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The People v. Brown

SEPTEMBER 10, 1971.




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



Attempt (to commit murder). Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, pars. 8-4 (a), 9-1(a). Armed robbery. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a). Aggravated battery. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 12-4 (b) (1). Two counts of armed violence. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 33A-2.


After a trial by jury, defendant was found not guilty of attempt (murder) and armed robbery. He was found guilty of aggravated battery and two counts of armed violence and was given two concurrent sentences of two to five years, one for aggravated battery and one for armed violence.


1. The evidence was not sufficient to establish defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. The court imposed an unlawful sentence.


Scott Chambers, a police officer, for the State:

On January 16, 1968, he was working with his partner, Lawrence Bork. At approximately 7:30 p.m., they received a radio message that there had been a robbery at 1306 S. Washtenaw, together with a description of the two robbers. The officers were then near the scene in the 1300 block of S. Talman in an unmarked police car, in civilian clothes. Two blocks from the place of the robbery, they noticed a youth wearing a brown coat coming west from the south alley of Talman who fitted the description of one of the wanted men. He stopped the squad car and identified himself as a police officer by showing his badge when he was eight to ten feet from the youth. He did not produce a weapon at this time. There was a blue fluorescent bulb over the mouth end of the alley, and he saw the suspect's face, whom he identified as defendant.

Defendant turned and ran east through the alley. He and his partner chased about 15 to 20 feet behind the boy. The alley is "T" shaped, and as defendant reached the middle of the alley between Rockwell and Talman, he ran north through another alley, and turned into a gangway at 1332 Rockwell, running inside a link fence, where he slipped on the ice and fell. Officer Bork reached over the fence and grabbed defendant by the collar, but he broke away and ran into a basement.

The officers followed into the basement. The witness was not running when he went into the basement door, and remembers that, while going through the door, he did not hit his head on a pipe or anything else. He checked the back utility room while his partner remained in the front of the basement. When he walked to the back of the room, he heard heavy breathing. He again announced his office and went in the back room with his gun in his right hand. Defendant stepped partially into the light with something in his hand. He then saw the blade of a knife. Although there was no light in the room where defendant was hiding, there was a light three or four feet behind the witness. Defendant stepped forward and struck him across the head with a knife. After being cut, he could not see out of his left eye. His partner came to him and he pushed him away, stepping into the room, where he was again struck, this time with a board or piece of pipe which bounced off his shoulder and hit him on the left side of his face near the eye.

He fired three times and struck defendant, who was six feet away. Other patrolmen and his partner took the witness to Mt. Sinai Hospital where a wound in his forehead was closed with ten stitches. He had a fractured skull and hematoma in the left eye. He was positive of his identification of defendant as his attacker. Neither of the two youths brought to him at the hospital was the one who had attacked him.

Lawrence Bork, a police officer, for the State:

He is a policeman and was patrolling in an unmarked car with Chambers on January 16, 1968. At about 7:45 or 8:00 p.m., he saw defendant coming out of an alley. His description of the chase corroborated the testimony of Chambers. He also identified defendant, and said he had never lost sight of him until he went into the basement. When he heard Chambers say, "Come on out, police officer," he ran back there and saw Chambers bleeding from the head. He started into the dark room but Chambers pushed him back, going in himself. He then heard three shots, and Chambers emerged with his head badly cut, with blood running down over his eye. Another patrolman who had heard ...

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