Criminal Law, Pages 405–406

People v. Peck

Appellate Court of Illinois, 1994

Facts:

Police were talking to defendant and his neighbors in relation to a neighborhood disturbance when defendant became belligerent and spit on one officer's face. The officers then arrested defendant, although he fought back by kicking and pulling away.

Procedural History:

Defendant was found guilty of aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting a peace officer. He was sentenced to six years in prison for the battery and 364 days in jail for the resisting a peace officer.

Issue:

Can spitting alone sustain an aggravated battery conviction?

Defendant's Argument:

Spitting is neither physical contact nor sufficiently insulting or provoking behavior.

Reasoning:

The battery statute says that battery can be committed if the accused makes contact with the victim "by any means." Battery has included spitting since early common law.

How insulting or provoking something is depends on the context. While spitting is surely not sufficiently insulting or provoking in some contexts, defendant spitting on an officer in this case clearly amounts to insulting or provoking contact.

Holding:

Yes, spitting is sufficient for aggravated battery. Affirmed.

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