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People v. Carter

OPINION FILED AUGUST 13, 1976.

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

v.

PHILLIP CARTER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

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

Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted of the offense of armed robbery in violation of section 18-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 18-2) and sentenced to serve four to eight years in the penitentiary. On appeal, he contends he was denied a fair trial by the ineffective assistance of counsel.

On April 17, 1974, Walter Fields filed a criminal complaint charging that defendant took $200, a television, a wristwatch, and a revolver from him at gunpoint on February 24, 1974, at 3652 South Indiana. At defendant's preliminary hearing, an arresting officer testified that he advised defendant of his constitutional rights before defendant admitted being at the scene with a toy gun and taking $98 and a wristwatch. On cross-examination, the officer repeated those rights, but failed to state that defendant's right to an attorney included a right to have an attorney during his interrogation.

The following pertinent evidence was adduced at trial.

For the State

Walter Fields

At 8 a.m. on February 24, 1974, he was playing cards with Eddie Benson in his basement apartment at 3652 South Indiana. Defendant, whom he had known for about two or three months, and another man entered the apartment and defendant stated he wanted to shoot $5 in a dice game. Defendant was not a very good card player or dice shooter. After defendant lost his money, defendant displayed a gun, picked up the money and announced, "This is a stickup." Defendant then fired a shot into the west wall of the apartment and said, "I want the money and I mean business." Defendant reached into Field's pocket and took "maybe a hundred dollars." After ransacking Field's bedroom, defendant also took a television and a revolver. Defendant told him and Benson to drop their pants to see if they had more money or any other weapons. The entire incident took approximately 20 minutes. After defendant left, he called the police. He admitted he was testifying under subpoena and that he wanted to drop charges because defendant's mother had given him $400, the approximate value of the property. He denied using his apartment for business, but admitted that the police had raided his apartment on four or five occasions. He had never discussed lending money to defendant.

Officer Fred Johnson, a Chicago Police Department Investigator

During his interrogation of defendant at the police station, defendant admitted to being at the scene with a toy gun and taking $98 and a wristwatch. When he visited Field's apartment, he saw a bullet hole in the west wall. Defendant never mentioned asking Fields for a loan.

Officer Robert Napier, a Chicago Police Department Investigator

He corroborated his partner Johnson's account of defendant's confession. Defendant additionally denied taking a gun and television. He could not recall defendant ever saying he asked Fields for a loan.

Thereafter, the prosecutor moved to adjourn the cause for the day to allow the State to secure an additional occurrence witness, Edward Benson. He would not represent that the State could locate Benson nor that Benson would be a valuable witness to the State even if located. Defense counsel initially opposed the motion on the ground that Benson's testimony would be repetitious. However, when the prosecutor suggested defendant stipulate that Benson, if called, would testify substantially the same as Fields, defense counsel agreed to so stipulate to everything except Benson's veracity.

After the State rested, defense counsel moved to discharge defendant, but offered no specific reasons. ...


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