One Act, One Crime Doctrine
When a person is arrested, it is not uncommon for him or her to face multiple charges related to the circumstances. In Illinois, however, a criminal defendant can only be convicted of one crime that corresponds to a particular action, even if that action could constitute more than one offense. This doctrine was upheld again by an Illinois appellate court as it vacated a conviction earlier this month.
The case in question was an appeal filed by a man convicted of robbery and aggravated battery of a senior citizen following an incident which occurred in 2009. According to court records, the man punched the 60-year-old victim in the ribs and stole money from the victim who later died. At trial, prosecutors could not prove the defendant was responsible for the victim’s death, but the defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, and robbery. The court combined the two battery charges into a single conviction for aggravated battery of senior citizen, but the robbery charge remained separate. The defendant was sentenced to consecutive prison terms totaling 18 years.
On appeal, the defendant claimed the conviction on both counts should not stand because they stemmed from the same act. He contended that one punch cannot be the basis for both aggravated battery and the force element required for a robbery conviction. The state argued that the punch and the taking of the of the money constituted two separate acts.
The appellate court found that there was no evidence that the defendant used another act of force to take the money from the victim. There was no evidence of a struggle or that the defendant forcefully took anything from the victim. Thus, the court determined that the defendant should only have been convicted of the more serious offense—aggravated battery of a serious citizen—and vacated the robbery conviction.
Seek Help With Your Case
If you have been arrested on multiple criminal charges stemming from the same act, an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney can help you fully understand your available options. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.’