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People v. Lanier

JUNE 26, 1968.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

WILLIAM LANIER AND JAMES HEMPHILL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HERBERT R. FRIEDLUND, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

CRIME CHARGED IN THE INDICTMENT

Armed robbery. Ill Rev Stats (1965), c 38, § 18-2.

DEFENSE AT TRIAL

Alibi.

JUDGMENT

After a bench trial, the court found both defendants guilty, sentencing Lanier to a term of 1 to 10 years and Hemphill to a term of 2 to 10 years.

POINTS RAISED ON APPEAL

(1) Defendants were erroneously denied access to a police report.

(2) The identification evidence was not sufficient to establish defendants' guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

(3) Defendants were prejudiced by a policeman's testimony that they fitted the description given him by the complaining witness.

EVIDENCE

Dan C. Shipp, for the State.

He had driven a taxi for the Yellow Cab Company for five and one half months on August 23, 1964. At approximately 4:00 a.m. on that date two men hailed his cab and he stopped. The two men stood there talking for about two minutes before entering the cab and during that time he observed them. He then drove them to their destination. Upon arrival, the men held him up at knife point, took $27.60, pushed him out of his cab, and drove away in it. Thereupon, he went to the police to report the robbery.

On cross-examination Shipp testified that he had given to the police a description of the two robbers as being males; one dark brownskinned, the other light brownskinned; one five feet seven inches tall, the other about one to three inches shorter; one had a thin face, the other was round faced; one man had a tooth missing; both men had processed hair and wore black suits, black ties and white shirts; neither man wore a hat.

About two hours later that morning, Shipp saw the two men again and gave a description of the men to the police. Still later he saw defendants at the police station and identified them as the men who had robbed him.

Joseph Celmer, for the State.

He had been a police officer for 19 years and was on duty at the time in question. He took the report of the robbery from Shipp and "beamed it in." The cab was recovered three blocks away by another squad. About two hours later he and the other policemen arrested defendants as they were leaving a bowling alley. The defendants fitted Shipp's description and were in the general vicinity where the crime was committed. They were then taken as "suspects" to be seen by Shipp and, after he identified them as the robbers, they were taken into custody.

Defendant William Lanier.

He and his co-defendant were together at a party at the time of the robbery. Later, after escorting their female companions to their car, defendants took a bus to a bar and when it closed at 5:00 a.m., they went to a bowling alley to get something to eat and to watch the people bowl. They had just left there when they were arrested. He denied the crime ...


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