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People v. Cooper

DECEMBER 8, 1972.

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

v.

CECIL COOPER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL STRAYHORN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

OFFENSE CHARGED

Armed robbery. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, par. 8-2.

JUDGMENT

After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a term of not less than three nor more than six years.

CONTENTION RAISED ON APPEAL

The identification procedures employed by the police were so highly suggestive and conducive to mistaken identity that the introduction of the pre-trial identification was a denial of defendant's due process rights which tainted the victim's in-court identification of defendant as her robber.

EVIDENCE

Juanita Akin, for the State:

On July 2, 1970, she was at 1405 E. Marquette Road, Chicago, Illinois, alone in a cleaning store which she owned. A young black man came in between 5:30 and 5:45 P.M. The front of the store was lit by four big fluorescent lights, and she had no difficulty in seeing him. He was between 19 to 23 years old, between 5'8" and 5'10" tall, and weighed from 148 to 150 pounds. She noticed that the skin around one of his eyes was a little darker than the rest of his complexion, as if he had a black eye. He was wearing a short, midnight blue, wet-look jacket, and light beige pants with gold stripes. She could not recall everything that he had been wearing because she could only see him from the waist up. He stayed in the store about 15-20 minutes.

He gave her his name and address and explained that he wanted to pick up his cleaning but that he had lost his ticket. She did not recall having a customer by that name and when he asked where the owner of the store was, she did not identify herself as the owner but answered that the owner was in his car around the corner. The man said he would wait to speak with the owner. While waiting, he asked her if she had a dog, and when she said yes, he walked to the back of the store to see if he could see it. As he returned to the front of the store, he stuck his hand into his right jacket pocket, partly pulled out a gun, and said, "This is a stick-up." She opened the register and gave him about $75. He asked, "Are you sure that is all?" and although she answered yes, he boosted himself up onto the counter to look into the register for himself. As he was leaving the store, he said, "Don't call the police because I don't want to have to come back and kill you."

On leaving the store, he turned west on Marquette Road. She walked out to the sidewalk and saw him running down the street. She noticed that as he crossed over to the north side of the street and ran under a viaduct, he passed a man who was walking east on the south side of Marquette Road. As this man approached the store, she asked him if he knew the name of the man who had just run past him in the street. When he answered that he only knew him by sight, she said she would appreciate it if he could find out the name for her. The man with whom she spoke did not identify himself to her.

She then went back into the store and notified the police of the robbery. Two uniformed police officers arrived shortly, and she gave them a description of the robber, but did not tell them about her conversation with the man who said he knew the robber by sight.

Two days later, the unidentified man came into her store and told her that the name of the man who had run past him in the street was Cecil Cooper. Again, he did not give her his own name. As a result of that conversation, she immediately called the police ...


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