Wednesday, February 27, 2013

People v. Unger case brief

People v. Unger case brief summary
362 N.E.2d 319

SYNOPSIS: The State appealed the judgment of the Appellate Court for the Third District (Illinois), which reversed defendant's conviction for escape, holding that the trial court committed reversible error in instructing the jury that it had to disregard the reasons given for defendant's escape.

-Defendant was charged with escape.
-At trial, defendant testified that he had been threatened by a fellow inmate.
-The inmate brandished a knife in an attempt to force defendant to engage in homosexual activities. -Defendant was subsequently transferred to an honor farm and was assaulted and sexually molested by three inmates.
-Five days after the assault, defendant was threatened because it was believed that defendant reported the assault to authorities.
-Defendant claimed he left the honor farm to save his life and planned to return once he found someone that could help him.
-The trial court instructed the jury to disregard defendant's reasons for escape and refused to instruct the jury on the statutory defenses of compulsion and necessity.
-Defendant was convicted, and he appealed.
-The appellate court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial, holding that the instruction was reversible error.
-The State appealed.

The court held that defendant was entitled to submit his defense of necessity to the jury. The appellate court's judgment was affirmed.

-The defense of necessity is available to prison escape situations where the prisoner is choosing to break the law to avoid a greater evil.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the appellate court's judgment reversing defendant's conviction for escape and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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