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People v. Dawson

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 16, 1978.

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

v.

HENRY DAWSON, A/K/A CHRISTOPHER RAINEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. JOHN J. HOBAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JONES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Henry Dawson, was convicted of armed robbery after a trial by jury. The only issue on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion in failing to grant defendant's motion in limine for an order of court that would restrict the State's cross-examination of him if he should take the stand to testify in rebuttal to a portion of the State's evidence. The background of defendant's motion is that one of the victims of the robbery testified that one of the two persons who robbed him was dressed in a black and white striped shirt. A police officer who stopped the getaway car and arrested two of its three occupants testified that the third occupant who escaped the car and arrest was wearing a black and white striped shirt. The defendant's motion in limine was that he be allowed to take the stand and rebut this testimony by stating what when arrested he was wearing a pink shirt without being subjected to a general cross-examination by the State. The motion sought an order that would limit cross-examination by the State to his testimony on direct. The motion was denied.

The entire transcript of the in-chambers hearing on said motion is as follows:

"THE COURT: Make your motion for the record.

MR. HAY: Your Honor, I would like to request the court to enter an order that if the defendant decides to take the witness stand only as a rebuttal witness, and testify as to the type of shirt, the color of shirt, when he was arrested, that it is beyond the scope of cross-examination as to any other issues and that his failure to testify on any other matters could not be used against him in Closing Arguments.

MR. AGUIRRE: Strenuously I object to that if he takes the stand.

THE COURT: The defendant is in a unique position, Mr. Hay. I think when they take the witness stand, they immediately open the door for extensive cross-examination by the prosecution, and if you wanted to limit it to that, —

MR. HAY: I would also — he could be impeached in formal manner in the convictions around —

MR. AGUIRRE: Your Honor, I don't see how there could be any self imposed. This is like a blanket immunity.

THE COURT: Quite frankly, I think it would work to the defendant's disadvantage.

MR. HAY: I would like to make an offer of proof. The defendant would testify that the shirt he was wearing when he was arrested was not a black and white striped shirt but was a pink shirt, mostly pink, blue and pink with some white in it. And this was the same shirt that he wore when he was taken to St. Clair County Jail and the receipt from the St. Clair County Jail shows one pink shirt. That is the only shirt itemized.

THE COURT: Can't you prove that by some other evidence and not risk to put him on? I don't want to dictate.

MR. HAY: He was taken to jail the 10th of September, and we have to show somehow he wasn't given ...


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