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People v. Williams

DECEMBER 3, 1973.




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


After a bench trial, the defendant was found guilty of indecent liberties with a (male) child and was sentenced to four to ten years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. On appeal he contends: (1) that certain testimony of a police officer was hearsay and should have been stricken; (2) that, without that corroborative testimony, the remaining testimony of the complaining witness Cornelius Hodges was not such as to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) that he was entitled to be discharged on the affirmative defense that the boy involved was a "prostitute."

We do not agree with any of these contentions and affirm.

The initial witness for the prosecution was Police Officer Finn. Finn told how Williams was arrested, brought to the 21st district station, advised of his constitutional rights and questioned. Present at the interrogation besides Finn and Williams were the complainant, Cornelius Hodges, and his mother. In response to Finn's questions, Cornelius told of the events that precipitated Williams' arrest. Over the defense's objection on hearsay, the trial judge permitted Finn to relate what Cornelius had told him, that "on several occasions the defendant had taken him to the project area between the eleventh and thirteenth floors and had him drop his pants. He was told to take his pants down at which time defendant placed his penis between his legs and pumped on him for a period of time until a climax was reached, at which time they all left the area together."

The officer further stated that Cornelius told him that this had occurred to him at least three times, once in April, 1971, and twice in August, 1970. However, on cross-examination Cornelius spoke of only two incidents. Cornelius also told Officer Finn that he had been offered money if he would submit to these actions — five dollars, and that he was offered money on each occasion. Finn further stated that Mrs. Hodges said Cornelius had told her about Williams' August, 1970 actions in August, 1970, but she never told the police about that until May, 1971. The State also called Mrs. Martha Williams, the defendant's mother, who stated that her son Maurice was born on March 14, 1943, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mrs. Annie Hodges testified that Cornelius and Tyrone Hodges are her sons, that they both live with her presently and that they are thirteen and ten years old, respectively. She related that she met Williams in August, 1970, and that her boys were working for him. On cross-examination, she stated that Williams had been in her home and that prior to May, 1971, she had never made any complaint against him.

The concluding witness for the State, was the complainant, Cornelius Hodges. He stated that he was ten years old, but on cross-examination stated that he was twelve at the time of the incident. He testified he first became acquainted with Maurice Williams when he and a boyfriend, twelve-year-old Sylvester Green, were returning from the grocery store in the summer of 1970. Cornelius said that Williams asked both boys if they wanted a job delivering groceries for $5.50 a week. Both boys said yes, but Cornelius wanted to tell his mother about the offer and deliver some groceries to her. The mother, according to Cornelius, wanted to see Williams but did not make any effort to call him.

Cornelius further testified that later in the summer of 1970, Williams took him and Sylvester Green to Goldblatt's, whereupon Williams told Sylvester to remain at Goldblatt's, and he and Williams went to a project building on Calumet and went up to the thirteenth floor. Cornelius said Williams told him that "if you got blue ball around your private, that you got to go to the hospital to get a shot. He said he don't want to go to the hospital so he would go between my legs * * *." On cross-examination, Cornelius related another blue ball story, "He [Williams] had stopped in the hallway and then he said, don't you remember that day I had told you I had got a girl, a little piece from a girl, and I had gotten the blue ball around my private."

Cornelius related that Williams told him to lower his pants, and when Cornelius did this, Williams stuck his private between his legs. According to Cornelius, Williams further told Cornelius to move around, which Cornelius did for five minutes, and then Williams gave him "a piece of paper to wipe off between my legs." Cornelius also testified that "the first time he gave all of us $3 apiece." But on cross-examination, Cornelius stated he was supposed to get $5.50, but "he never gave it to me." Cornelius asked about the money, but Williams was to have said, "I ain't got it." Cornelius did state that he later received $3, but he thought Williams gave it to him for the fun of it.

The following day, Cornelius met Williams again, and on this occasion Williams took Cornelius and five other boys to the playground. Sylvester Green was again along and also Barry Sharkey and Tullo and Tiny; Sylvester and Barry were listed as witnesses on the indictment. Cornelius stated that Williams left the playground with Barry Sharkey and went to the project on Calumet, returned to the playground with Barry and took them all home.

After having seen Williams numerous times, Cornelius indicated that he next saw Williams on April 16, 1971. Cornelius stated he met Williams at the same project building, and Williams stated he was going to get some keys from his cousin and to meet him on the eleventh floor. Williams then told Cornelius "that he never did dislike me [Cornelius]," and then similar circumstances as occurred nine months earlier were related. On this occasion, Cornelius was not paid for his services; "and on April 16, did he give you any money?" "No." Cornelius told the Assistant State's Attorney he knew what Williams was doing on April 16, 1971, and again told the court, in response to defense counsel's question, that he knew what was going to happen on April 16, 1971. Defense counsel, in an effort to show Cornelius' lack of innocence, asked several questions: "You know what sex is, don't you?" and "Did you know where babies came from?", which were objected to by the State and sustained by the court.

Cornelius said that on April 16, 1971, he never saw Williams' penis, but concluded that Williams stuck this between his (Cornelius') legs. He indicated that Williams had no weapon.

In response to the prosecutor's question as to why Cornelius didn't tell his mother, Cornelius stated, "I had told her once, but she didn't notice until it was on Friday, my brother told her." On cross-examination, Cornelius said that Williams told him if he ever said anything about the August, 1970, incident, he would shoot him. He never told the police about this until his mother complained to the police in May, 1971.

The defendant took the stand and testified that he did not recall where he was on April 16, 1971, but he did not see Cornelius Hodges on that day. The defendant did state that he was with ...

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