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People v. Grant

OPINION FILED APRIL 23, 1976.

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

v.

WILLIE GRANT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WALTER J. KOWALSKI, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to a term of 5 to 15 years. On appeal, he contends that (1) it was reversible error to allow the prosecution to introduce prior statements of the complaining witness which were inconsistent with his trial testimony; (2) he was denied the right to effective assistance of counsel; (3) the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and (4) certain alleged errors individually or in totality were plain, prejudicial and reversible.

On a late summer afternoon James Nesbitt purchased food stamps worth $96 at a currency exchange. He placed them in an envelope, which he put in his pocket. Then, accompanied by a friend, he proceeded through an alley towards his home. Suddenly someone "jumped on" his back, forcing him to his knees. The assailant reached into his pocket, took the envelope containing the food stamps, and ran from the scene. Nesbitt and his friend searched the alley but did not find his assailant.

In his direct testimony, Nesbitt said that later that day he saw defendant in a police car, and he then answered questions as follows:

"Q. What, if anything, did you do or say when you went up to the police car?

A. I looked over in the car and I seen the stamps, I say, `Look, my stamps.'

Q. And what else did you say, if anything?

A. No more than I say, `I think them my stamps.'

Q. And did you tell the police anything, was there anything in the police car at that time?

A. Wasn't more in there than him.

Q. Who are you referring to?

A. Willie Grant.

Q. He was in the police car?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you tell the police anything concerning Willie Grant?

A. I say looked like him.

A. Pardon me?

A. I told them looked like the man got my stamps."

He testified also that the State's exhibit 1, an envelope, was similar to the one containing his food stamps and that the State's exhibit 2, food stamps worth $96 which were in the envelope, looked like the ones he had purchased that day.

On direct examination, he testified concerning a conversation with defendant after the incident in question as follows:

"Q. Do you recall the place where you were at when Mr. Grant came up ...


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