People v. Hurry, 2012 IL App (3d) 100150 (No. 3-10-0150, 2/1/12)
Illinois law requires proof of two distinct propositions beyond a reasonable
doubt to convict: (1) that a crime occurred, i.e. the corpus delicti; and (2) that the
crime was committed by the person charged. While defendant’s confession may
be integral to proving the corpus delicti, proof of the corpus delicti may not rest
exclusively on the defendant’s extrajudicial statement.
The corpus delicti is not required to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt
by evidence independent of the statement. If there is evidence of corroborating
circumstances tending to prove the corpus delicti and corresponding with the
circumstances related in the statement, both the circumstances and the
statement may be considered in determining whether the corpus delicti is
The independent corroborating evidence, however, must relate to the
specific events on which the prosecution is predicated. Where defendant
confesses to multiple offenses, the corroboration rule requires that there be
independent evidence tending to show that defendant committed each of the
offenses for which he was convicted.
1. Defendant was convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault for placing
his finger in the vagina of a child. Defendant admitted committing that act of
penetration. The child’s testimony that defendant touched her on the outside of
her vagina provided corroborating circumstances that tended to prove
defendant’s statement was accurate because it placed defendant’s fingers
directly on her vagina.
2. Other counts charged defendant with predatory criminal sexual assault
by placing his penis in the mouth of the child. Although defendant admitted
committing this act on multiple occasions, the child’s testimony established only
one instance of such conduct. Therefore, only one conviction based on that
conduct could stand.
3. The child did testify, however, that on two occasions defendant made
her touch his penis with her hand. Based on that evidence, the court reduced
two of defendant’s predatory criminal sexual assault convictions to aggravated
criminal sexual abuse. 720 ILCS 5/12-16.
(Defendant was represented by Assistant Defender Glenn Sroka, Ottawa.)
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