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People v. Pantoja

MARCH 3, 1972.

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

v.

ANGEL L. PANTOJA, A/K/A SALVADORE MOLINA, A/K/A LUIS RIVERA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS R. McMILLEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

At the conclusion of a jury trial defendant was found guilty of the crime of burglary and sentenced to a term of three to eight years. On appeal he contends: (1) that he was prejudiced in the eyes of the jury by bruises caused by an attack upon his person by court personnel, and (2) that the prosecutor improperly elicited testimony that defendant was arrested for a different crime and that defendant used assumed names.

The evidence presented by the State is summarized as follows:

Ann Etzig testified that at approximately 8:45 A.M. on June 6, 1967, she left her apartment at 537 West Eugenie in Chicago. She returned at approximately 5:30 P.M. to find the apartment ransacked and various items missing. The transom was open and lying on top of the kitchen door which was open. The premises were locked securely when she left for work and she had given no one permission to enter.

Police Officer Andrew Baumann testified that on June 6, 1967, he responded to 537 West Eugenie where he met Etzig. The premises were in a state of disarray and the transom was open with the shaft busted, and resting on top of the rear door which was also open.

Police Officer Thomas Ginnelly, an evidence technician, testified that on June 6, 1967, he went to Etzig's apartment at 537 West Eugenie where he examined the crime scene. He found, photographed and lifted fingerprints from an inside wall and the outside portion of the transom glass.

Detective Steven Schwieger testified that he arrested the defendant at approximately 7:00 A.M. on October 22, 1967.

Police Officer Eugene Offerman testified that he fingerprinted defendant on the evening of December 1, 1967.

Police Officer Joseph Mortimer, a fingerprint technician, after being duly qualified, testified that fingerprints left exposed to sun, wind and other elements may last but an hour, while those left indoors and undisturbed might last a few days. The lifts and photographs taken from the fingerprints on the wall were not suitable for comparison. In his opinion defendant's fingerprints and those taken from the transom glass were identical.

Defendant presented no evidence.

Opinion

• 1 (1) After testimony had established that fingerprints had been taken from the crime scene, the prosecutor, out of the presence of the jury informed the court that the State had intended to call a specific witness to authenticate fingerprints taken from defendant. Because that witness was not sure that it was defendant who was fingerprinted, the prosecutor requested the court to require defendant to submit to fingerprinting. After discussion and argument over the propriety of such a ruling, the court ordered defendant to allow his fingerprints to be taken and recessed until the next day.

On that next day defense counsel registered his shock over the treatment defendant received from the court personnel whereby they forced defendant to submit to fingerprinting. Although defense counsel did not personally witness any physical abuse to defendant, he stated: "[defenant] has been struck on the right eye and there is a blackening of that eye. He has a bump on the right side of his head where he was struck. He is limping. His legs have been injured. Your arm, too? All right. I'd like the record to show there are marks and bruises on or about his right arm." Defense counsel went on to say that he did not know whether or not the jury would notice defendant's bruised eye.

The prosecutor responded by saying that only after four or five minutes were spent in an attempt to persuade defendant to submit voluntarily, "legal force" was used to carry out the court's order. Any force ...


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