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People v. Bravieri

SEPTEMBER 25, 1974.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PAUL F. GERRITY, Judge, presiding.


The defendant, Art Bravieri, was charged by a complaint with battery. Following a bench trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in the House of Correction. On appeal he contends that the complaint is insufficient in that it fails to name or identify the victim of the offense, that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that his sentence is excessive.

The complainant, Bruno L. Rybicki, a Chicago police officer, testified that on February 20, 1971, he was at the scene of a collision involving a car driven by Joseph Bravieri, brother of the defendant, and one driven by a Jack Combs. He placed both drivers in his squad car while he filled out an accident report. Combs got out of the car and was attacked by a gang of 15 or 20 youths. Rybicki put in a call for help and then tried to get out of his car; however, he was pushed back in by the defendant and Albert Vena, a co-defendant, with such force that his hat and glasses were knocked off. The defendant told him to "get back in that car, you pig, or we will kill you." He was detained in his car until another squad car arrived. He then got out of his car and saw Combs lying on the sidewalk unconscious with a bloody face. He saw the defendant standing nearby and placed him under arrest. After being arrested, the defendant swung at him with his fist and hit him on the cheek. The defendant denied all of these allegations and testified that he only went up to the squad car to see if his brother had been injured in the collision. When his brother complained of chest pains and an injured eye, the defendant asked Rybicki to take him to a hospital.

The complaint charging the defendant with battery reads as follows:

"BRUNO L. RYBICKI, complainant, now appears before the Circuit Court of Cook County, and in the name and by the authority of the People of the State of Illinois states that ART BRAVIERI has on or about 20 February at 2226 W. Ohio committed the offense of BATTERY in that he INTENTIONALLY AND KNOWINGLY WITHOUT LEGAL JUSTIFICATION CAUSED BODILY HARM BY STRIKING A POLICE OFFICER IN THE FACE KNOCKING OFF HIS GLASSES AND KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND WITH BRUNO L. RYBICKI in violation of Chapter 38 Section 12-3 Illinois Revised Statute And Against the Peace and Dignity Of The State of Illinois.

/s/ Bruno L. Rybicki 943 W. Maxwell



being first duly sworn, on ____ oath, deposes and says that he has read the foregoing complaint by him subscribed and that the same it true.


The defendant's argument centers upon the phrase, "by striking a police officer in the face knocking off his glasses and knocking him to the ground with Bruno L. Rybicki." He contends that no reasonable construction of this language will yield the conclusion that Bruno Rybicki was the subject of the alleged battery. If anything, he argues, it appears that Bruno Rybicki committed the offense along with the defendant and that the victim was an unidentified police officer. He stresses that the offense of battery must be committed upon an individual (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 38, par. 12-3), and therefore that the identity of the victim is a material element of the offense.

• 1 We find this argument unpersuasive. The function of a complaint is to permit the defendant to prepare his defense, to prevent surprise at trial, and to establish such a record as would permit him to plead a conviction or an acquittal in bar of a subsequent prosecution. (People v. Mahoney (1974), 18 Ill. App.3d 518, 310 N.E.2d 36.) In determining the sufficiency of a complaint it is to be viewed as a whole. People v. Williams (1967), 37 Ill.2d 521, 229 N.E.2d 495.

• 2 We agree that the language in the present complaint is unclear, but we are of the opinion that, when viewed as a whole, it did not prejudice the defendant. Bruno Rybicki is identified as the complainant, and the complaint is signed and verified by him. This was sufficient to inform the defendant that Rybicki was the police officer referred to. (See People v. Grey (1973), 14 Ill. App.3d 310, 302 N.E.2d 473.) Moreover, the defendant never moved to quash the complaint in the trial court or otherwise questioned its sufficiency. Indeed, his principal defense was to deny specifically Rybicki's allegations, indicating that he was fully aware of the identity of the victim of the alleged offense and the nature of the charge against him. We hold therefore that any confusion resulting from the language complained of was inconsequential and that the complaint was sufficient.

The defendant also argues that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because there was no evidence that his contact with Officer Rybicki caused bodily harm. Section 12-3(a) of the Criminal Code ...

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