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People v. Doyle





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES M. BAILEY, Judge, presiding.


The defendants, Clifford Doyle, Jr., and Ernest J. Bramlett, were indicted for armed robbery and rape. A jury found each defendant not guilty of armed robbery but found each defendant guilty of rape. Bramlett was sentenced to 5 to 15 years and Doyle was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. The only issues on review are:

(1) whether the trial court's failure to appoint separate defense counsel for the two defendants was error, the defendants being represented by the same court-appointed public defender in a joint trial;

(2) whether admission of testimony by a police officer that one defendant after his arrest said he was home when the crime occurred was prejudicial error, since that defendant did not testify and therefore could not be cross-examined by the other defendant.

No issue is raised as to the sufficiency of the evidence or as to the sentences imposed.

We find no prejudicial error and affirm.

While the defendants do not contend that the evidence was insufficient, a statement of the testimony is necessary to an understanding of the issues and their resolution.

Jeffrey Mardis, 19 at the time of trial, testified that he and his nine siblings were sleeping in their apartment at 5323 South Federal, Chicago, the Robert Taylor housing project, at 6 a.m., Friday, December 13, 1974. Jeffrey was sleeping in the front room, while the others were in the four bedrooms. His father did not live there and his mother was in the hospital. At that hour he was awakened by a knock on the door. After ascertaining that it was the defendant, Clifford Doyle, whom he knew as a friend, Jeffrey opened the door and permitted Doyle to enter. A stranger, later identified as the defendant, Ernest Bramlett, accompanied Doyle. Bramlett said, "This is a stickup" and put a gun to the back of Jeffrey's head. Doyle went into one of the bedrooms where four sisters, Vanessa, 16, Tanya, 14, Sandra, 7, and Cherry, 5, were sleeping and shut the door behind him. Bramlett then took Jeffrey to another bedroom where Jeffrey's brothers, Carl, 17, and Paul, 17, were sleeping. Bramlett told them not to come out of the room so that nothing would happen to them; he said he had killed a person once before. Bramlett then left the room. Jeffrey heard his sister, Vanessa, crying. About an hour later, Bramlett told them they could come out of the room after they heard the front door close. When Jeffrey heard the front door close, he went to use the phone but the cord was cut so he went next door to call an aunt.

Carl and Paul likewise testified that Bramlett wielded a gun and made threats, and that they heard their sister screaming. Carl added that Doyle was related to two of the children.

Vanessa, 16 years old at the time of the incident, testified that she had been sleeping in her bedroom with three sisters. She was in a dress, as was her custom. She awakened, and saw Doyle sitting on the other bed. He asked her if she knew anything about killing. She said no and went to the door. Doyle pushed her backward with a knife. He told her that if she refused to have sexual intercourse with him something would happen to her brothers. He then opened the door so she could see Bramlett standing in the hallway with a gun. Doyle ordered her to lie on the bed and he penetrated her vagina. To smother her screaming, Bramlett came into the room and put a rag or towel in her mouth.

During the rape, Tanya was in the other bed. Sandra and Cherry joined her there after Doyle came in. Tanya testified that Doyle did indeed come into the room, that Vanessa went towards the door, that Doyle pushed Vanessa back with a knife, that he told her to lie on the bed, that she cried, that he lay on top of her, and that Doyle told Tanya to put her head under the covers. She was, however, able to see Bramlett enter and stick a rag in Vanessa's mouth. After about 30 minutes, Doyle called Bramlett into the room. Bramlett told Vanessa to come to the door, and Bramlett, Doyle, and Vanessa left the room. Doyle returned and told Tanya that he had "busted [her] sister wide open." Then he left.

Vanessa testified further that Bramlett then took her into her mother's bedroom, where no one was present, ordered her to lie on the bed, and proceeded to rape her. When he got up, he said, "[L]ook, you got blood all over me." She said she was sorry. Doyle came into the room and told her to wash herself. In the washroom she turned on the faucet, but did not wash, in anticipation of a medical examination; she watched television a lot and knew that after one has sex against one's will you go to the hospital so they can take a smear. Then she was sent to the bedroom where Jeffrey, Carl, and Paul were. After they left, she could see the cut telephone cord, and Jeffrey called their aunt.

Police Officer Kutianski, who received the radio call, observed when he arrived that the cord connecting the receiver to the telephone had been cut. The rest of the apartment was not in disarray. He saw no bottles or cans. He did not notice any odor of alcohol or smoke. He immediately transported Vanessa to Billings Hospital.

Vanessa was examined by Dr. Joseph Bremer. She told him that she was forced at knifepoint to have intercourse with two different men. She believed the one to be 24 years old and the other one she did not know. He testified that he found fresh blood on the right thigh, a laceration of the perineum which is that portion of the body between the entrance to the vagina and the anus and two ...

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