisonment for each of two counts of attempted rape. Defendant's motion for a new trial was denied, and he brings a direct appeal to this court (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9--1(i), Ill. Const.1970, art. VI, sec. 4(b); 87 Ill.2d R. 603), alleging numerous errors at all stages of the proceedings.

Through an audio taped statement, made by the defendant and played before the jury, it was revealed that late in the evening of June 6, 1983, defendant entered the Mattoon, Illinois, apartment of Carol Specht and her daughter Connie. He stated that his plan was to burglarize the dwelling. Prior to entering the apartment the defendant, by peering through several windows, ascertained that at least one woman was at home, asleep on the couch. He decided that he would not curtail his plans because of the woman's presence. He reasoned that "if she gives me any trouble, I'll do away with her."

Carrying a flashlight and a fillet knife, the defendant entered the apartment through an open sliding glass door in Carol Specht's bedroom. He proceeded into the living room, where Carol Specht was asleep on the couch. Defendant put a knife to her neck as she began to awaken and forced her into her bedroom, where he tried unsuccessfully to rape her. He then bound and gagged the victim and began searching for money and other valuables. After putting several photographs and other items of personal property found in the victim's purse, wallet and dresser drawer in his pocket, defendant began searching the rest of the apartment.

During this search he discovered Connie Specht, asleep in her bedroom. Connie awakened, and the defendant asked her who she was and what her relationship was to Carol Specht. He then forced Connie into her mother's bedroom, telling her that he would kill her mother if she did not cooperate. Defendant abused Connie sexually but was unable to rape her. He stated that he slashed Connie Specht's throat when she appeared to be begging for mercy. When he observed that the first cut was relatively small, he slashed her two more times in an attempt to rupture the jugular vein. He then began to inflict the stab wounds to Carol Specht's back which caused her death.

As the defendant left the apartment, he stumbled and lost his glasses. In an attempt to locate the glasses, he reached for his flashlight and discovered that it was missing. He reentered the apartment to search for the flashlight and observed Connie Specht phoning for help. Unable to find the flashlight, defendant fled from the scene.

At trial, the testimony of Connie Specht was consistent with the statement made by the defendant. The State, in its case in chief, also adduced the testimony of a number of other witnesses and introduced numerous exhibits into evidence. Because the facts of this case are not disputed, aside from the mental condition of the defendant at the time of the crime, the substance of this evidence will be recited only where necessary to a disposition of the issues.

The question of defendant's mental condition at the time he performed the acts giving rise to this action was raised, at trial, by the defense. The basic premise of this defense was that the psychosexual disorder involving shoe fetishism, from which defendant had long suffered, compelled his behavior and rendered him insane at the time he performed the acts in question. In support of this theory, the defendant, testifying on his own behalf, recalled a troubled childhood involving physical abuse and a 15-year period of institutionalization in mental hospitals necessitated by his psychosexual disorder. Defendant was first institutionalized at the age of 15. Defendant further testified that following this period of institutionalization he was repeatedly involved in criminal activity. As a result, he spent the majority of the next nine years in prison.

In contradiction to his taped statement, wherein he stated that he broke into the Specht apartment for money and jewelry, defendant testified at trial that he was really looking for women's shoes but was ashamed to admit this to the policemen during his taped statement. Also in variance with his taped statement was his claim, on cross-examination, that he did not remember stabbing Carol Specht. In fact, on both direct examination and cross-examination defendant testified that, because of his mental condition, he was unable to control his actions during the incident.

A psychiatrist, Dr. William Fowler, testified as a rebuttal witness for the State. It was his opinion, after interviewing the defendant and considering police reports, the audio taped confession, and materials from previous incarcerations, that the defendant was not suffering from a mental disease at the time of the offense. Dr. Fowler stated that the defendant had probably never suffered from a mental illness. He characterized defendant's condition as a personality or psychosexual disorder.

