People v. Gray, 2016 IL App (1st) 134012 (May). Episode 190 (Duration 6:58)
The definition of “household member” was unconstitutionally applied to this defendant (dating relationship had ended 15 years earlier) this in turn allowed the State to improperly get into other crimes evidence.
Defendant and the victim had dated 15 years ago.
A chance encounter found them drinking together. One thing led to another and he was left with a bite mark on his chest and she had a stab wound on her back.
Defendant was convicted of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery (acquitted of attempted murder).
Other Crimes Evidence
The State was allowed to get into a prior incident with his current girlfriend where she complained that he punched her and pushed her down some stairs. Section 112A-3(3) of the Code states that family or household members “include persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship. Section 112A-3(3) requires a dating relationship to have a romantic focus. See 725 ILCS 5/115-7.4.
Interestingly, the court has said that where both the defendant and the victim testified they were not in a dating relationship, the State failed to prove they had a dating relationship within the meaning of 112A-3(3), notwithstanding that they had shared approximately 15 sexual encounters.
In this tender age of hook-ups and one-night stands, adults both young and old can readily recognize that sexual intercourse does not itself always relate to a dating relationship or any form of serious romantic attachment.
In addition, no other facts in this case would support a determination that defendant and victim were presently involved in a dating relationship.
Specifically, even the victim testified that she and defendant were just friends and that their dating relationship had ended more than 15 years prior.
The reviewing court agreed with the defendant.
Holding & Rationale
Treating the victim in this case as his family or household member is not reasonably related to a public interest and that, as applied to them, section 112A-3(3) is unconstitutional. The statue's lack of a timeframe for prior dating relationships undermines the legislature's decision to exclude casual acquaintances and ordinary fraternization from the definition of dating relationships, and in turn, family or household members.
“There must be a certain point when a past dating relationship or prior cohabitation becomes a casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization,” the plain language of the statute provides otherwise.
Domestic battery conviction was reversed and the case remanded for a new trial on the aggravated battery trial court must evaluate the appropriateness of allowing other crimes evidence.