Case Involving Non-Pattern Jury Instructions Interpreted As Permissive

In People v. Hester, 131 Ill. 2d 91, 103, 544 N.E.2d 797, 803, 136 Ill. Dec. 111 (1989), the defendant was tried for reckless homicide. Hester, 131 Ill. 2d at 100-01, 544 N.E.2d at 802. The jury was given a nonpattern instruction concerning the finding of intoxication. Specifically, the jury was instructed that it "may presume" that defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquors if defendant's blood alcohol was 10% or more, but that the presumption was "not binding." Hester, 131 Ill. 2d at 100-101, 544 N.E.2d at 802. The supreme court found that a reasonable juror could only interpret the instruction as being permissive because the jurors were free to either accept or reject the presumption. Hester, 131 Ill. 2d at 101, 544 N.E.2d at 802.