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The People v. Chatman

OPINION FILED JANUARY 19, 1967.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

GERALD CHATMAN, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JULIUS H. MINER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The grand jury of Cook County returned two indictments each of which charged the defendant, Gerald Chatman, with a separate offense of rape. He waived a jury, and was tried and found guilty on the first indictment, No. 57-3438, on February 6, 1958. At the request of his attorney, the imposition of sentence was deferred. The trial on the second indictment, No. 57-3441, commenced on February 7, 1958, and was concluded on February 11. A jury was again waived and the same judge found the defendant guilty. He was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of sixty years on each charge, the sentences to run consecutively. On this appeal the defendant contends that his appointed counsel was incompetent, that his constitutional rights were violated when he was denied a sanity hearing prior to the imposition of sentence and that the sentences imposed are unintelligible.

The claim that appointed counsel who represented the defendant in the trial court was incompetent is based upon the fact that he went to trial upon the second indictment, without a jury, before the same judge who had tried the first indictment and who had indicated at the conclusion of that trial a pronounced disbelief in the testimony of the defendant and of the defendant's mother, who was an alibi witness.

At the first trial the defendant was identified by the complaining witness who testified that on November 20, 1957, about noon, the defendant gained admission to her apartment by representing himself to be a newsboy, and when inside, threatened her with a knife and committed the offense charged. The defendant was also identified by a young man who was visiting his aunt, who lived in the same building as the complaining witness, and who testified that he heard the defendant speaking to the complaining witness about subscribing to a newspaper. An assistant State's Attorney testified to an oral confession made by the defendant. The defendant denied that he committed the offense or had made a confession, and his mother testified that he was at home on the date and at the time in question. When the defense rested its case, the prosecutor stated that he had rebuttal witnesses. The judge then said "What for? I have no doubt in my mind." The prosecution then rested. The judge continued, "How could there be with that kind of feeble, putrid alibi? Even the mother didn't believe her own answers she made."

On the following day, February 7, 1958, the trial on the second indictment, No. 57-3441, commenced. The defendant again waived a trial by jury. The prosecuting witness in this case testified that about noon on November 8, 1957, the defendant gained admittance to her apartment by representing himself to be a newsboy. Once inside, he threatened her with a knife and then committed the offense charged. She testified that on December 6, 1957, she identified the defendant in a line-up. The case was then continued until February 11, 1958. When court convened on that date, the defendant attempted to pull away from the bailiffs, struck one of them, and three bailiffs were required to hold him. He also broke the arm of one of the chairs in the courtroom. A police officer then testified that the prosecuting witness identified the defendant from among eight or ten other colored men in a line-up on December 6. The prosecution then rested.

The defendant was called to the stand and examined by his appointed attorney:

"Q. Will you state your name?

A. (No answer.)

Q. Will you state your name for the record?

A. (No answer.)

Q. Before we proceed we have to have your name and you have to say it for us.

A. I ain't doing you no favors.

Q. Do you wish to testify?

A. In what? This guy's court? ...


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