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People v. Maldonado

DECEMBER 20, 1971.

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

v.

MAXIMINO MALDONADO, A/K/A, JOSE COLLAZO, A/K/A, FELIX CQUENDO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MEL R. JIGANTI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LYONS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: Maximino Maldonado was convicted, following a jury trial, of the offense of involuntary manslaughter (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 9-3(a)). Judgment was entered on the verdict and he was sentenced to a term of not less than seven nor more than ten years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. On appeal defendant contends:

1) that he was denied a fair trial when the prosecutor introduced into evidence his pre-trial statement without excising from it admissions of prior arrests for traffic offenses, a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated, and a subsequent arrest for driving while intoxicated;

2) that the trial court erred in allowing into evidence the details of his arrest two years after the crime charged, as that evidence tended to establish the commission of an unrelated offense;

3) that the indictment is constitutionally defective in that it is not sufficient to inform him of the nature and cause of the accusation and to protect him from double jeopardy since it did not allege specific acts which would constitute recklessness;

4) that the jury was insufficiently instructed on the crime charged as the term "recklessness" was not defined;

5) that he was denied a fair trial when the prosecutor, during argument, implied that defense counsel had attempted to suppress evidence;

6) that he was denied effective assistance of counsel;

7) that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and

8) that the trial court erroneously considered his arrest record in determining sentence.

At trial Chicago Police Officer Jack Hawkonsen testified that at approximately 6:30 P.M. on January 22, 1967, he was on patrol in a police vehicle and was proceeding south on Halsted Street. When he was 300 feet north of the intersection of Halsted and Wrightwood Avenue, he noticed a traffic jam at the intersection. He then observed a Buick automobile which was facing east into Wrightwood back up for a short distance and then speed away in a southerly direction in the northbound lanes of Halsted Street. He followed the Buick in the same lanes in an attempt to apprehend it. During the chase, his car attained the speed of 65 miles per hour and the Buick was still pulling away from him. He estimated the speed of the Buick at between 65 and 70 miles per hour.

As the Buick reached the intersection of Halsted and Fullerton Avenue, the traffic control signal for Halsted was red. The officer observed what appeared to be two pedestrians at that intersection and, as the Buick passed through it he observed objects hurtling through the air. At this point the officer placed an emergency call over the radio. The Buick continued on past the intersection and then began to spin around, striking some parked cars, and eventually came to rest against a fence.

Four occupants of the car exited the door on the right side of the vehicle and began to run west on Belden Avenue, a street 50 feet south of where the Buick had come to rest. One of their number then reversed his direction and ran east. Officer Hawkonsen chased this individual on foot and apprehended him. He is now known to the officer as Hector Collazo. The officer attempted to open the driver's door on the Buick and found it to be jammed.

Officer Hawkonsen then returned to the intersection of Halsted and Fullerton with the arrestee. He observed the body of a young female some 25 feet beyond the intersection and the body of another young female some 200 feet beyond the intersection beneath the wheel of a parked truck. Hector Collazo informed him that Louis Collazo had been driving the Buick automobile.

Officer Hawkonsen further testified that he overheard a conversation in the police station later that same evening in which the defendant, known to him as Maximino Maldonado, stated that Ramon Vasquez was the driver of the vehicle. Also in the police station that same evening, he had a conversation with an individual known to him as Ramon Vasquez in which that party admitted to having been the driver of the Buick. As a result of the conversations in the police station the officer charged Ramon Vasquez with the killing of the two girls, speeding, going through a red light, driving without a license, driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injuries.

Officer Tom Kelley was also on patrol in a squad car near the intersection of Halsted and Wrightwood at approximately 6:30 P.M. on January 22, 1967. His testimony concerning the events preceding the striking of the pedestrians was substantially the same as that of Officer Hawkonsen. He further testified that after seeing the female figure flying through the air at the intersection of Halsted and Fullerton, he stopped his car at that intersection. He observed the body of a young girl lying between parked cars approximately 60 to 80 feet from the intersection. When he returned to his car to call for an ambulance, an unidentified individual approached and informed him of another body lying beneath a truck 100 to 150 feet to the south. The officer proceeded to investigate and discovered the body of a young female, as had been indicated to him, ...


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