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People v. Brown

SEPTEMBER 10, 1975.

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

v.

CHRIS CHARLES BROWN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. KENNETH R. WENDT, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DIERINGER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a judgment entered by the Circuit Court of Cook County. Following a bench trial, the defendant was found guilty of rape. He was sentenced to a term of 4 to 12 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

The issues presented on appeal are (1) whether the defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offense of rape; (2) whether there was sufficient corroborative evidence to establish the defendant's guilt; and (3) whether the trial court's remarks while finding the defendant guilty were improper.

On August 20, 1971, Miss Larry Jean Clark resided alone in an apartment at 56 North Laramie Street in Chicago. Miss Clark had worked until midnight, August 19, then had stopped at a bar for a beer with two girlfriends from work. She arrived at home alone at approximately 3 a.m. Miss Clark entered her apartment through the front door and immediately locked the door. She removed all of her clothing except a pair of panties. She went into the kitchen and prepared a sandwich, then went into the living room, turned on her record player and sat down to relax.

Shortly after sitting down, Miss Clark heard a noise, then saw a man enter the living room from the kitchen area, where the apartment's back door was located. The man was nude except for a woman's stocking which was over his head. The man, whom Miss Clark identified in court as the defendant, Chris Charles Brown, carried a knife and told Miss Clark not to scream or he would kill her.

The defendant approached Miss Clark and asked her for money. She said she had none and emptied her purse so defendant could see for himself that she had no money. Defendant sorted through the contents of the purse with one hand while holding the knife in his other hand. The defendant then asked Miss Clark where the bedroom was located. She pointed in its direction, then asked the defendant if she could finish eating her sandwich. Defendant allowed her to finish the sandwich, standing over her while she ate. Miss Clark asked if she could have a drink of water and defendant told her she could not. He then pushed her toward the bedroom by poking her in the back with the knife.

After entering the bedroom, the defendant pushed Miss Clark onto the bed, closed the door, and took off her panties. Defendant told her he still had the knife and not to try anything. Defendant had sexual intercourse with Miss Clark for two or three minutes. He then got up and left the bedroom. A few seconds later Miss Clark heard running footsteps on the roof.

Miss Clark got dressed, ran downstairs and flagged down a police car on Laramie Street. She told the policeman in the car she had been raped. The officer told her he was on traffic patrol and she should telephone the police station. Miss Clark then went to the apartment of a friend, Richard Curry, who lived in the same building as Miss Clark. Miss Clark called the police and then she and Mr. Curry returned to her apartment.

Upon returning to her apartment, Miss Clark saw two "Salem" brand cigarette butts in her ash tray. Neither Miss Clark nor Mr. Curry smoked that brand. She also noticed a long piece of green material on the floor.

Shortly thereafter, two police officers arrived and took Miss Clark to Cook County Hospital, where she was examined. The examination showed the presence of sperm. While at the hospital, Miss Clark discussed her attack with Investigator James Sesso and other police officers.

Investigator Sesso and Officer Clyde Craig drove Miss Clark home from the hospital and searched her apartment. The policemen discovered the strike plate had been removed from the jam of the rear door of the victim's apartment. Miss Clark showed the policemen the piece of green cloth which she had previously discovered. The officers examined the back porch of Miss Clark's apartment. Investigator Sesso observed a ladder built into the side of the building. The ladder led to a skylight which was open. Sesso climbed the ladder and crossed the roof of the building to another open skylight, which he climbed through, using a ladder which was under the skylight. Investigator Sesso subsequently knocked on the door of a nearby apartment. The defendant, who was identified by Sesso at trial, answered the door. He was wearing green underwear of silk-type material. While Investigator Sesso was questioning the defendant, Miss Clark and Officer Craig arrived. Immediately upon seeing the defendant, Miss Clark said, "That is the man that did it." The defendant was then placed under arrest. The defendant and the policemen went inside defendant's apartment so he could get dressed. While inside the apartment, Investigator Sesso saw a piece of material similar to that found in Miss Clark's apartment.

The defendant denied raping Miss Clark. At trial he introduced the testimony of his mother, Annie Mae Brown, who stated she shared the Laramie Street apartment with her son on the date of the crime. Mrs. Brown testified the defendant was home and asleep at the time the alleged crime occurred. Defendant took the stand and corroborated the testimony of his mother.

At the close of the evidence, the trial judge found the defendant guilty of rape and sentenced him to a term of 4 to 12 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

The defendant first contends he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offense of rape. In support of his contention, the defendant argues the testimony of the victim was unconstitutional, vague and unbelievable; the police investigation was so abbreviated as to violate due process; and the ...


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