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Under 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-3 (1996), a person commits involuntary manslaughter when he or she unintentionally kills an individual without lawful justification and his or her acts whether lawful or unlawful which cause the death are such as are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, and he or she performs them recklessly. Recklessness is defined as follows: A person is reckless or acts recklessly, when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or that a result will follow, and such disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/4-6 (1996).
Defendant Donna Kolzow left the baby in a car in the early morning and took a nap. When she awoke, she found the baby lifeless. An autopsy revealed that the baby died of heat stroke. Defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to three years' probation, with the conditions of counseling and six months in custody in the Cook County Department of Corrections. On appeal, defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction. She further contended that the trial court considered matters outside the record in sentencing, and that the sentence was excessive.
On appeal, the court held that the record contained sufficient evidence to support her conviction, given that she left the baby in the car, consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death or great bodily harm to her son. A reasonable person would have been aware of the risks in leaving a three-month-old infant unattended in a car for four hours on a summer day. Defendant presented no evidence that the judge's decision was based on or affected by his references to the mother-child relationship or that any comments he made in that regard held defendant to a higher standard of care. Because the proper sentencing factors in aggravation and mitigation were appropriately considered, any additional comments by the trial judge were inconsequential. The sentence imposed was an appropriate exercise of discretion. The court affirmed.