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People v. Jennings

APRIL 26, 1972.

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

v.

RICHARD C. JENNINGS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. CROWLEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 26, 1972.

After a jury trial, Richard Jennings was found guilty of battery. Trial court sentenced the defendant to one year's probation, with the first 120 days to be served in the House of Correction. Defendant raises the following issues for review:

"(1) Defendant was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;

(2) State employed a series of unsupported insinuations which were damaging to defendant's credibility;

(3) Trial court made prejudicial rulings and statements to the jury;

(4) The condition of defendant's probation, requiring that he spend 120 days in the House of Correction, was excessive."

The facts are as follows:

On May 21, 1968, complainant, Salvatore Petramala, was on his way home from his part-time job. He testified that he noticed a stalled 1964 or 1965 red Buick with men in it in his lane. Complainant testified that he crossed the white dividing line to get around the stalled car and returned to the right lane. He further testified that the stalled car then started up, its lights went on, and it began chasing him. Defendant Jennings and David Penn, both police officers, testified that the complainant went through a red light, almost causing them to collide. A high speed chase followed the alleged near collision. Complainant drove to his parents' apartment building and ran up the stairs to their apartment. He was pounding on the door when the defendant got up the stairs. Defendant was dressed in civilian clothes.

There is a dispute over whether the defendant and David Penn ever stated that they were police officers. They grabbed the complainant and when complainant's family opened the door, Penn pointed his revolver at them and told them to shut the door. Jack Petramala, complainant's brother, testified that after closing the door he called the police and reported a robbery. Complainant was continuously shouting, "Don't kill me," and "Take my money," as the defendant beat him, tore his pants off and shoved him down the stairs. Jennings dragged the complainant outside the building after he had drawn his revolver.

Police Officer Zaloscham testified that he answered a robbery call and when he arrived on the scene Jennings and the complainant were struggling outside the apartment building. Officer Zaloscham told Jennings to "stop fighting." Jennings stated that he was a police officer. Complainant was protesting that he was being robbed and that Jennings was not a police officer. Officer Zaloscham testified that he told Jennings, "Stop it, stop fighting, shut your mouth, I don't care who you are, shut your mouth, you've been drinking."

Defendant's first contention was that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The key question is whether the defendant was in the process of making a lawful arrest. A lawful arrest would be the only justification for the bodily harm inflicted on the complainant by the defendant.

Section 107-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. ...


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