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People v. Ward

JULY 27, 1973.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. SAUL A. EPTON, Judge, presiding.


Defendants Dorothy Ward (alias Josephine Reed) and Rosemary Brown were found guilty of armed robbery after a bench trial. Following a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, they were sentenced to three to six years. Defendants then appealed to the Supreme Court which transferred the case here.

Both defendants make the following contentions on appeal: the pretrial identification procedures violated their due process rights; and the trial court's refusal to allow discovery in regard to a police officer's notes of an interview with the complaining witness, and in regard to certain police radio logs, was reversible error. Defendant Ward alone contends that the trial court's refusal to furnish her with funds to hire an expert witness to dispute the authenticity of her signature on a waiver of rights form was reversible error. Defendant Brown alone contends that the trial judge erred in ruling that her counsel's request for a list of witnesses and statements tolls the 120 day speedy trial rule.


Defendants were indicted March 12, 1970, for the armed robbery of a Chicago gas station on December 23, 1969. They had been arrested and incarcerated on December 28, 1969. On March 20, 1970, at arraignment, the Public Defender was appointed to represent defendants and orally moved for discovery of the State's list of witnesses and "any written confessions or oral admissions that they may have made." The State requested a week to ten days to comply. The court continued the case until April 8, 1970, and stated, "Motion defendant." On April 8, 1970, the State filed a written list of witnesses and a list of physical evidence. On May 15, 1970, defendant Brown filed a petition for discharge, alleging that 120 days had passed since December 28, 1969, the date she was placed in custody. The discharge was denied after a hearing. Then defendant Ward made a motion for a handwriting expert to determine the authenticity of her signature on a confession and waiver of rights. After several hearings the motion was denied. Defendants then filed a motion to suppress the identification testimony of all witnesses, which was denied.

Finally, defendants filed a motion to suppress evidence and dismiss indictments. At the hearing on the motion, defendant Ward, testifying on behalf of herself, and Officer Thomas O'Farrell testifying on behalf of the State, both stated that defendants were not violating any law when they were arrested. O'Farrell, a member of the Alsip Police Department, was on duty at approximately 5:00 A.M. on December 28, 1969, when he received a radio communication that a Clark gas station was to be robbed. The officer testified that on December 21, 22, and 24, 1969, he had received dispatches over his police radio that gas stations in nearby suburbs had been robbed. The dispatches in each instance reported that the vehicle involved was a white over gray, 1962 Buick, bearing a certain Illinois license plate number. Proceeding to a Clark station at 3600 West on 127th Street, Officer O'Farrell observed a white over gray, 1962 Buick with the same license plate mentioned in the previous radio dispatches. He radioed his partner, Officer Orlovetz, who immediately joined in following the car. The two officers stopped the car, asked the two occupants (identified in court by the witness as defendants) to get out, informed them that they were being held for investigation of armed robbery, and informed them that they had a right to remain silent. Officer O'Farrell observed a revolver lying in the front seat and a black automatic pistol between the seat and the door, and confiscated both.

The trial began on June 18, 1970, with Henry March, the complaining witness, testifying that he was working at a gas station on Chicago's south side when a 1962 Pontiac pulled into the station. After servicing the car, March went inside the station. One of the occupants in the car then pulled out a gun and ordered March to give her all his money. She then waved to her companion, who came inside and together the two searched the drawers and shelves, taking cash and cartons of cigarettes. At trial March identified defendants Ward and Brown as being the two persons involved in the robbery.

March further testified that on March 30, 1969, Detective Adams phoned March at work, told him a couple of girls had been arrested for robbery in a suburb, and that they fit the description he had given police. Detective Toles visited March at work, showing him seven photographs. One of the pictures showed a front view of defendant Ward with the words "Police Department, Alsip, Illinois" written underneath her chin. This picture and a second one, a side view of Ward, comprised People's Exhibit No. 2. The third photograph presented a front view of defendant Brown with the identical caption underneath her chin. This shot along with a side view of Brown formed People's Exhibit No. 3. The remaining three photographs were of three different women.

Just prior to the Grand Jury hearing, Detective Toles was showing the photographs to a friend. Standing very near the detective, March saw the pictures easily and overheard Detective Toles mention the names of defendants as he pointed to each picture. While March was speaking to the State's Attorney's stenographer after the hearing, he was again shown the photographs.

During direct examination, the prosecutor showed March People's Exhibit No. 2, telling him that it purports to be a picture of defendant Ward. The defense attorney objected to this form of questioning. March then testified that during his meeting with Detective Toles, March had identified the person pictured as a participant in the robbery. After being shown People's Exhibit No. 3, March testified that he had also identified the person pictured, defendant Brown, as a participant in the robbery at the same meeting. The defense attorney objected to all testimony regarding the identification. March also testified that the words "tall" on People's Exhibit No. 2 and "short" on People's Exhibit No. 3 were not on the pictures when they were first presented to him during his meeting with Detective Toles.

During cross-examination, March testified that he spoke to several police officers immediately after the robbery and that he noticed one of them taking notes. Defense counsel then requested that the notes be turned over to him. The trial judge denied the request on the grounds that discovery of private notes is not mandatory. Defendants chose not to put forward a defense. Both were convicted of armed robbery and took this appeal.


Defendants were arrested on December 28, 1969, and remained incarcerated without being admitted to bail. On May 15, 1970, defendant Brown filed a petition for discharge pursuant to Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, sec. 103-5, *fn1 alleging that more than 120 days had passed since her arrest and that she had not yet been brought to trial. Clearly, therefore, defendant Brown was entitled to discharge unless she occasioned or caused the delay of trial. Defendants' attorney concedes that defendant Ward is not entitled to discharge since she filed a motion for continuance on April 8, 1970, and therefore clearly occasioned the delay of trial. The State contends that Brown did occasion a delay in the trial on March 20, 1969, by reason of her attorney's requesting a list of witnesses and notice of their statements, which tolled the running of the four-month statutory period and caused it to run anew from that date. If this is so, trial on June 18, 1970, was in apt time. (The time between the May 15 petition for discharge, and June 18 were consumed mostly by hearings on defendants' motion to suppress evidence, motion for appointment of a handwriting expert, etc.)

In People v. Nunnery (1973), 54 Ill.2d 372, the trial was delayed beyond the 120 day limit by reason of defendant's filing a complex motion for discovery. Nunnery was arrested on February 9, 1969, and indicted on May 27, 1969. He was arraigned on June 4, 1969, at which time he filed a 21 paragraph motion for discovery. On June 12, 1969, he moved for a discharge. The trial court allowed the petition and he was discharged. The Appellate Court held that although the delay in the indictment and arraignment could not be attributed to defendant, his filing of the discovery motion on the 115th day started a new 120 day period. On further appeal defendant contended (in the language of the Supreme Court opinion) that the Appellate Court's decision forced him to elect between his constitutional right to a speedy trial and his right to pretrial discovery, thus depriving him of due process of law; that the record shows that defendant's motion did not cause any delay, and that the decision served to create an invidious classification of defendant based on wealth, and ...

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