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People v. Carter

APRIL 8, 1971.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JAMES CARTER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JACQUES F. HEILINGOETTER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DRUCKER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant and co-defendant, Ernest Ramey, were charged with armed robbery, attempted rape and aggravated battery. After a joint jury trial both were convicted of each offense. Judgment was entered and they were sentenced to concurrent terms of twenty to forty years for armed robbery, five to ten year for attempted rape and eight to ten years for aggravated battery.

Ramey's conviction was affirmed in People v. Ramey, 115 Ill. App.2d 431. *fn1 On appeal defendant contends (1) that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress illegally seized evidence; (2) that his pretrial identification was so unnecessarily suggestive as to deny him due process of law; and (3) that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The trial testimony may be summarized. On March 11, 1967, a man in a policeman's uniform came to the door of 2229 West Campbell Park in Chicago. Mrs. Florence Malone (hereinafter "Florence") and her daughter Rita were home. Mrs. Marie DeVito, another daughter, was also with them. When Rita answered the door the man inquired about a hit and run accident. After receiving answers the man drove away in an old car which was white on top and dark on the bottom. (This man was identified as Ernest Ramey on March 19, 1967, by Florence and Rita.)

On March 14, 1967, at approximately 8:00 P.M., Ramey, again dressed in a policeman's uniform, came to the Malone home. He inquired about the For Sale sign in front of the home. Florence showed Ramey the first floor and Rita showed him the second floor. As Rita was showing Ramey some of the rooms the doorbell rang again. Ramey said that it was his brother who was also interested in the home. The second man was let in and Rita showed him the second floor. A short time later Ramey drew a gun and announced a stick-up. At first the women said that they had no money, but then Rita said she had some upstairs. The second man accompanied her upstairs where she gave him some money. Rita identified this man as the defendant. Defendant tried to push Rita towards a bed but she broke away and ran to the stairs. Defendant kicked her in the back and she fell down the stairs. She was then kicked and beaten over the head. Defendant then tore off some of her clothes and attempted to rape her. Rita was tied, gagged and dragged across the room. In the meantime Ramey had knocked Florence unconscious. The house was ransacked. The two men left, taking some money, pieces of costume jewelry, a Zenith 25-inch color television set and a Grundig-Majestic stereo record player.

Florence managed to call for help after the men left. The police came and the two women were taken to Mother Cabrini Hospital where they remained for three and one-half weeks. As a result of the occurrence Rita sustained a broken arm in six places, a fractured nose in three places, and contusions and bruises which required twenty-six stitches. Florence received fractured ribs, stitches in the head, and she was black and blue.

The day after the occurrence the women were interviewed by the police. Rita and Florence gave them descriptions of the assailants and later identified Ramey from a photograph. He was arrested and the police learned the name and address of defendant from Ramey, Ramey's brother Irving, and Ramey's mother. The police went to defendant's home and were admitted to the premises. In the front room the officers observed a Zenith color television set and a Grundig-Majestic stereo which they seized. Defendant was not at home. Defendant's sister Gloria accompanied the police and she pointed out the defendant as he was walking down the street with his fiancee, and he was arrested.

Later in the afternoon of March 19 the police took Ramey and defendant to Mother Cabrini Hospital. One of the police officers went into the Malones' room alone for a few minutes and then Ramey and defendant were brought into the room at the same time. Rita and Florence identified them as the assailants, and Rita testified, "There is no doubt in my mind. Never was."

Defendant testified in his own behalf. He stated that he had nothing to do with the robbery. He said that Ramey and two other men asked him on Thursday prior to his arrest if he wanted to buy a color television and a stereo for $800. He was working at Gateway Erectors as a welder earning $2.33 an hour and he was planning to get married in May and had saved some money. He told Ramey that he would buy the television and stereo but that all he had was $300 at the time.

Defendant's finance, Victoria Rodgers, testified that she was with defendant the evening Ramey came over to the house. At defendant's request she gave him the $350 they had and later that evening he showed her the television and stereo he had purchased from Ramey. Mrs. Catherine Carter, Defendant's mother, testified that her son told her that he was buying the set with the money he was saving up for the wedding. She knew he had $400 to get married on.

Ramey testified that defendant had been an associate of his "for a year and half or so."

The jury returned verdicts of guilty as to Ramey and defendant on all charges.

Opinion

Defendant contends that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress illegally seized evidence. The testimony presented at the hearing on the motion may be summarized. On March 19, 1967, at approximately 11:30 A.M., the police arrested Ernest Ramey as one of the Malones' assailants. Ramey's brother Irving accompanied the police to the station house. The police described a car allegedly used by Ramey on March 11 and March 14 and Irving stated that the car was similar to one he had seen before. The police then showed Irving a photograph found on Ramey which Irving identified as a friend of Ramey. Irving had seen this person pick up Ramey in the car described by the police. Irving called his mother and ...


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