People v. Wright, 69877

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtCUNNINGHAM
Citation171 Ill. Dec. 424,149 Ill.2d 36,594 N.E.2d 276
Parties, 171 Ill.Dec. 424 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Patrick Henry WRIGHT, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 69877,69877
Decision Date21 May 1992

Page 276

594 N.E.2d 276
149 Ill.2d 36, 171 Ill.Dec. 424
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,
Patrick Henry WRIGHT, Appellant.
No. 69877.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
May 21, 1992.
Rehearing Denied June 25, 1992.

Page 277

[149 Ill.2d 41] [171 Ill.Dec. 425] Charles M. Schiedel, Deputy Defender, and John J. Hanlon, Asst. Defender Office of the State Appellate Defender, Springfield, for appellant.

Page 278

[171 Ill.Dec. 426] Roland W. Burris, Atty. Gen., Springfield (Rosalyn B. Kaplan, Solicitor Gen., and Terence M. Madsen, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, of counsel, and Michael M. Glick, law student), for the People.

Justice CUNNINGHAM delivered the opinion of the court:

In 1983, following a jury trial in the circuit court of Coles County, Patrick Wright was found guilty of home invasion (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 12-11), residential burglary (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 19-3), armed robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a)), attempted rape (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)), attempted murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)) and murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1981, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3)). Defendant waived the jury for purposes of sentencing and the court found him eligible for the death penalty (Ill.Rev.Stat.1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b)(6)), as defendant was older than 18 years of age and had committed the murder during the commission of another felony. After weighing aggravating and mitigating factors, the court sentenced defendant to [149 Ill.2d 42] death on the murder conviction and imposed 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. We affirmed both the finding of guilt and the sentence. People v. Wright (1985), 111 Ill.2d 128, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640.

The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari (Wright v. Illinois (1987), 479 U.S. 1101, 107 S.Ct. 1327, 94 L.Ed.2d 179) and a petition for rehearing was subsequently denied (Wright v. Illinois (1987), 481 U.S. 1024, 107 S.Ct. 1914, 95 L.Ed.2d 519).

The defendant then sought post-conviction relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 38, par. 122-1 et seq.). The circuit court of Coles County denied all post-conviction relief. The post-conviction proceedings were appealed directly to this court, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 651(a) (134 Ill.2d R. 651(a)).

The defendant raises several issues in this post-conviction appeal, contesting not only the constitutional propriety of the original trial proceedings, but alleging also that the post-conviction proceedings were constitutionally deficient. Specifically, defendant's petition raises the following issues: (1) whether defendant was denied his sixth amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel in the original proceedings where counsel failed to obtain additional mental health records of defendant; (2) whether the post-conviction court's denial of defendant's motion seeking funds to appoint an additional psychiatric expert was an abuse of the trial court's discretion and amounted to a violation of defendant's due process and equal protection rights; (3) whether post-conviction counsel's failure to supplement defendant's pro se contentions with affidavits or other documentation violated Supreme Court Rule 651(c); and (4) whether defendant was denied a fair sentencing hearing where [149 Ill.2d 43] the sentencing judge enumerated "residential burglary" as an aggravating factor justifying imposition of the death penalty. We conclude that none of these issues is meritorious and accordingly deny post-conviction relief.


In 1983, after a jury trial, defendant was convicted of home invasion, residential burglary, armed robbery, attempted rape, attempted murder and murder. The facts concerning these crimes are set forth in detail in this court's earlier opinion (People v. Wright (1985), 111 Ill.2d 128, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640), and only a brief review is now necessary. Further facts pertinent to the resolution of the issues raised will be addressed where necessary throughout the discussion.

