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People v. Haynes

NOVEMBER 23, 1970.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES J. MEJDA, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: The defendant, Maurice Haynes, was indicted for the crimes of forcible rape and of robbery. After a trial without a jury he was found guilty on both charges and was sentenced to concurrent terms in the penitentiary of 4-10 years for the crime of rape and 2-5 years for the crime of robbery.

The sole issue presented on appeal is whether the uncorroborated identification by the complaining witness is so unsatisfactory that it creates grave doubt of the defendant's guilt.

We briefly summarize the evidence. Vera Young (formerly Vera Ford), the complaining witness, testified that on March 3, 1968, the date of the crimes, she was single, aged twenty-one, five feet tall, and an employee of the Post Office. She completed work and left the main Post Office at 3:42 A.M. on March 3, 1968. She arrived at the 55th Street L station at about 4:15 A.M. and proceeded to walk in a westerly direction along 55th Street until she reached Michigan Avenue. As she turned the corner onto Michigan Avenue, she heard footsteps behind her. She stopped and saw a man. The man said something to her, and as she was about to ask him what he wanted, he grabbed her around the neck and said, "If you want to live don't scream, I have a knife." The two of them walked into a yard at 5504 South Michigan Avenue where the man asked her if she had any money. She told him that she had $20.00 and tried to give him the money. The man replied, "No, the police might see us. Let's walk down the street." The man then took her behind the building at 5522 South Michigan Avenue; struck her on the head; threatened that he had a gun (which she never saw); took her money and watch; and told her to pull down her underclothing. She refused, but he beat her, pulled down her underclothing and had intercourse with her. The man had difficulty having intercourse because she was short and because they were both standing. The man had her put her clothes back on and took her out to an alley. He stopped under a light "and he looked at me and I looked at him." He then led her to the basement stairway of a building on 55th Street. There she took off all of her clothing except her bra and slip which he ripped off of her. The man had intercourse with her again. She took a pin which had held her slip to her bra and attempted to stick him in the eye. She felt the pin strike him, but did not know where the pin had struck. He jerked his hand to his head, and she attempted to escape. He caught her, knocked her to the corner, and started to kick her. She screamed and he ran. Even though she was wearing no clothes, she chased him down the building corridor. She asked a lady who opened a door to call the police. After the man had gone she sat on the stairway, and a lady brought her a robe.

The police took her to the hospital where she was examined, but not treated. While she was at the hospital, she described her assailant to the police as very tall, light brown skin, dark overcoat, dark pants, thin mouth which looked as if he didn't have any teeth in the top or they were very small. Later she went to the police station where she was shown slides of a number of men. She was not shown a picture of Maurice Haynes, and she did not identify any of the men as her assailant.

In the days after the attack she searched the neighborhood bars, taverns, and pool halls in hope of finding her assailant. On Friday, March 8, 1968, she heard the defendant's voice while she was in a beauty parlor. She looked, saw the defendant standing in front of a pool hall adjoining the beauty shop, and recognized him as her attacker. She followed him and informed a policeman who was sitting in a parked police cruiser that the defendant had raped her. The policeman waited for assistance and then arrested the defendant.

At the trial, on January 6, 1969, Vera Young identified Maurice Haynes as her assailant. She testified that she had seen him on two occasions prior to March 3, 1968. The first time was during the summer or fall of 1967 at the L station on 55th Street. He said something to her, but she just walked away. The second time was some two months later at 55th Street and Michigan Avenue. He asked for her name, which she did not give, and he asked her if he could pick her up after work in his Cadillac and "stuff like that." She refused the offer, talked to him for about a minute and then walked away.

She described her assailant and specifically stated that he was clean shaven and that he appeared to be in his early twenties. The complainant was cross-examined at length concerning her assailant's teeth.

"Q. Tell me some more about this man's physical anatomy. Was he missing some teeth in the front?

A. When I first — the way he was holding me and the way I looked up at him he looked as if he didn't have any front teeth or they're very small.

Q. How many teeth would you say were missing?

A. I didn't say any were missing. I said it looked little —

Q. Didn't you tell the arresting officer the two front teeth were missing?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. But there were some teeth missing, right, you don't ...

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