People v. MooreAnnotate this Case
March 29, 2011
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
Appeal from the
Circuit Court of
No. 07 CR 24289
John T. Doody, Jr.,
JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Cunningham concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Karnezis dissented, with opinion.
Defendant, Roger Moore, was found guilty by a jury of delivery of a controlled substance
and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. 720 ILCS 570/401(d)(I) (West 2008). Defendant
urges this court to consider whether statements he made to the trial court before his trial
commenced, in which he indicated that he had not taken his medication on the day of trial or two
days prior to trial, raised a bona fide doubt regarding his fitness to stand trial.1 We find that the
court psychiatrist’s testimony was uncontradicted that defendant needed to be on medications to
be fit for trial. The defendant’s not being on medication immediately before and during trial raised
a bona fide doubt as to his fitness to stand trial. The trial court erred when it did not sua sponte
order a fitness hearing. We remand with directions to the trial court to conduct a retrospective
Defendant raised several issues on appeal. However, due to our disposition of the issue
of his fitness to stand trial, we need not consider his other arguments at this time.
fitness hearing to determine the defendant’s competency at the time of trial.
The circuit court sentenced defendant on March 3, 2009. The following day, defendant
timely filed his notice of appeal. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to article VI,
section 6, of the Illinois Constitution and Illinois Supreme Court Rules 603 and 606, governing
appeals from a final judgment of conviction in a criminal case entered below. Ill. Const. 1970, art.
VI, §6; Ill S. Ct. R. 603 (eff. Oct. 1, 2010); R. 606 (eff. Mar. 20, 2009).
Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of delivery of a controlled substance and
sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. 720 ILCS 570/401(d)(I) (West 2008). Prior to trial, the
trial court conducted a fitness hearing on August 7, 2008. At the fitness hearing, Dr. Dawna
Gutzmann, a psychiatrist with the Forensic Clinical Services for the circuit court of Cook County,
testified as to defendant’s fitness to stand trial. Dr. Gutzmann diagnosed defendant with
depressive disorder not otherwise specified, and alcohol, cocaine, and heroin dependence. Dr.
Gutzmann testified she had the impression that defendant was “malingering,” which she explained
is “the intentional feigning or exaggerating of symptoms of physical or mental illness for
secondary gain.” Dr. Gutzmann testified that defendant reported to her that he was experiencing
auditory hallucinations and that he heard voices, but that he could not understand what the voices
were saying. Defendant was prescribed 150 milligrams of Zoloft to be taken each morning and
100 milligrams of doxepin at bedtime. Both medications are for treating depression. On direct
examination, when asked whether defendant’s prescribed medications “impact his ability to
cooperate or assist in his defense with counsel,” Dr. Gutzmann responded, “ [i]n my opinion, he
needs those medications in order to be fit for trial.” On cross-examination, Dr. Gutzmann added,
“[i]t’s my opinion that if he was not taking the medication, that he would - - there is a substantial
probability that he would become unfit to stand trial.” On re-cross-examination, Dr. Gutzmann
was asked whether she “found Mr. Moore fit to stand trial under the assumption that he would
continue to be medicated up until and through the trial time.” Dr. Gutzmann responded, “Yes.”
The trial court found defendant fit to stand trial with medication.
Prior to selecting the jury, defendant’s attorney renewed the issue of defendant’s fitness to
stand trial, arguing that there was no evidence that defendant was on any medication when the
crime occurred. The State asked the court to inquire whether defendant had taken his medication,
which the trial court did. The following exchange took place between the court and defendant:
“THE COURT: When did you take [the medications] last?
DEFENDANT: Yesterday. I didn’t get none this morning.
They didn’t call me out.
THE COURT: And when do you take them; everyday?
DEFENDANT: I take it twice a day.
THE COURT: Okay, if Counsel could double check on
that. I’m not sure what, if any, affect it would have if he hasn’t yet
had his today’s dosage.
But you did have it yesterday?
DEFENDANT: I had last night’s dose but not this morning.
I get it in the morning and at night.
THE COURT: And when prior to yesterday, when was the
last time you got it?
DEFENDANT: That morning. The morning – yesterday
morning and then last night before we laid down and went to sleep.
THE COURT: Oh, you got it again last night.