On the evening of June 6, 1983, defendant entered the apartment of Carol Specht, carrying a flashlight and a fillet knife. At that time, Specht was asleep on the living room sofa. When she awoke, defendant attempted to rape her but failed. Defendant then bound Specht and searched

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[171 Ill.Dec. 427] the apartment, eventually finding Specht's daughter, Connie. At that point, defendant tried to rape Connie but, again, failed in his attempts. Becoming frustrated, defendant slashed Connie's throat three times and then stabbed Carol Specht several times. Carol Specht died from the wounds inflicted by defendant. Defendant left the apartment, taking with him some personal property of his victims.

Defendant was soon apprehended by the police. Because of defendant's indigent status, the court appointed Brian Silverman, the public defender of Champaign County, to represent the defendant. Silverman was assisted by James Dedman.

Defendant apparently suffered from a "shoe fetish" and had been hospitalized for 15 years in state mental institutions for treatment because of this disorder. [149 Ill.2d 44] Defendant's theory at trial was that this shoe fetish rendered him insane at the time he committed the crime.

Because defendant's mental state was at issue, the court authorized funds for the appointment of two psychiatrists to examine the defendant and to render an opinion as to his sanity at the time of the offense. One psychiatrist was to be chosen by the State and one by the defense.

In rebuttal at trial, the State introduced the testimony of Dr. William Fowler, a psychiatrist. Dr. Fowler indicated that he did not believe that defendant had been suffering from any mental illness at the time of the crimes. Rather, Dr. Fowler characterized defendant's condition as a personality or psychosexual disorder. The defense did not call its psychiatric expert at trial.

Rejecting defendant's insanity defense, the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts as charged. Upon the advice of counsel, defendant elected to waive the jury for the sentencing phase of the trial.

At the sentencing hearing, defendant introduced the testimony of Dr. Arthur Traugott, a psychiatrist, in order to establish the existence of mitigating factors. Although Dr. Traugott determined that defendant was suffering from mental illness on the evening in which the crimes were committed, Dr. Traugott also felt that defendant understood what conduct was wrong and how to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. No further mitigating evidence was produced. Defendant was sentenced to death.


The first issue the defendant raises is whether he was denied his sixth amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. Defendant alleges that his trial counsel's failure to discover "over a thousand" pages of medical records in the possession of the Illinois Department of [149 Ill.2d 45] Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (Department) and the Social Security Administration resulted in great harm to him. Defendant's claims are varied. Among other things, he claims that the failure to use these records in mitigation deprived him of his eighth amendment and fourteenth amendment rights and the absence of these records denied him a fair trial and sentencing hearing, as they could have been used to more effectively cross-examine Dr. Fowler and would have supplied significant evidence of his troubled youth. As we explain below, however, defendant's allegations lack merit.

Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are analyzed using rules set forth in the Supreme Court's decision in Strickland v. Washington (1984), 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674, adopted by this court in People v. Albanese (1984), 104 Ill.2d 504, 85 Ill.Dec. 441, 473 N.E.2d 1246.

As Strickland noted, "The benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel's conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result." (Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686, 104 S.Ct. at 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d at 692-93.) In order to determine whether counsel's conduct amounted to such a violation, Strickland established a two-pronged test by which all claims that defendant was denied the fair and effective assistance of counsel are subjected

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[171 Ill.Dec. 428] to rigorous scrutiny. This test is succinctly stated as follows:

"A convicted defendant's claim that counsel's assistance was so defective as to require reversal of a conviction or death sentence has two components. First, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the 'counsel' guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment. [149 Ill.2d 46] Second, the defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. This requires showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable. Unless a defendant makes both showings, it cannot be said that the conviction or death sentence resulted from a breakdown in the adversary process that renders the result unreliable." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687, 104 S.Ct. at 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d at 693.

We must therefore analyze defendant's claim that counsel at trial denied him the effective assistance of counsel by implementing this two-part test. (See, e.g., People v. Albanese (1984), 104 Ill.2d 504, 85 Ill.Dec. 441, 473 N.E.2d 1246.) Per Strickland, should defendant be unable to establish either prong of this test, his claim shall fail. We are also mindful that defendant must overcome a strong presumption that counsel's performance at trial and sentencing fell within a...

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