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People v. Flowers





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon. J.P. WILAMOSKI, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied March 28, 1972.

The defendant was found guilty by a jury in the circuit court of Rock Island County of the crime of indecent liberties with a child, and was sentenced to a term of not less than 10 nor more than 20 years in the penitentiary.

The victim was a four-year-old girl. Her mother had taken her to the home of a babysitter at about 6:00 A.M. At about noon, the child left that home to go to the Head Start School. There was an election on that day, the place where school was held was used as a polling place, and school was not in session. One of the election judges saw the child and told her there was no school. The defendant then came up and said that he knew the child; that he was a neighbor, and that he would take her home.

The defendant and James Harvey then got into the car with the child and the defendant drove away. One of the election judges took down the license number of the car. The defendant and the child returned in the car at about 2:30 P.M. They were alone. When let out of the car, she was carrying a pop bottle, was dressed the same, but her hair was wet and she walked with her legs wide apart in a straddle position.

A few minutes later, the child returned to the home of the babysitter, who testified that her hair was damp and messed up, her dress wrinkled, and that she was carrying the bottle of pop and two quarters, which she did not have in the morning. The babysitter took her back to the building where the Head Start School normally held sessions. One of the ladies removed the child's panties and observed a thick mucus secretion there, and noticed that the child's vaginal area was red and scratchy. The babysitter testified that the rectum was red and irritated, and that there was a trace of blood on her underpants.

James Harvey, the man who had been in the car with the defendant and the little girl on the day in question, testified that he had known the defendant for many years, and that after leaving the polling place, the defendant dropped him off at the Campbell Hotel, and the child was still in the car.

Two witnesses saw the defendant and Harvey in the car with the child. Harvey asked them if they knew the child and they answered that they did not. Another witness who saw the defendant carrying the child, asked if he had found a lost child and he answered, "No," and stated that he knew her.

The child was taken to the hospital where she remained for three or four days. Her mother observed that her hair had been wet and dried stringy; that she looked like she had been crying, and was sullen and quiet, which was unusual.

The child was examined by two doctors. They found a bruising, reddening and swelling in the vaginal area and the area between the vagina and anus. There were superficial lacerations in the perianal area and the anus was dilated and enlarged.

An employee of the F.B.I. testified as an expert, relative to hair and fibre identification. He testified that hair found in the child's panties matched that taken from the head of the defendant; that the hair on the defendant's clothing matched that taken from the child; that hair may be identified by race and when compared with that from an individual may be identified as not coming from that individual; and that it is not possible to state that a designated strand of hair came from a particular individual. He also matched fibres from the defendant's clothing on the child's clothing and, likewise, fibres from her clothing on the defendant's clothing.

The defendant contends that he was denied due process of law by the denial of discovery; that there was a total failure of proof of his age; that the court committed error in certain statements made to the jury; that the trial court should have ordered a psychiatric examination pursuant to the statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 23, par. 2402); that opinion evidence was improperly admitted; and that the trial court erred in denying the defendant's request that a 1955 conviction not be used for impeachment purposes.

We find it necessary to consider only the contention relative to denial of due process by reason of the court's refusal to permit the defendant any discovery. The defendant, prior to trial, requested the court to order the State to disclose any evidence favorable to him. He also requested the court to direct the State to advise him of any tests which were made to determine whether spermatazoa was in or on the person of the victim, and if such tests were made, the results of such tests, and the results of any other medical reports concerning the condition of the victim.

In People v. Hoffman, 32 Ill.2d 96, the defendant was found guilty of murder. The victim had checked in at a hotel with the defendant. His defense was that he had left the victim at 6:00 in the evening and returned at 6:00 the following morning to find her dead. A police report had indicated that a pair of men's shorts, wet in the frontal area, had been found by the police in the closet. The defendant requested the production of the shorts, and this request was denied. We noted that their importance to the defense was obvious, and at pages 99 and 100 stated: "In Brady v. State of Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 10 L.Ed.2d 215, 83 S.Ct. 1194, the Supreme Court held that `* * * the suppression by the prosecution of evidence ...

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