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People v. Woollums





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Adams County; the Hon. RICHARD F. SCHOLZ, JR., Judge, presiding.


Following a jury verdict of guilty in the circuit court of Adams County, defendant Lavada Leon Woollums was sentenced to imprisonment for 3 years 4 months to 10 years for the offense of aggravated battery. He appeals both the conviction and the sentence. We affirm.

The factual background and the chronology of events are out of the ordinary. A Quincy attorney, upon leaving his law office late in the evening hours of September 4, 1973, discovered defendant tampering with his automobile. He returned to his office where he knew several Quincy police officers were conferring with one of his partners. The lawyer and the officers returned to the car. One of the officers, Rost by name, inquired of the defendant concerning his actions. Defendant claimed the car belonged to his brother-in-law whose name Officer Rost requested. Looking at the car registration which he had just obtained from the glove box of the car, defendant gave the name of the lawyer. Rost riposted that this was unusual because the registered owner, i.e., the lawyer, was at this moment standing beside him.

Defendant, apparently concluding that flight would be more fruitful than logic under the circumstances, hit Rost behind the ear and took to his heels with Rost in pursuit. A short distance away defendant lost his footing and while lying on the ground kicked Rost on the right leg. He was subdued by Rost and the other officers.

The next day Rost had a large bruise on the inner aspect of his thigh, a black-and-blue ear, a bruise on the back of his neck, a cut on his nose and a mark around his eye where his glasses were broken in the scuffle with defendant. He did not require medical treatment.

As a result of this encounter, defendant was charged with two Quincy ordinance violations: "Intoxication" and "Interfering with an Officer." The charges were made out on a Uniform Illinois Citation and Complaint Form with the box checked requiring a mandatory court appearance under the Supreme Court Rule then in effect, Rule 551(f) (50 Ill.2d R. 551(f)). Defendant did not sign the portion of the form waiving trial and consenting to an ex parte judgment as further provided in Rule 556(b) (50 Ill.2d R. 556(b)).

On the following day, September 5, 1973, defendant appeared in court, posted $100 cash bail and a trial date of September 26, 1973, was set. Defendant was then released on bond. On the trial date defendant failed to appear and the court entered the following order:

"Defendant called three times, fails to appear and is found to be in default. Ex parte judgment entered herein against the Defendant in the amount of $100.00. It is therefore ordered that the Defendant's cash bond heretofore posted by Defendant shall be applied in satisfaction of the judgment rendered herein."

There ensued an hiatus of 18 months and seven days. On April 2, 1975, defendant was indicted for aggravated battery in that he intentionally and knowingly, without legal justification, caused bodily harm to an individual when he knew the individual harmed to be a peace officer and where the officer was engaged in the execution of his official duties. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(6).

Again there intervened an hiatus of more than 2 1/2 years. A jury trial on the indictment commenced on November 21, 1977, with the resultant verdict of guilty and on December 30, 1977, defendant was sentenced as above described. This appeal followed on January 5, 1978.

Defendant raises five issues on appeal: (1) Double jeopardy under the provisions of the United States and Illinois constitutions, under the provisions of the Illinois Criminal Code and under due process principles; (2) restriction of cross-examination; (3) failure to prove that the officer was "harmed" within the meaning of the statute; (4) application of the Sentencing Act of 1977; and (5) abuse of discretion by the trial court in imposing the maximum sentence.

In order to succeed with the double jeopardy argument defendant must establish that multiple punishments were imposed for the same offense. (North Carolina v. Pearce (1969), 395 U.S. 711, 23 L.Ed.2d 656, 89 S.Ct. 2072; People v. Gray (1977), 69 Ill.2d 44, 370 N.E.2d 797.) This requires a close analysis of the action of the trial court in entering the order of September 26, 1973; not only what was actually done, but also the legal import of that order.

The action must be viewed in the light of the governing rule and statute. The Rule is 556(c) (50 Ill.2d R. 556(c)) which read as follows:

"If a defendant fails to appear on the date set for appearance, or any date to which the case may be continued, and a court appearance is required under Rule 551, bail or security shall be forfeited and the judge may order the filing of a verified ...

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