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In Re Interest of Bryant

MARCH 27, 1974.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ERWIN L. MARTAY, Judge, presiding.


A petition for adjudication of a minor as a delinquent was filed on August 26, 1972, against Bobby Bryant, respondent in this appeal, charging that he had committed the offenses of battery upon Officer Robert Brennan and aggravated assault upon Officer Michael Duffin. After a hearing on November 21, 1972, the court made a finding of delinquency on both counts and a social investigation was called for by the court. Respondent appeals this finding and contends that:

(1) The petition for the adjudication of a minor as a delinquent failed to allege that the officer was engaged in the execution of his official duties and was, therefore, insufficient to charge aggravated battery;

(2) The uncorroborated statement of the complaining witness was not sufficient to prove the respondent guilty of aggravated battery beyond a reasonable doubt;

(3) Respondent had acted in self-defense and was not, therefore, guilty of aggravated assault; and

(4) Respondent had been pled guilty by his defense counsel at the hearing and such plea was not accompanied, on the record, by the necessary admonishments.

The facts, as they were presented at the hearing on November 21, 1972, were as follows:

Officer Brennan, Chicago Police Department, testified that he had entered the Bryant home with his partner, Officer Duffin, in response to a call from Mrs. Bryant. She had called for police assistance since she had been having problems with her oldest son, Curtis. Brennan stated that a struggle began when he saw a knife in Curtis' belt and Curtis began to pull it out. Bobby Bryant, Danny Bryant, and Charles Williams were present and attempted to prevent Curtis' arrest. About a minute after the struggle began, respondent threatened both officers with a broomstick. Officer Duffin became involved in a fight with Danny Bryant, and the two of them fell down the stairs into the basement. At this time, Officer Brennan testified that respondent hit him in the mouth with the broomstick. Officer Brennan fired his gun into the air and respondent left the house.

Officer Duffin testified next and presented basically the same story as to the events that occurred. He saw respondent threaten him and his partner with the broomstick but he did not see Officer Brennan struck as he was in the basement struggling with Danny Bryant at the time.

Respondent testified that he was struck first by Officer Duffin in the chest or stomach. He asked the officer why he had hit him and when he received no reply, he picked up the broom and threatened the officer. His mother told him not to hit Officer Duffin and to go outside, which he did. He denied ever striking Officer Brennan. Mrs. Bryant testified next, generally supporting respondent's testimony.

The petition asking that Bobby Bryant be adjudicated a delinquent charges him as follows regarding the aggravated battery:

"In that Bobby A. Bryant has on 25 August 1972 at Cook County, Illinois, committed the offense of Aggravated Battery in that he knowing Robert Brennan to be a Chicago Policeman Peace Officer did intentionally, without legal justification caused bodily harm by striking Officer Brennan in the mouth with a broom handle knocking out three teeth of Officer Brennan without legal justification, in violation of Chapter 38, Section 12-4(b)(6) Illinois Revised Statutes."

Respondent submits that this charge fails to include an essential element of the offense of aggravated battery in that it is not stated that the officer was "engaged in the execution of any of his official duties * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(6).) In support of this position, respondent submits the case of People v. Bailey, 10 Ill. App.3d 191, 293 N.E.2d 186. In Bailey a conviction for aggravated battery brought under an indictment similar to the aggravated battery charge in the instant case was reversed due to the insufficiency of the indictment. The court there stated:

"On appeal, defendant's sole contention is that the indictment is void. In pertinent part the indictment charged:

`* * * that Johnny Bailey * * * committed the offense of AGGRAVATED BATTERY in violation of Paragraph 12-4, Chapter 38, Illinois Revised Statutes, 1969, in that he, the defendant, knowing one Paul Nusbaum to then and there be a police officer of the City of Dixon, Illinois, did intentionally and knowingly without ...

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