DEFENDANT: But I didn’t get it this morning.
MS. FRANSENE [assistant public defender]: He gets it two
times a day.
DEFENDANT: I get it twice a day.
THE COURT: Okay. And have you been getting it– other
than today so far, have you been getting it everyday?
DEFENDANT: Well, no, not really. A couple of times –
because they had just moved from division eight over to two. So
everything is just kind of messed up.
THE COURT: But you had it two times yesterday. What
about the day before?
DEFENDANT: No, I didn’t get it.
THE COURT: If counsel wants to make an inquiry while
we’re on break and revisit it if it’s really an issue, it doesn’t appear
to be an issue, but – the fact that he hasn’t taken it yet today, but
I’ll certainly hear you out if that’s the case.”
Defense counsel did not object to defendant’s fitness based on his failing to receive his
medications until after trial.
After the two-day trial was completed, defense counsel filed a supplemental motion for
new trial or judgment of acquittal arguing defendant was denied due process because he was tried
while he may not have received his medications and, thus, was unfit to stand trial. Defense
counsel informed the court that she could only obtain records that showed what medications
defendant was taking and how often he was prescribed those medications, not whether defendant
actually took the medications. The trial court denied defendant’s motion, reasoning:
“Defense counsel made an unsuccessful effort to find out
exactly when he had medicine, when he may not have had medicine.
He was not able to ascertain that.
The court was satisfied both with the demeanor of the
defendant and the fact he himself stated he had had his medicines as
of a prior date.”
Defendant argues that there was a bona fide doubt as to whether he was fit to stand trial
based on his indication to the trial court that he had not taken his medications regularly before the
trial began. However, defendant did not properly preserve this issue for appeal. Although
defendant did object in a posttrial motion to his fitness to stand trial due to his failure to receive
his medications, defendant did not make the objection at trial. See People v. Enoch, 122 Ill. 2d
176, 186-87 (1988) (a party must object both at trial and in a posttrial motion to properly
preserve an issue for appeal). Defense counsel did object before trial to defendant’s fitness, but
the objection was based on the defendant not being on any medication when the crime occurred.
Defense counsel did not object, on the basis that defendant failed to receive his medication before
trial, until after the trial was completed, even though the trial judge prompted defense counsel to
inquire further into the matter. Defendant urges this court to consider his argument on the merits,
despite having been forfeited due to a procedural default.
We may address defendant’s appeal of his forfeited issue on the merits only if the
defendant sustains his burden of persuasion on either of the two prongs of the “plain error”
doctrine. The plain error doctrine allows this court to review a forfeited claim of error that affects
a substantial right in two instances: “where the evidence in a case is so closely balanced that the
jury’s guilty verdict may have resulted from the error and not the evidence” or “where the error is
so serious that the defendant was denied a substantial right, and thus a fair trial.” People v.
Herron, 215 Ill. 2d 167, 178-79 (2005); see also Ill. S. Ct. R. 615(a) (“Any error, defect,
irregularity, or variance which does not affect substantial rights shall be disregarded. Plain errors
or defects affecting substantial rights may be noticed although they were not brought to the
attention of the trial court.”) Under either prong, the defendant bears the burden of persuasion.
Herron, 215 Ill. 2d at 187. Prejudice must be proven under the first prong of plain error review.
Id. Under the second prong of plain error analysis, prejudice is presumed, but “the defendant
must prove there was plain error and that the error was so serious that it affected the fairness of
the defendant’s trial and challenged the integrity of the judicial process.” Id. A defendant’s
fitness for trial is a fundamental right. People v. Sandham, 174 Ill. 2d 379, 382 (1996)
(“prosecuting a defendant where there is a bona fide doubt as to defendant’s fitness renders the
proceeding fundamentally unfair”). Accordingly, we will review defendant’s argument regarding
his fitness to stand trial on the merits under the second prong of the plain error doctrine.
A defendant is entitled to a fitness hearing when there is a bona fide doubt as to his fitness
to stand trial because it is a violation of the defendant’s due process rights to convict him if he
was not fit for trial. People v. McCallister, 193 Ill. 2d 63,110 (2000). The inquiry into whether a
bona fide doubt exists focuses on whether a defendant is able to assist in his defense and whether
he can understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings. Id. Defendant has the burden “of
proving that, at the time of trial, there were facts in existence which raised a real, substantial and
legitimate doubt as to his mental capacity to meaningfully participate in his defense and cooperate
with counsel. The test is an objective one.” People v. Eddmonds, 143 Ill. 2d 501, 518 (1991).
