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People v. Jones

DECEMBER 16, 1971.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. ROBERT IMMEL, Judge, presiding.


Defendant was found guilty after trial without a jury of the crime of rape and was sentenced to a term of not less than forty years nor more than sixty years in the state penitentiary. The only question raised on appeal is whether or not the sentence was excessive.

After trial and before sentencing hearing was had in mitigation, no testimony being offered by the State in aggravation. The abstract fails to disclose that defendant had any prior arrests or convictions.

Defendant presented two witnesses at the hearing in mitigation, his sister and a woman who lived with him for three and a half years who testified she was defendant's common-law wife. They were living separate and apart at the time of the incident herein. Their testimony was meager and consisted in substance of nothing more than the fact that defendant underwent a change after the death of his brother some five months prior to the date the crime was committed. The common-law wife testified that after the incident he drank excessively and would forget what he did during these periods of intoxication. She also testified that he sustained a head injury and her testimony in a very general way suggested periods of amnesia. None of the testimony offered by the defendant in mitigation is of particular help to this court, nor could it have assisted the lower court in reaching a decision. The abstract fails to disclose that the defendant was either intoxicated or did not know what he was doing when the act was perpetrated. Counsel has omitted certain testimony from the abstract stating throughout that the same was not relevant to the matter on appeal. This court must accept the conclusions of counsel.

• 1 The facts indicate defendant was forty years old and the complaining witness was eleven years of age. The record further shows that defendant was apprehended while committing the crime and penetration was observed by one of the officers. The facts clearly illustrate that the child resisted and the act was forcible and while physical injuries to the child were not of a severe nature, as counsel for defendant points out, it must be remembered that the defendant was apprehended while perpetrating the crime, thus possibly avoiding critical or more serious injuries.

Defendant's theory is predicated on the proposition that the sentence imposed defeats the objective of rehabilitation.

In People v. Poff, (Ill. App.2d), 268 N.E.2d 58, we noted this court's power to reduce sentence, such authority being specifically granted in Supreme Court Rule 615(b)(4), Ill. Rev. Stat. 110A, Par. 615(b)(4).

The punishment imposed in this particular case was within the limits prescribed by the legislature, rape being punishable by imprisonment for an indeterminate term of years with a minimum of not less than four years. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 11-1(c).

In People v. Taylor, 33 Ill.2d 417, 211 N.E.2d 673, the Supreme Court held that where it is contended that punishment imposed in a particular case is excessive "this court should not disturb the sentence unless it clearly appears that the penalty constitutes a great departure from the fundamental law and its spirit and purpose, or that the penalty is manifestly in excess of the proscription * * * of the Illinois constitution * * *." The court further went on to note that the power to reduce sentences imposed by trial courts where circumstances warrant "should be applied with considerable caution and circumspection, for the trial judge ordinarily has a superior opportunity in the course of the trial and the hearing in aggravation and mitigation to make a sound determination concerning the punishment to be imposed than do the appellate tribunals."

• 2 In People v. Nelson, 41 Ill.2d 364, 243 N.E.2d 225, the Supreme Court stated, "The burden of presenting mitigating circumstances in a record falls upon a defendant and it is he who must make a substantial showing in order to justify a reduction of sentence on review." The court then noted the guide lines laid out in People v. Taylor, supra, and stated:

"This court has consistently approved the foregoing guide lines where the reduction of sentence by virtue of the rule and its antecedent statute has been directly raised."

The court then noted:

"Obviously, in following the Taylor guide lines, the possibility of rehabilitation of a defendant is one of the factors which a trial judge should take into consideration. However, it does not follow that the trial judge must categorically have the record recite the ...

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