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People v. Taylor

APRIL 24, 1968.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

FRANK L. TAYLOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Defendant was charged with attempted (murder). (Ill Rev Stats 1963, c 38, § 8-4.) After a bench trial he was found guilty and sentenced to a term of five to ten years.

In this court the defendant urges: 1) that the State failed to prove him guilty of the crime of attempted murder beyond a reasonable doubt; and 2) that he was denied due process of law because the trial court made a determination based upon private knowledge of the court, untested by cross-examination or any of the rules of evidence.

On May 9, 1964, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Officers Lynwood Harris and Love Davis of the Chicago Police Department were on patrol in an unmarked squad car, dressed in civilian clothes. They were traveling north on Kedzie Avenue, approaching 5th Avenue, when they heard shots coming from the rear. Officer Harris testified that when they heard the shots he and his partner turned around and saw the defendant standing on the corner, wearing a white cowboy hat, and firing a gun. Officer Harris stated that he drove into a gas station, jumped out of the car, and pursued the defendant to a billboard in an alley where he saw the defendant reloading his gun; that he called to the defendant, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered the defendant to halt and drop the gun, at which point the defendant closed the chamber of his gun and fired a shot in Officer Harris' direction.

Officer Harris further testified as follows: The defendant ran to Kedzie Avenue where he encountered Officer Davis, who called to the defendant, "Halt, police officer." The defendant slipped and fell, fired two shots at Officer Davis, and ran across a vacant lot; he then turned and fired again at Officer Davis. Officer Harris called to the defendant, "Halt, drop the gun, police officer." The defendant kept running across the vacant lot to a building at 3237 West Adams Street, where he hid behind a 4-foot retaining wall. When Officer Harris got to the side of the building he saw the defendant crouched on the ground reloading his gun; he told the defendant to leave the gun on the ground and to come up with his hands in the air. The defendant said, "Don't shoot; I'm shot already." After the defendant was taken into custody Officer Harris asked him why he was firing the gun on the corner and the defendant said he was "firing at some guys." When asked what guys, he said he didn't know. The testimony of Officer Davis substantially corroborated that of Officer Harris.

The defendant testified that he wore the pistol to work because he had been robbed on several occasions, which robberies he had reported to the Fillmore District Police Station. His testimony continued as follows: On the night in question he had failed to get off a bus at his stop, and was walking back to Jackson; as he approached the corner a car with six or seven teen-agers inside pulled out of a service station up to the stoplight; they cursed the defendant and he said, "Well, if anything that I said or did wrong, well, I was sorry." When the car pulled away from the light two shots were fired from it at the defendant. He fired three shots at the car. He ran behind the gas station. He did not go up the alley because it was too dark. He was trying to reload the gun behind the station when a couple of shots were fired over his head. He closed the gun and ran east on Kedzie, where he slipped and fell, and "two more shots appear on me." He got up and started running north on Kedzie toward Madison, where he knew there was a police car at all times.

The defendant said he did not know the shots were being fired by policemen; that he did not hear the words, "Halt, police"; that he believed the shots were fired by the boys who had been shooting from the automobile; that "my gun didn't have but three shots in it from the time of the corner"; and that he never raised his gun after the three shots were fired at the corner. He claimed that when he tried to reload he was unable to put the shells in the gun because "they was right up on me." He stated that he did not know the men chasing him were policemen until he saw the handcuffs in their hands. He also testified that there was a man standing with him when the boys fired at him; that this man said he worked in the gas station, but he couldn't bring him to court because he couldn't find him, even though he had gone to the service station several times looking for him.

On cross-examination the defendant stated that when he was behind the billboard he was unable to put any more ammunition in his gun, and that he did not at any time fire his gun at the two men chasing him. He was on Adams Street when shot and was finally arrested while attempting to reload.

Defendant's first contention is that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of attempted murder. Section 8-4(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill Rev Stats 1963, c 38, § 8-4(a)) provides that "a person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific offense, he does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense." The intent to kill or do great bodily harm to another satisfies the mental state requirement for the offense of murder. (Ill. Rev Stats 1963, c 38, § 9-1(a) (1).)

The Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill Rev Stats 1963, c 38, § 4-4) defines "intent" as follows:

"A person intends, or acts intentionally or with intent, to accomplish a result or engage in conduct described by the statute defining the offense, when his conscious objective or purpose is to accomplish that result or engage in that conduct."

In People v. Smith, 71 Ill. App.2d 446, 219 N.E.2d 82, this court stated at page 454:

"As the Supreme Court noted in People v. Coolidge, 26 Ill.2d 533, 187 N.E.2d 694 (1963), intent is a state of mind and if it is not admitted, it can be shown only by surrounding circumstances; consequently, an intent to commit murder may be inferred from the character of the assault, the use of a deadly weapon and other circumstances. A sane man is presumed to intend all the natural and probable consequences of his own deliberate act; if one voluntarily and willfully does an act the direct and natural tendency of which is to destroy another's life, the conclusion, in the absence of qualifying facts, is that the taking of the other person's life was intended. People v. Brooks, 52 Ill. App.2d 473, 202 N.E.2d 265 (1964); People v. Coolidge, supra." [Emphasis supplied.]

See also People v. Moore, 77 Ill. App.2d 62, 222 N.E.2d 142; People v. Masterson, 79 Ill. ...


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