People v. Grant, 2017 IL App (1st) 142956 (February). Episode 313 (Duration 3:49)
Defendant shot himself in an empty apartment, reckless discharge?
Defendant shot himself in the hand.
He told the cops it happened when he was trying to clear it.
The gun belongs to his sister’s boyfriend who also lived there.
“A person commits reckless discharge of a firearm by discharging a firearm in a reckless manner which endangers the bodily safety of an individual.” 720 ILCS 5/24-1.5(a).
Defendant conceded the issue that he acted reckless in discharging the gun.
He took issue with the second prong, that the State failed to satisfy the second element because there is no evidence that his reckless conduct endangered the bodily safety of “an individual.”
More specifically, he maintains that the term “an individual,” as used in the statute, refers to another person or others and that, bodily injury to himself does not satisfy the second element of the offense.
Thus, the defendant asserts that the evidence presented at trial did not demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that his reckless conduct endangered “an individual” since the State presented no evidence that another person or others were in the vicinity of the discharge.
When it comes to reckless conduct the case law is clear that the General Assembly did not intend to punish, through the vehicle of the reckless conduct statute, behavior that only harms the person who is reckless.
It is much more likely or reasonable, as the defendant surmises, that the legislature decided that the injury the reckless conduct inflicts on the person who acts in a reckless manner is sufficient punishment and that it was unwise or unnecessary to subject that person to an additional, criminal penalty.
The State’s broad reading of the statute, on the other hand, has the potential to lead to absurdity, and is inconsistent with the language of the statute itself, the intent of the legislature in enacting the law, and Illinois case authority.
Here too, the defendant’s interpretation offers a reasonable and just result in which a defendant may only be found guilty of reckless discharge of a firearm where he endangers the bodily safety of another person or others.
The court held that our legislature intended the term “an individual” to mean someone other than the “person” who is charged with the offense of reckless discharge of a firearm.
In this case, there was no one else in the apartment at the time nor is there any evidence any other person was in the building. There is no evidence that another person or others were in the vicinity of the discharge.
The conviction for reckless discharge was reversed.
Episodes 215 – People v. Olivieri, 2016 IL App (1st) 152137 (August) (Sympathetic Nervous System Reaction Wins The Day In This Gun Case)