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People v. Dronso

APRIL 28, 1967.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

DALE A. DRONSO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. NATHAN M. COHEN, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied May 25, 1967.

CHARGE: Armed robbery. *fn1

DEFENSE AT TRIAL: Defendant denied that he committed the alleged offenses.

JUDGMENT: The defendant was indicted for two robberies by force and while armed. One was the robbery of Anna Sokolowski; the other the robbery of Elmer Dobesh. The cases were consolidated for trial. After a jury trial the defendant was found guilty as charged in both indictments and was accordingly sentenced to the penitentiary for one to three years.

POINTS RAISED ON APPEAL:

1) The evidence was insufficient to support a finding of guilty;

2) The State failed to call all its available witnesses;

3) The argument of the State's Attorney was improper and prejudicial;

4) The court erred in excluding defendant's children from the courtroom;

5) The court erred in refusing defendant access to police records during cross-examination.

EVIDENCE: The grand jury voted two indictments; one indictment charged the defendant, Dale A. Dronso, with the offense of robbery, while armed, from the person of Anna Sokolowski; the other charged the defendant with robbery, while armed, taking $50 from the person of Elmer Dobesh. Because the same evidence was involved, both indictments were consolidated and tried together. A jury was selected and sworn. A motion for the exclusion of witnesses was allowed. The court then excluded the defendant's children from the courtroom on the ground that their presence was merely to elicit sympathy from the jury. The defense took exception to this ruling.

Testimony of Witnesses:

Elmer Dobesh testified as follows: On February 13, 1964, he was in the Club 59, located at 59th and Lawndale, in Chicago. He arrived there about 10:30 p.m., and about 11:00 p.m., two men went up to the bar, one of whom he identified as the defendant. Besides the two men at the bar, the proprietor of the Club and two other people were present. The defendant told them to turn around, put their hands on the bar, that "this was a stickup," and said that "if we didn't put our hands on the bar he would kill us." When Anna Sokolowski (the owner of the tavern) hesitated, the defendant reiterated that "he would have to kill," and Dobesh told Anna Sokolowski to hand over the money. The defendant was holding a .45 automatic in his right hand; he told his accomplice to take Dobesh's billfold which contained his driver's license, his draft classification card, some personal things and a 50-dollar bill. The men then left the tavern and Dobesh followed them to try to get the make and model of the car they had, but was unsuccessful in this attempt. Dobesh said the defendant and the other man were in the tavern for only five minutes, and he next saw the defendant on June 14, 1964. Dobesh was in a restaurant at 60th and Kedzie when he saw the defendant walking north on Kedzie. Dobesh got into his car and drove to 59th and Kedzie, where he told a police officer what had happened. The officer stopped the defendant, told him he was being questioned about the holdup in Club 59, and arrested him.

On cross-examination Dobesh described the defendant as medium build, medium height, graying hair, and cleft chin. He said that when he was told to put his hands on the bar his head was turned at a 45-degree angle and he could see the defendant and the other man clearly; that he could identify the gun as a .45. He stated that he could identify the car only as a red Oldsmobile, possibly a 1962 model; that the license plates were dirty and not readable; that the bar was well lighted. Dobesh stated that on June 14, after the defendant was arrested, Dobesh went to the ...


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