Supreme Court Summaries


Opinions filed April 18, 2013


 

 

People v. Lloyd, 2013 IL 113510

Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (4th) 100094.

 

      JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Justices Freeman, Garman, and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.

      Justice Thomas specially concurred, with opinion, joined by Chief Justice Kilbride and Justice Karmeier.

 

      This sex offense case comes from Bloomington, in McLean County. The events involved here occurred between September of 2008 and January of 2009, when this defendant was 42 years old and the young girl who was the alleged victim was 13. The defendant had been acquainted with the victim for most of her life.

      The prescribed age of consent in Illinois is generally 17, and the legislature has established a number of age-based sex offenses as to which the willingness of the minor to engage in sexual conduct, or even solicit the act, is irrelevant and, thus, is no defense.

      However, the State did not charge the defendant under any such statute. It chose to charge him under a 2008 provision giving one of the definitions of criminal sexual assault as an act of sexual penetration when the accused knows that the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent. The defendant claimed that these two elements had not been proved at trial, although he did not dispute that penetration had occurred. The State argued that it had proved enough by showing that this middle-aged defendant knew that the girl was 13 years old, but the supreme court, in this decision, did not agree. The court said that the prosecution’s approach is not consistent with the statutory scheme for sex offenses established by the legislature, as indicated by the fact that, historically, the provision in question has only been used concerning victims who were mentally disabled, highly intoxicated, unconscious or asleep.

      A jury had convicted the defendant of seven counts under the contested provision. In this decision, the supreme court reversed all seven convictions and vacated the sentences. The supreme court stressed “the importance of the State carefully considering the offenses that it chooses to charge and prosecute.”