September 27, 2007
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Cook County.
v. ) No. 03 CR 22601
TERRANCE GILBERT, ) Honorable
) Evelyn B. Clay,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Terrance Gilbert, appeals his conviction for burglary and his eight-year
sentence of imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred by failing
to question prospective jurors about their understanding of the presumption of innocence, the
prosecution's burden of proof, and defendant's right not to testify or call any witnesses; and (2)
the trial court erred by failing to order a fitness hearing. We reverse and remand for a new trial.
Defendant was charged with burglary. At the outset of voir dire, the trial court informed
the prospective jurors, en masse, that defendant was presumed innocent of the charges, that it was
the State's burden to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that defendant had no
obligation to testify or call any witnesses. The trial court did not otherwise question the
prospective jurors, either individually or in a group, as to whether they understood and accepted
those principles. Defense counsel questioned one potential juror about whether she understood
that the burden of proof was different in a civil case than in a criminal case, and asked another
potential juror whether she knew that the burden on the State is beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defense counsel otherwise did not question the prospective jurors about the presumption of