When facts regarding a defendant’s fitness are brought to the trial judge’s attention, it is the duty
of the trial judge to sua sponte order a fitness hearing. McCallister, 193 Ill. 2d at 110-11; see
also 725 ILCS 5/104-11(a) (West 2008) (“When a bona fide doubt of the defendant’s fitness is
raised, the court shall order a determination of the issue before proceeding further.”). “Once the
fitness question is raised, the burden falls on the State to establish a defendant’s fitness by a
preponderance of the evidence.” People v. Griffin, 178 Ill. 2d 65, 79 (1997); see also 725 ILCS
5/104-11(c) (West 2008) (“When a bona fide doubt of the defendant’s fitness has been raised, the
burden of proving that the defendant is fit by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden of
going forward with the evidence are on the State.”).
Factors that may be considered in determining whether a bona fide doubt as to a
defendant’s fitness exists include, “a defendant’s irrational behavior, demeanor at trial, any prior
medical opinion on the defendant’s competence, and any representations by defense counsel on
the defendant’s competence.” People v. Brown, 236 Ill. 2d 175, 186-87 (2010). Further, “[n]o
fixed or immutable sign, however, invariably indicates the need for further inquiry on a
defendant’s fitness. [Citation]. Rather, the question is often a difficult one implicating a wide
range of manifestations and subtle nuances.” Id. at 187. Whether a bona fide doubt as to a
defendant’s fitness exists “depends on the facts of each case.” People v. Murphy, 72 Ill. 2d 421,
435 (1978). A defendant on medication prescribed to maintain fitness may be tried. People v.
Jackson, 57 Ill. App. 3d 809, 813 (1978). The determination of whether a bona fide doubt exists
regarding a defendant’s fitness is typically a matter within the discretion of the trial court.
Sandham, 174 Ill. 2d at 382.
The instant case is factually similar to this court’s decision in People v. Jackson, in which
we held that there was a bona fide doubt as to a defendant’s fitness where the defendant had not
received the medication prescribed to him to maintain his fitness. Jackson, 57 Ill. App. 3d at 814.
The defendant in Jackson had two fitness hearings. Id. at 811. At the first fitness hearing, the
psychiatrist testified that defendant understood the proceedings, but was unfit because he could
not cooperate in his defense. Id. Six months later, at the second fitness hearing, the same
psychiatrist testified that defendant would be fit for trial with medications. Id. The defendant was
subsequently found fit to stand trial. Id. However, before defendant was to be sentenced, the
trial court ordered a fitness examination with the results to be submitted at the sentencing hearing.
Id. at 814. At the sentencing hearing, the court proceeded to sentence the defendant even though
it was informed before the hearing that defendant was never given the ordered fitness examination
and that prior to the fitness hearing, the defendant was not given his medications. Id. This court
“Because the court’s finding of fitness prior to trial was based upon
medical testimony that defendant was able to cooperate with his
counsel only while being maintained with the prescribed medication
and that at the time of sentencing he had not received his
medication, we believe that a bona fide doubt was raised as to his
fitness. Our opinion is buttressed by the fact that the court
indicated concern in this regard when it ordered the presentence
fitness examination.” Id.
In this case, at defendant’s fitness hearing, the uncontradicted testimony of Dr. Gutzmann
was that defendant “needs those medications in order to be fit for trial,” and that “if he was not
taking the medication *** there is a substantial probability that he would become unfit to stand
trial.” Dr. Gutzmann also answered “Yes” when asked whether she found defendant “fit to stand
trial under the assumption that he would continue to be medicated up until and through the trial
time.” The opinion of a medical expert is a factor to consider when determining whether there is
a bona fide doubt to a defendant’s fitness. Brown, 236 Ill. 2d at 186-87. Furthermore, the trial
court found defendant to be fit to stand trial with medication. Dr. Gutzmann diagnosed the
defendant with a depressive disorder, and alcohol, cocaine, and heroin dependence. Up to the time
of trial the defendant was on a substantial daily regime of two antidepressants, 150 milligrams of
Zoloft and 100 milligrams of doxepin. During the trial the defendant told the court that he had not
been given his medication because he was moved from division eight over to two and “everything
is just kind of messed up.” In order to be fit for trial, the defendant had to be on his medication.
