People v. Collins, 2016 IL App (1st) 143422 (June). Episode 204 (Duration 5:31)
Assuming the codefendant (who was the shooter) was a really bad dude and did threaten the defendant, exactly how imminent does the potential harm have to be?
Compulsion is an affirmative defense whereby a defendant is not guilty of an offense “by reason of conduct that he or she performs under the compulsion of threat or menace of the imminent infliction of death or great bodily harm, if he or she reasonably believes death or great bodily harm will be inflicted upon him or her, if he or she does not perform that conduct.” 720 ILCS 5/7-11(a).
Threat of Death or Great Bodily Harm
To warrant an instruction on compulsion, defendant must present “some evidence” sufficient to raise an issue of fact for the jury and create reasonable doubt as to defendant’s guilt. However, this defense is not available if defendant had an ample opportunity to withdraw from participation in the offense but failed to do so.
For the compulsion defense to apply, the threat of death or great bodily harm must be imminent.
A threat of future injury “is not sufficient to excuse criminal conduct.”
In this robbery of a gas station the clerk gets shot by one of the men involved.
Defendant admitted his job was to go in first to get the attendant to open the glass door. Defendant accomplished this by asking for a cigarette and then not letting the attendant close the door.
Defendant testified that the codefendant, the one with the gun, reached into his hoodie pouch and pulled out a black gun. He told defendant that “all I need you to do is go into the gas station and get him to open up the gas station window” so they could commit the robbery.
The codefendant pointed the gun toward defendant’s chest. Defendant testified he felt threatened.
The judge refused to give the compulsion instruction. Finding that the threat subsided when defendant walked out. He could have gone out–he had two phones. He could have called anybody. But he didn’t.
Simply, the threat of future injury in this case was not sufficient to excuse criminal conduct and that defendant had a number of ample opportunities to withdraw from the criminal enterprise and he failed to take steps in that direction. That is the key.
He failed to withdraw. Defendant was convicted of attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm, but not guilty of attempted first degree murder. The actual robbery and shooting did not occur until around 8:20 p.m., hours after the incident in Allen’s garage.