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People v. Robinson

APRIL 2, 1969.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANCIS T. DELANEY, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Defendants were convicted of attempt burglary in a bench trial and sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than three years. In this consolidated appeal they contend (1) that the prosecutor obstructed the accused in the preparation of their defenses by misrepresenting the State's evidence prior to trial and (2) that the sentence should be reduced.


Testimony of Mrs. Ida Mae Hike, for the State:

On August 24, 1966, about 1:20 p.m., she was looking out of her back window on the first floor at 7100 South Eggleston, Chicago. From that vantage point she was able to see the building located at 451 West 71st Street. The first-floor resident of that building was Mr. Willie Brown, whom the witness had known for nine years. She observed the two defendants attempting to boost a third man up to open Mr. Brown's window. Knowing that none of the three lived in the apartment, she continued to watch their unsuccessful attempt to open the window. All three men had coats over their arms. After failing to open the window, the two defendants crossed the street and sat down on some steps across from Mr. Brown's building. Meanwhile the third man had entered Mr. Brown's building where his mailbox was located. Subsequently the third man returned to the outside, signaled to the two defendants, and all three men then reentered the building. At this point the witness called the police, and Officer Kinnally responded within two or three minutes. Just as he arrived the three men were emerging from the doorway to Mr. Brown's building. The two defendants were apprehended but the third man went into the alley and was not caught.

Testimony of Officer Frank Kinnally, for the State:

He has been a police officer for 15 years. He arrested the two defendants as they were leaving the building but he did not observe a third man. Later he had occasion to examine the exterior of Mr. Brown's apartment. He found marks on the front door and the bottom sash had been removed from the rear window.

Testimony of Willie Brown, for the State:

He is the tenant of the apartment in question. On August 24, 1966, he left his apartment for work about 7:30 a.m. and returned about 6:00 p.m. Because his home had been broken into several times before he checked the windows and door locks every day before leaving for work. Everything was in order before he left but upon returning that evening he discovered marks on his front and back doors near the lock, apparently made by a screwdriver or pliers. In addition, the screen had been taken off the back window on the back porch and the sash had been pulled away from the bottom of the window.

Testimony of Percy Robinson, one of the defendants:

On August 24, 1966, he lived at 6748 South Laflin. About 1:00 p.m. on that date he and his co-defendant were on their way from his home to Mr. Burnett's home at 6748 Wentworth. The two homes were almost exactly ten blocks due east of each other. About four blocks from Mr. Burnett's home, that is, at 71st and Normal, the two defendants stopped outside Mr. Brown's building and began to lounge around on the steps and propped up against the building. About ten minutes later a third man whom they did not know came out of Mr. Brown's building and asked the two defendants if they would mind helping him open a window on the first floor. They boosted him up but the man was not able to open the window. The man then went around the back to see if he could get in the apartment that way, and the two defendants crossed the street to continue their discussion. Shortly thereafter the man emerged from the front of the building, told the two defendants that he had obtained entry into the apartment and went around to the back of the apartment again. Neither defendant actually entered the building. The defendant testified that he told the police about the third man and how he and his co-defendant had come to help him. He repeated to the police at the station his explanation of how he and his co-defendant had become involved with the third man.

The testimony of defendant Theron Burnett was substantially the same as that of his co-defendant.

Rebuttal by State:

Officer Kinnally testified that when he arrested the defendants they told him, "Well, we didn't do nothing, we were just coming ...

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