The fact that defendant had not been given his medication raised a bona fide doubt as to
defendant’s fitness. Jackson, 57 Ill. App. 3d at 814. The fact that this chemically dependent
defendant was made to suddenly and totally go off his medication just prior to selecting the jury
further raises a bona fide doubt as to defendant’s fitness. The trial judge placed the burden on
defense counsel to inquire into the matter, which defense counsel never did. That is not relevant
as it was the duty of the trial court to sua sponte order a fitness hearing when a bona fide doubt
as to defendant’s fitness arises. McCallister, 193 Ill. 2d at 110-11 (“a judge has a duty to order a
fitness hearing sua sponte once facts are brought to the judge’s attention that raise a bona fide
doubt of the accused’s fitness to stand trial or be sentenced ”).
Based on Dr. Gutzmann’s testimony that defendant was only fit for trial with medication,
that “there is a substantial probability that he would become unfit to stand trial” without the
medication, and that he should continue the medication up to and throughout the trial, defendant’s
failure to receive his medication raised a bona fide doubt as to his fitness to stand trial. On this
information, the trial court erred in not sua sponte ordering another fitness hearing where the
State would have to prove defendant fit for trial. See Griffin, 178 Ill. 2d at 79 ( “Once the fitness
question is raised, the burden falls on the State to establish a defendant’s fitness by a
preponderance of the evidence.”). Without the fitness hearing, it cannot be said what effect
defendant’s failure to receive his medication had on his fitness for trial. Accordingly, we remand,
directing the trial court to hold a retrospective fitness hearing to determine what effect, if any,
defendant’s failure to regularly receive his medication had on his fitness to stand trial. See People
v. Mitchell, 189 Ill. 2d 312, 339 (2000) (“retrospective fitness hearings are now the norm”).
For the foregoing reasons we retain jurisdiction pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule
615(b)(2) and remand this cause for a retrospective fitness hearing. Ill. S. Ct. R. 615(b)(2). After
holding the hearing, the trial court shall deliver to the clerk of this court, within 120 days of this
decision, a report of the trial court’s findings and a record of the proceedings on remand.
Cause remanded with directions. Jurisdiction retained.
JUSTICE KARNEZIS respectfully dissents:
I respectfully dissent from the majority view that concludes the trial court should have sua
sponte ordered a fitness hearing based on defendant's failure to regularly receive his medication. I
believe that the specific facts of this case are not sufficient to establish a bona fide doubt as to
Does the fact that defendant, who had been found fit with medication and did not receive
his medication two days before trial and again on the day of trial, standing alone, raise a bona fide
doubt as to defendant's fitness to stand trial? Or, does a judge abuse his discretion where he fails,
sua sponte, to order a fitness hearing based on the above factual situation?
The majority answers the question in the affirmative and remands this case for a
retrospective fitness hearing. I respectfully dissent and suggest that the specific facts of this case
are not sufficient to establish a bona fide doubt as to defendant's fitness and the trial court did not
abuse his discretion where he failed to sua sponte order a fitness hearing. The fact that defendant
did not receive a portion of his medication on the morning of trial and any of his medication two
days prior, standing alone, does not raise a bona fide doubt as to defendant's fitness. I, therefore,
REPORTER OF DECISIONS - ILLINOIS APPELLATE COURT
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
Appellate Court of Illinois
First District, Second Division
March 29, 2011
JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the opinion to the court.
Presiding Justice Cunningham concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Karnezis dissented, with opinion.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The Honorable John T. Doody, Jr., Judge Presiding.
Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender,
203 North LaSalle Street 24th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601, (Patricia Unsinn,
Alan D. Goldberg and Todd T. McHenry, of counsel), for APPELLANT.
Anita Alvarez, State’s Attorney, County of Cook, Room 309 Richard J. Daley Center,
Chicago, IL 60602, (Alan J. Spellberg, Ashley A. Romito, Jon Walters and
Robert Schwarz, of counsel), for APPELLEE.