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The People v. Robinson

OPINION FILED MARCH 18, 1964.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT IN ERROR,

v.

JOSEPH ROBINSON, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR.



WRIT OF ERROR to the Criminal Court of Cook County; the Hon. GEORGE B. WEISS, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SOLFISBURG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This writ of error presents for review the robbery conviction of Joseph Robinson, following a bench trial, in the criminal court of Cook County, for which he was sentenced to imprisonment for an indeterminate term of 3 to 10 years.

The defendant, Joseph Robinson, and Warren Morris had been jointly indicted for the robbery of Kenneth Bartels, a police officer assigned to the Task Force Undercover Unit of the Chicago Police Department. Morris entered a plea of guilty to the indictment. Robinson entered a plea of not guilty and was tried by the court. Three police officers testified for the prosecution that on May 29, 1962, Kenneth Bartels, while acting as a "decoy", was robbed by two men on West Madison Street in Chicago. One of the men, identified as Warren Morris, was captured at the scene of the robbery by the officers. They testified that the other man involved escaped. The officers then selected the defendant's picture from their files and identified him as the other man involved in the robbery. All three of the officers testified at the trial and identified the defendant as the other participant.

The defendant did not take the stand at the trial and the only testimony other than that of the officers was the testimony of the co-defendant, Warren Morris, who was called as a witness by the court at the request of defendant's counsel. Warren Morris's entire testimony was as follows:

"Q. What is your name?

A. Warren Morris.

Q. On May 29, 1962, did you rob Kenneth Bartels?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who was with you when you took his watch from him?

A. Was no one but me.

Q. You participated in this by yourself?

A. By myself."

On cross-examination he was asked the single question:

"Q. Mr. Morris, is that the story that you told the police officers ...


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