People v. Crews

122 Ill. 2d 266, 119 Ill. Dec. 308, 522 N.E.2d 1167 (1988)

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People v. Crews

Illinois Supreme Court
122 Ill. 2d 266, 119 Ill. Dec. 308, 522 N.E.2d 1167 (1988)

Facts

William Crews (defendant) was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of one Illinois state prison correctional officer and to 30 years in prison for the attempted murder of another. The conviction followed Crews’s attack on the officers while serving a 20 to 60-year prison term at one of the state’s correctional facilities for an earlier murder conviction. Crews initially pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the officer attacks but eventually changed his plea to guilty but mentally ill (GBMI). Illinois law allowed offenders who were not insane but who had substantial disorders of thought, mood, or behavior that impacted their judgment when they committed their crimes to receive treatment along with their punishments. An Illinois-county trial judge accepted Crews’s GBMI plea and ordered a statutorily required psychological evaluation of Crews. After Crews’s evaluation and based on several psychological reports, one indicating an opinion that Crews was feigning mental illness, the trial judge sentenced Crews to death for the murder conviction. The sentence was based on the judge’s finding that Crews’s significant history of violent criminal conduct, including over 70 incidents beyond the attack on the two officers that resulted in discipline while Crews was incarcerated, supported the belief that Crews was not acting under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance sufficient to preclude the imposition of the death penalty. Crews sought review of his death sentence by the state’s highest court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Miller, J.)

Dissent (Simon, J.)

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