The jurors were provided forms for verdicts of not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty but mentally ill, and guilty for each of the charged offenses. They were instructed that the State, in addition to proving all of the elements of each of the charged offenses, was required to prove that the defendant was sane at the time of each of the offenses. In addition, the jurors were instructed that to find the defendant insane, and hence not criminally responsible for his conduct, they would have to conclude that because of a mental defect the defendant did not appreciate the criminality of his conduct or was unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Further, they were instructed that "mentally ill" refers to a substantial disorder of thought, mood, or behavior which impairs a person's judgment at the time of the commission of an offense but not to the extent that he could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. Rejecting defendant's insanity defense, as well as the guilty-but-mentally-ill alternative, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts.

At the sentencing hearing, the court found that the defendant had attained the age of 18 years or more at the time of the offense and that Carol Specht was killed during the course of another felony. During the second stage of the hearing, the defendant offered the testimony of a psychiatrist, Dr. Arthur Traugott, in mitigation. Dr. Traugott opined that while defendant was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior and conform his conduct to the requirements of the law, at the time of the offense, he was suffering from a mental illness which had an "overpowering influence" in determining his actions on the evening in question.

The court expressly found the presence of one statutory mitigating factor--"the murder was committed while the defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, although not such as to constitute a defense to prosecution." (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9--1(c)(2).) The court also concluded, however, that the mitigating factor was insufficient to preclude the sentence of death, and thereafter defendant was sentenced to death.

We consider first the defendant's contention that his warrantless arrest was not supported by probable cause. Prior to trial, defendant moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. The following facts were revealed at the suppression hearing. Defendant testified that at approximately 2 a.m. on June 7, 1983, he was out walking in Mattoon when he was stopped by a city police officer in a squad car. After producing identification, the defendant was told he was free to go. Shortly thereafter, however, he was stopped by three officers in three squad cars. Defendant was searched and handcuffed and transported to the Mattoon police department. Defendant stated that no arrest warrant was produced nor was he told that the officers...

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79 cases
  • Wright v. Cowan
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Central District of Illinois
    • 11 Julio 2001
    ...its sympathy for Wright as a mitigating factor. The court affirmed his conviction and sentence on October 19, 1985. People v. Wright, 111 Ill.2d 128, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640 (1985) ("Wright I"). The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari the following year. Wright v. Illinois......
  • Wright v. Walls, 01-3066.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 24 Abril 2002
    ..."any mitigating facts in the record of the trial as well as any which the defendant offers at the sentencing hearing." People v. Wright, 111 Ill.2d 128, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640, 656 (Ill.1985) ("Wright I") (citing People v. Lewis, 88 Ill.2d 129, 144, 58 Ill.Dec. 895, 430 N.E.2d 1346......
  • People v. Fair, 71231
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    • Supreme Court of Illinois
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    ...the mental condition of an individual based on personally observed facts, which must be stated in detail. (People v. Wright (1985), 111 Ill.2d 128, 148-49, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640, citing People v. Smothers (1973), 55 Ill.2d 172, 174-75, 302 N.E.2d 324; People v. Williams (1967), 38......
  • People v. Buss, 81911.
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    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 15 Abril 1999
    ...committed by the defendant."'" People v. Jones, 156 Ill.2d 225, 237, 189 Ill.Dec. 357, 620 N.E.2d 325 (1993), quoting People v. Wright, 111 Ill.2d 128, 145, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640 (1985), quoting People v. Eddmonds, 101 Ill.2d 44, 60, 77 Ill.Dec. 724, 461 N.E.2d 347 (1984); People ......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Illinois Objections
    • 1 Mayo 2013
    ..., 312 Ill App 3d 305, 726 NE2d 759 (2000), §11:100 People v. Wrice , 2012 Ill 111860, 962 NE2d 934 (2012), §1:80 People v. Wright , 111 Ill 2d 128, 490 NE2d 640 (1995), §9:150 People v. Wright , 2012 Ill App (1st) 073106, 971 NE2d 549 (2012), §§1:60, 11:120, 18:30 People v. Yarbor , 383 Ill......
  • Witness Examination
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Illinois Objections
    • 1 Mayo 2013
    ...upon hearing the voice at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker. • Mental condition. People v. Wright , 111 Ill 2d 128, 490 NE2d 640 (1995) overruled in part on other §9:150 Illinois Objections 9-262 grounds, People v. Boclair , 202 Ill 2d 89, 789 NE2d 734 (200......

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