Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. A.F.
WELLS, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.
MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Plaintiff appeals from a decree in favor of defendant in a divorce action. The complaint alleged acts of extreme and repeated cruelty which were denied in defendant's answer.
At the trial, plaintiff was the first witness. She testified that on February 18, 1967, defendant struck and choked her, leaving bruises, and on April 5, 1967, defendant, without cause, beat her and knocked her into the bedroom and choked her, causing pain and suffering. There was no cross-examination by defendant's counsel. The trial judge, however, questioned plaintiff regarding physical abuse by defendant prior to the date of their marriage in 1966. The plaintiff, in answer to the judge's examination, testified that defendant first physically mistreated her in 1958, six months after the birth of a child to plaintiff and defendant; and that defendant had also beaten her in 1964 and 1965. The record then shows the following:
THE COURT: "Yet, in 1966, after all of these beatings you still married him?"
THE WITNESS: "Yes, I did."
THE COURT: "Now, you have complained that he beat you on February 18th and April 5th?"
THE COURT: "Finding for the defendant."
MISS WILLIAMS (Attorney for plaintiff): "May it please the Court, may I say this before you make a finding? Give me a basis for this finding, because "
THE COURT: "I don't need a basis."
MISS WILLIAMS: "May I say this?"
THE COURT: "This woman comes in Court and asks for a divorce. If you are afraid of him, ...