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People v. Mack

NOVEMBER 26, 1974.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

LEONARD J. MACK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT J. COLLINS, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Leonard J. Mack (hereinafter defendant), after a jury trial in the court below, was found guilty of the offense of attempted rape. In addition, defendant was found not guilty of the charge of burglary. The defendant presented no evidence in the trial court. He was sentenced to a term of 5 to 10 years.

The issues presented for review in defendant's initial brief are:

(1) whether the court below erred in admitting into evidence certain statements made by defendant to the complaining witness;

(2) whether the procedure used by the prosecutor to corroborate the complaining witness's testimony led to the admission of prejudicial evidence;

(3) whether certain testimony relating to the details of the attempted rape was outside the scope of the exception to the hearsay rule in rape cases;

(4) whether the trial court's refusal to instruct the jury on the issue of force constituted prejudicial error; and

(5) whether the evidence presented below showed that defendant took a substantial step toward the commission of the offense of rape.

In addition to the issues just recounted, this court, in reviewing the record presented on appeal in its entirety, after oral argument, raised the question of the legal sufficiency of the information filed by the State against the defendant in the court below, as well as the effect of defendant's waiver of indictment; those questions were nowhere raised by either the defendant or the State in the trial court, in the briefs filed by the respective parties, or upon oral argument of the cause before this court.

• 1 However, notwithstanding, the question whether the charge in a criminal case is legally sufficient is one which brings into scrutiny the jurisdiction of this court to entertain an appeal (People v. Edge (1950), 406 Ill. 490, 494, 94 N.E.2d 359). Moreover, the question will be noticed although it has not been raised by the parties (People v. Nickols (1945), 391 Ill. 565, 570-571, 63 N.E.2d 759). Consequently, subject to the order of this court, the parties to this appeal briefed and argued the legal sufficiency of the information filed by the State and defendant's waiver of indictment, and, in this opinion, we will consider those questions.

In brief, the pertinent facts can be summarized as follows. On September 22, 1968, the complaining witness resided in an apartment in Chicago. She testified that, on the day in question, she retired to bed, without clothing, at approximately 1 A.M. and that, at approximately 6 A.M., she was awakened by a man, later identified as the defendant, who was bending over her, holding a knife at her neck and fondling her breasts; that she asked defendant what he wanted and that defendant responded that he wanted to suck her "titties"; that she told him to get rid of the knife and they would talk about it; that defendant eventually got rid of the knife and that she let him do what he had asked, as he laid down beside her in the bed; that after about five minutes, she asked defendant if she could get out of the bed to make some coffee, which she was permitted to do; that she returned and defendant asked her to lie down in the bed with him; and that thereafter defendant was quiet for a time. According to the complainant $10, which was on a bedside table, was missing upon her return.

Subsequent to these events, the complainant, who was separated from her husband at the time, conversed with the defendant for approximately an hour, during which time defendant said his name was "Earl Lee." Defendant then left the apartment.

After defendant had gone, the complainant phoned her husband to tell him what had happened. She then called the police, and when a police officer arrived, she told him what had happened, in addition to providing him with a description of her attacker.

On October 1, 1968, a man who identified himself as "Earl Lee" came to the complaining witness's front door, at which time she told the man — whom she could not be sure was the same man who had accosted her on September 22 — that he had better leave before her husband came home and shot him. She told ...


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