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People v. Smith

JUNE 21, 1973.

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

v.

TOMMIE LEE SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PHILIP ROMITI, Judge, presiding.

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

A jury found the defendant, Tommie Smith, guilty of burglary and he was sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of three to eight years. He contends that he did not receive a fair trial and that an oral statement made by him while in custody should not have been received in evidence.

Smith was arrested by two Chicago police officers about 9:30 P.M. on the night of December 20, 1970. The officers received two radio reports that burglaries were in progress in the 1800 block of South Ridgeway Avenue, which was in the area they were patrolling. They spoke to residents at the addresses given in the reports and were given a description of a man who had attempted to break into one apartment. Upon returning to their squad car they received a third message of a burglary attempt on South Lawndale Avenue — less than a block away and across the alley from the first two addresses. They hurried into the alley and saw Smith running in their direction. They apprehended him and as they did so he pulled a gun from his pocket; they threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. The gun proved to be a starter pistol which used blank cartridges. Smith answered the description they had just received; he was searched and a portable radio was recovered from under his jacket. He said the radio was his. It had the name "Vickie Parks" inscribed on the inside of the back cover. A subsequent investigation revealed that it had been stolen that night from her home, 1811 South Ridgeway.

The police officers, Frank Corcoran and Rochelle McClain testified at the defendant's trial. After Corcoran related the events of the night of December 20th and the details of the arrest, the prosecutor asked him about a conversation with the defendant at the police station:

"Q. What, if anything, did you say to the defendant?

A. I just kept asking where he got the radio.

Q. Did the defendant speak to you in response to questions being made by you and the other officers?

A. He told me, directly to me, that it was his own radio. He said it was his radio.

Q. Did he tell you his name, the defendant? Did he tell you his name?

A. Yes, sir, he did.

Q. What name did he tell you?

A. Tommie Lee Smith.

Q. Did he say anything else to you?

A. He said he had been smoking reefers and drinking wine.

Q. After he said that did he say anything else to you?

A. He said something to the effect, `when I do a job ...


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