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People v. Pulley

MAY 14, 1973.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. MICHAEL A. ORENIC, Judge, presiding.


David Pulley was found guilty of attempted murder in a cause tried by a jury and was sentenced by the circuit court of Will County to a term in prison of not less than seven nor more than fifteen years. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on an additional charged offense of armed robbery.

On appeal in this court, defendant Pulley seeks reversal on five separate grounds. Pulley contends (1) that the court instructed the jury on the elements of attempted murder but failed to instruct the jury on the elements of murder; (2) that the court failed to instruct the jury on elements of self-defense which defendant contended was his theory of defense at the trial; (3) that defendant Pulley did not receive effective assistance from his court-appointed counsel; (4) that the court improperly denied the jury's request that some of the testimony be read to them when the court did not first seek to determine the reasonableness of the request; and (5) that defendant was denied his right to a trial by jury when there was a written communication between the judge and jury outside of the presence of the defendant.

It appears from the record that on December 19, 1970, two men committed an armed robbery of a clothing store. The police arrived in time to find one robber still in the store. Three policemen chased the robber from the store to an alley, down a street and into another alley. There they lost sight of him for a matter of a few seconds, but when two of them cut across the same alley in the backyard they both observed a man standing in the shadow near a house dressed in the same type of clothes as the man they had been chasing. This man was David Pulley.

The policemen testified that one approached defendant Pulley and said, "Halt, police." Pulley responded by shooting at one of the policemen and wounding him in the stomach. Both policemen testified that one policeman shot back, and that the bullet wounded Pulley, causing Pulley to fall wounded to the ground. One of the policemen then asked Pulley for his gun, and Pulley replied, "I'm getting it for you, you mother f____" (obscenity).

Pulley contends that he was an innocent bystander and that he apparently found himself caught between pursuing policemen and a pursued robber. He said he dodged between houses to let the police pass. One policeman followed him, however, he said, and without warning, shot at him. Pulley was hit in the hip and leg, spun around, and fell to the ground. He then said, "By that time I had my gun out. So I fired my gun one time, that I know. I don't know if I fired at * * * I don't think I fired it twice but I remember firing it one time. I wasn't trying to kill the man or nothing now, but I was just trying to get him off, some of his relief off me."

• 1-3 It is apparent from the record that the attorney for defendant did not tender instructions with respect to self-defense and that he did not object to the instructions which the court gave to the jury. Defendant also failed to interpose any objections at the conference on instructions. This constitutes a waiver of any objection which then might have been made. (Irwin v. Omar Bakeries, Inc., 48 Ill. App.2d 297, 198 N.E.2d 700; Smelcer v. Sanders, 39 Ill. App.2d 164, 188 N.E.2d 391.) A court of review will not review such objection when it is interposed for the first time on appeal. An appellant likewise will not be heard to complain of the court's failure to give an instruction if he failed to tender it to the trial court. We do not believe that a trial court is required, sua sponte, to propound other instructions in a situation such as disclosed in this case.

Defendant contends that his court-appointed counsel was incompetent in not objecting to the court's failure to instruct on the elements of murder and in not tendering instructions on the element of self-defense or arguing such theory to the jury. The contention, basically, is that defense counsel was incompetent to the extent that defendant has been denied due process of law. We do not believe the record supports defendant's contentions in this respect nor with respect to objections as to the instructions referred to.

The instruction which was tendered with respect to attempted murder was taken from Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions — Criminal 6.05 — Attempt. The instruction, therefore, read:

"A person commits the crime of attempt who, with intent to commit the crime of murder, does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of the crime of murder. The crime attempted need not have been committed."

The Supreme Court of this State in People v. Gersbacher, 44 Ill.2d 321, 325, 255 N.E.2d 429, 432, considered a similar issue and refused to reverse the judgment and conviction on the same contention as made in this court. In such case, the Supreme Court said:

"Although it would have been preferable to instruct the jury on the elements of the crime attempted, after reviewing the record before us, we find that the evidence presented to the jury regarding the attempted murder was such that no error was occasioned by the failure of the court to give an instruction in this regard."

In the cause before us, the record establishes that defendant, without lawful justification, shot at the policeman with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm to him, or at least with the knowledge that his act would cause death or a strong probability of great bodily harm or death. We, therefore, believe there is no basis for reversal relating to the instruction given with respect to attempted murder. We have noted that the defendant's attorney failed to object to it. Similarly, there is no reversible error in failure to give an instruction on the issue of self-defense. Defendant's attorney tendered no such instruction. The trial attorney representing defendant apparently decided that it would be poor trial tactics to argue self-defense to the jury or to tender an applicable instruction.

Defendant's contentions with respect to all the errors assigned revolve about a contention that he did not receive effective assistance from his court-appointed counsel. Some point is made of the failure of defendant's attorney to pursue the motion to suppress the defendant's obscene statement made to the arresting officer. The police officer obviously had the right to complete the valid arrest and to take the gun from the person of defendant who had just used it to shoot another policeman. While there would be no basis for reversal in the event the motion with respect to the statement was rejected we note that the defense counsel in the ...

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