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People v. Dixon

OPINION FILED MAY 28, 1976.

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

v.

STANLEY DIXON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. CASEY, Judge, presiding. MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of the offense of battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 12-3) and sentenced to serve one year on probation. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred when it: (1) failed to exclude prosecution witnesses, (2) found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and (3) denied his motion for a new trial.

Defendant was charged with having committed two specific acts of battery on July 17, 1974, at 428 East 43rd Street when he intentionally and without legal justification struck two Chicago policemen with his crutch. This appeal is solely concerned with the alleged battery upon Patrolman W. Patterson.

At the commencement of defendant's trial, the State's Attorney moved to exclude all witnesses. The trial court excluded the defense witness and allowed the two complaining policemen to remain. Over defense objection the trial proceeded and the following evidence pertinent to this appeal was adduced.

For the State

Paul Price

He is a Chicago police officer. On July 17, 1974, at approximately 11:45 p.m., he dispersed certain disorderly persons near 428 East 43rd Street. After he had arrested two people at 456 East 43rd Street, he walked back towards 428 while his partner, Officer Patterson, backed their squad car down the street. As the light from the squad car crossed defendant's face, defendant said "get that m____ f____ light out of my eye." Thereupon, Price approached defendant and advised him that he was under arrest. As he reached for defendant's arm to assist him into the squad car, defendant struck him across the chest with his crutch. When Officer Patterson attempted to assist him, defendant struck Patterson with the crutch. After a short scuffle defendant was subdued and was taken to the hospital for treatment of some minor injuries he sustained.

Officer Patterson

He corroborated the prior testimony of Officer Price.

For defendant

Bobbie Jones

He was shooting pool at 428 East 43rd Street at the time of this incident. He observed the police arrest two people. He saw defendant walking west on 43rd Street. When defendant was only three to four feet from the window where he was standing, the driver of the squad car jumped out of the vehicle and hit defendant in the forehead. Defendant's head was bleeding. The policeman grabbed defendant's crutch and defendant fell to the ground. The policeman knocked defendant's glasses off and then stepped on them. Defendant neither swung his crutch nor struck either officer.

On cross-examination he could not recall which officer was driving the squad car. He did not hear what was being said outside. He described the pool hall window as being two feet wide, but specifically denied that the bottom half of the window was painted or that there were pop machines in front of the window.

Defendant Stanley Dixon on his own behalf

On July 17, 1974, he was employed but on disability because he had rheumatoid arthritis in his hip and had undergone corrective foot surgery. As he was leaving the neighborhood after visiting some friends, he passed the scene of the disturbance. He never stopped walking as he passed the crowd. When he came to the pool hall the police shined a light in his face. He said "will you remove the light from my eye" because he could not see straight. He denied saying "get the m____ f____ light out of my eye." The officer driving the vehicle jumped out, said "you are ...


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