APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. KENNETH
R. WENDT, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendant, Sebastian Licata, was found guilty of burglary in a bench trial. On May 26, 1972, he was placed on probation for a period of five years, a condition of which being that he serve the first year of this probation in the House of Correction. Defendant appeals contending that he did not receive a fair trial since the trial judge had reached a conclusive opinion of his guilt prior to hearing all the evidence.
The complaining witness, Edwina Hurley, testified that on August 27, 1971, she left her apartment at about 1:00 P.M. and returned there fifteen minutes later. As she began to enter she heard a noise in the dining room and called out. She noticed that her television set had been moved and was now in the middle of the floor. She ran down the stairs until she met Mrs. Rock.
Mrs. Rock testified that she was standing on the back landing of her building when she heard a "commotion". She went down her back stairs and across her yard where she was able to see a man on the first floor landing of Mrs. Hurley's building alongside hers. She also saw that Mrs. Hurley's back door was open. When the man came down the stairs and ran down the alley, Mrs. Rock was within four feet of him. She described the man to the police and later identified defendant from a number of photographs shown to her by the police at the station.
Detective Raymond Downes was the final witness for the State. After he described Mrs. Rock's identification of the defendant at the police station, he testified on cross-examination regarding two neighbors who he said had seen a man come through their yard. Detective Downes stated that the men could not identify Licata as the man in their yard. The following discussion then took place:
"Q. And they failed to identify Mr. Licata, is that right?
Mr. Meltreger [State's Attorney]: Objection.
The Court: Failed to identify as what?
Mr. Maloney [Defendant's Counsel]: As the man who had gone through their yard on August 27, 1971.
Mr. Meltreger: Objection.
The Court: That's all right. Go ahead, answer it. It has nothing to do with this.
The Witness: They couldn't be positive, no, sir.
Mr. Maloney: Did you say it has nothing to do with this case, Judge?
The Court: As I understand it, two people are saying at a different place that isn't the man ...