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Illinois (2010/2017)


People v. Medley, 2019 IL App (1st) 170252-U, ¶ 7, Unpublished

On cross-examination, Dr. Cunliffe explained the difference between manual strangulation and ligature strangulation. Manual strangulation involves the use of hands, while “ligature” strangulation occurs when a person is strangled with clothing or some other article. Dr. Cunliffe testified she could not determine whether Adams was manually strangled or strangled with some sort of ligature. Dr. Cunliffe stated that she was given a v-neck shirt that Adams was wearing and that the injuries to Adams’s neck are consistent with someone pulling the back of a v-neck shirt. She said that there are anecdotal reports of people dying from strangulation in a matter of seconds, but there are no studies to pinpoint how long it takes to strangle someone to death. Dr. Cunliffe testified that, if someone pulled hard enough on Adams’s v-neck shirt, it could cause strangulation. Dr. Cunliffe further testified that Adams’s neck cartilage and hyoid bone were intact, but explained that an intact hyoid bone does not necessarily mean Adams did not die of strangulation because the hyoid bone can remain flexible and certain methods of strangulation do not result in a broken hyoid bone. Dr. Cunliffe did not find any evidence that Adams had been held by her hair or that her hair had been pulled back and forth.

People v. Powell, 2017, 150705-Unpublished

The defendant choked his mother until she lost consciousness. Witnesses were present.

The victim felt weak and out of breath. She had chest pains, pain in the arm, and thought she was having a heart attack.

Paramedics were called. The victim was transported for medical attention. She was traumatized and confused and couldn’t remember everything.  Her memory started to come back as time elapsed.

The victim and a witness testified he choked her and they had to pull him off.

They were impeached by earlier statements because they failed to tell 911 (grandson) and patrol officer that she was choked.

The court believed them despite the gaps. Evidence supported that the defendant choked the victim, she had difficulty breathing, and she passed out.

The Penal Code does not require the victim to sustain an injury or seek medical treatment.

6 year sentence was not excessive.

People v. Johnson, 2017, 141202-Unpublished

The defendant picked up the victim. She agreed to have sex for $20. Once he got her to the house, he beat her and repeatedly strangled her, manually and with a ligature. He eventually dragged her out of the house naked and dumped her in the alley.

Her credibility was at issue on appeal.

The victim got up and tried to get help. A neighbor brought her in, called 911, and wrapped her in a sheet. An officer called paramedics. The paramedics transported her to the ER, where a forensic nurse and physician examined her.

She had first and second degree burns on her back, a collapsed lung, a lacerated liver, breathing tube, bruising, swelling, ligature mark, fracture to sinus bone and blood in the brain – life threatening injuries. No VI to vaginal and anus.

Another prostitute testified he did the same thing.

His DNA was tied to 4 murders from 2008-2010.

He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 40 years.

The trial judge found the victim credible even with the gaps in memory and her history. But the defense attorney got to cross-examine her. She suffered tremendous injuries and trauma.  Trauma makes sense. Injuries corroborated her story.  The defendant downplayed everything and denied ”choking” her, but her injuries were consistent with strangulation.

 

People v. Brown, 2016, 140577-Unpublished

The defendant approached the victim. The victim agreed to provide oral sex for $20. The victim got into his car. They parked. After he paid her, he attacked her and tied a cord around her throat. She could not breathe. She tried to get out. The next thing she knew, she was in the ER with an intubation tube in her throat, three skull fractures, and a broken jaw.

The victim testified that she didn’t take anything from him & that there was no argument. He just strangled her. She didn’t fight back.

There was a police officer in the area. The defendant approached him, saying he locked his keys in the car. As he walked over to the car, he saw blood and legs sticking out from under the car, with a cord still wrapped around her neck. The defendant fled. The victim was still alive. She was transported to the ER. Paramedics described the victim struggling to breathe, gasping, and gurgling.

ER Doc described her injuries as life-threatening. There were photos of the victim, including red line under her neck.

The defendant was apprehended and confessed. The victim later identified the defendant in a line-up.

At trial, the defendant claimed that he refused to pay and argument/fight started, claiming it was self-defense. As she tried to choke him, he strangled her with a cord.

The defendant was found guilty by a jury verdict for aggravated battery by strangulation and using a dangerous weapon.  The defendant was sentenced to 12 years and 2 years for based on dangerous instrument.

The audio cord cable was found to be a dangerous instrument.

People of the state of Illinois v. Bobby Ford, IL APP. (3d) (2015)

In People v. Ford, consent was no defense to 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(5) (2012) aggravated battery or 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a) (2012) battery because (1) the legislature enacted no such defense to the crimes, and (2) the societal interest in deterring individuals from knowingly participating in an underlying choking game justified overriding an individual’s right to consent.

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Ricks v. Commonwealth (2015)

Evidence that the Defendant held the Victim’s neck for a matter of 4 seconds and she could not breathe was sufficient to show her airway was impeded.  The subsequent bruise on her neck and the inability to speak the next day constituted bodily injury.  Bodily injury within the context of strangulation includes 1) an act of damage or harm or hurt that relates to the body; 2) an impairment of a function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty; or 3) an act of impairment of a physical condition.

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People v. Lane, 2015, 130520-Unpublished

The victim reported being choked three times – once to the officer; then in an affidavit to arrest and ultimately in a letter to drop charges … because there was no bruising. The victim recanted in court. The defendant offered no evidence.

Officer testified. The officer took statements from the victim, roommate, and friend.

The defendant was convicted of aggravated battery and DV by bench trial and sentenced to 6 years. There was an appeal on sufficiency.

The victim recanted at trial. She admitted that they had a relationship, but she testified that he never choked her. She lied to the officer.

Officer asked the victim – Did he strangle or choke you at any point? No. Then, the victim later said he choked me.

The victim was impeached with statement to the officer that he choked her, written statement of what happened at the time of the incident and a prior written request wanting to drop charges.

The defendant argued insufficiency because the victim recanted. She said “choked,” not “strangle” per the statute.

It was okay for the court to infer choke means strangle and okay to rely on the victim’s initial statement to the officer as being more credible than her testimony in court.

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