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People v. Lee

APRIL 8, 1975.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL E. STRAYHORN, Judge, presiding.


Defendant-appellant, Tony Lee (hereinafter defendant), was arrested on 20 May 1972. His preliminary hearing was set for 15 June 1972. On that date, the public defender was appointed to represent him at that hearing, and the hearing was continued to 6 July 1972 on motion of the State. On 6 July 1972 the preliminary hearing was held and, on a finding of probable cause, defendant was bound over to the grand jury. There is no disagreement between the parties that defendant's fourth-term rights are to be computed from 6 July 1972. On 30 October 1972 (the 116th day of the 120-day period involved), defendant was indicted for the armed robbery, aggravated battery, and unlawful restraint of one Willie Ford on 10 May 1972. On the following day (31 October 1972), defendant was arraigned; the public defender was appointed to represent him as trial counsel; defendant pleaded not guilty to all three charges; the cause was assigned for trial; and the State was granted a trial continuance to 2 November 1972.

On 2 November 1972 (the 119th day of the 120-day period involved), defendant, although advised by his appointed counsel that the latter was not as well prepared for trial as he would have wished to be, insisted on going to trial that day and waived a jury. The bench trial began that day.

At the trial, Willie Ford testified for the People that, at about 7:30 P.M. of 10 May 1972, he left his house to go to a choir practice. At the intersection of 39th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, he stopped his car for a red light. A male person (later identified as Bernick McReynolds, a juvenile) was standing at the corner and came over to the car and asked directions. The witness could not understand McReynolds so the witness drove across the intersection on the green light and then curbed his car, whereupon McReynolds followed and approached on the driver's side of the car. When the witness opened the car window a few inches, McReynolds pulled out a black automatic pistol and put the nose of the pistol in the window. He told the witness to open the door and move over to the passenger seat or else he would kill him. When the witness complied, McReynolds then got into the driver's seat and drove the car to the corner of 42nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. At that corner another man got into the passenger front seat so that the witness was then sitting between the two men. The witness identified the second man as the defendant.

When defendant got into the car, he pulled out a knife with a long curved blade and put the knife to the witness' side. McReynolds then drove the car to a bar called The New Mix in the vicinity of 51st Street and Prairie Avenue. There McReynolds double-parked the car, gave his gun to defendant, and went into the bar apparently in search of some girls in order to make the group look less suspicious. Defendant held the gun on the witness. McReynolds returned alone and proceeded to drive the car to the Oakwood Avenue section of the lakefront (approximately 3900 south). There the two men took the witness out of the car. Defendant beat the witness with the gun and hit him in the face. McReynolds cut the witness with the knife and also hit him in the face with his fist. The witness surrendered to defendant the four dollars which he had on his person. Defendant then took the witness' wallet and went through it. In the wallet the witness had a traffic ticket which he was driving on in lieu of his driver's license; defendant took the traffic ticket.

The two assailants then ordered the witness to get into the back seat of the car on the floor. Defendant also got into the back seat and held the gun on the witness. The two then decided to put the witness into the trunk of the car. McReynolds opened the trunk, and defendant ordered the witness into the trunk. The men then drove off in the car. The witness attempted to pry open the lock of the trunk with a tire iron which was in the trunk.

After a short time, the car stopped. The two men greeted a third individual and asked him to accompany them, which he did. Defendant and McReynolds then had a discussion about the traffic ticket and, when McReynolds was unable to produce the ticket, defendant and the third individual left the car. McReynolds then drove the car to an alley between Cottage Grove Avenue and Drexel Boulevard on 42nd Street, where he got out of the car. The witness then succeeded in prying open the lock of the trunk, and he got out of the trunk and ran away from the car. The witness stopped a policeman, who drove him to the place where the car had been parked, but the car was gone. The policeman summoned a second police car which took the witness to Michael Reese Hospital, where he was treated and released after about an hour.

Two plainclothes police investigators then took a statement from the witness, and drove him around the area involved to see if he could locate his car. While they were driving, the witness saw his car being driven by McReynolds. The police gave chase. In his flight, McReynolds struck a parked car. The collision halted the witness' car and threw McReynolds out of it, and left him lying on the ground, where he was apprehended and identified by the witness.

At the time of this collision between the witness' car and the parked car, a Volkswagen had been sandwiched in between the witness' car and the pursuing police car. The driver of the Volkswagen started to run from the scene on foot but was apprehended by the police officers.

On 20 May 1972 the police officers again drove the witness around the area to see if the witness could locate the second assailant. As they drove around the area, the witness saw and pointed out defendant as the second assailant, and the police immediately arrested defendant.

On cross-examination, it developed that the person who had been driving the Volkswagen was one Carl Avery. The witness thought he had been charged with carrying a gun. The witness had not seen Avery during the occurrence of the robbery and beating. The first time the witness saw defendant after the incident was on 20 May 1972, when defendant was pointed out and arrested.

On the night of the robbery, the witness had given a description of each of the two men who had robbed him. One was a male Negro, 5'9" tall, wearing a black jacket and red corduroy pants; he was approximately 20 years old and had a medium brown complexion. The other individual was also about 5'8" or 9" tall and was wearing a green jacket and blue pants; he was also approximately 20 years old.

The witness denied ever having gone to defendant's house or ever having told defendant not to go to Juvenile Court to testify on behalf of McReynolds. In fact, the witness denied knowing where defendant lived.

The witness stated that the knife used in the incident was found with McReynolds; McReynolds was the assailant wearing the green jacket and blue pants. A gun had been found in Avery's car which looked like the one used in the robbery.

On redirect examination the witness testified that he could see defendant clearly when defendant got into the car. The witness was sitting shoulder to shoulder between the two assailants. His view was unobstructed and the interior car light was operational. The witness never saw the face of ...

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