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People v. Guzzardo

OPINION FILED MARCH 19, 1979.

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

v.

JOHN P. GUZZARDO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. JOHN W. NIELSEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LINDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant-appellant, John P. Guzzardo, hereinafter referred to as the defendant, was found guilty of pandering (section 11-16 of the Criminal Code of 1961, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 11-16) by a Winnebago County jury. He was given a sentence of three years' probation. On appeal he has raised a total of six arguments as possible grounds for reversing his conviction. First he contends the statute under which he was convicted (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 11-16(a)(2)) is unconstitutionally vague. Secondly the defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant's final four contentions concern alleged errors made during the course of the trial. The first of these was an allegedly improper and highly prejudicial statement made during the State's opening argument. The next two issues concern allegedly improper testimony given by two of the State's witnesses, one exceeding the scope of an earlier trial court order, the other involving alleged hearsay. The defendant's final contention is that the trial court committed reversible error by permitting the State to question a witness as a court's witness on one important matter.

After reviewing the record and weighing the arguments presented, we are of the opinion that the judgment of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County must be affirmed.

The relevant facts of this cause begin on December 15, 1976, when two detectives of the Rockford City Police Department, Dale Gulbrantson and Jerry Bast, went to Iowa to return a Ms. Janet Virginia Roberts to Illinois to face a criminal charge. During the return trip, Ms. Roberts made certain statements that caused Detective Gulbrantson to make an informal report to his department recommending that it investigate the possibility of prostitution going on at the Naughty Lady Lounge, a Rockford drinking establishment, owned by the defendant and his brother, Lenny Guzzardo.

As part of the ensuing investigation, Detective Robert Combs, of the Rockford City Police Department, interviewed Ms. Lynn a written statement to the effect that on a previous occasion, approximately six months earlier, the defendant had given her $20 to perform an act of prostitution with another man. Detective Combs then persuaded Ms. Wooten to go to the Naughty Lady Lounge with a radio transmitter concealed on her person. The police intended to record any conversation between Ms. Wooten and the defendant. Ms. Wooten was then driven to the Naughty Lady Lounge where she spent approximately 20 minutes. During that time she had a conversation with the defendant in which the defendant allegedly agreed to provide her with a room in the Lincoln Hotel where she could practice prostitution. In exchange, the defendant was to receive $5 for each of Ms. Wooten's customers. After leaving the Naughty Lady Lounge, Detective Combs took Ms. Wooten back to the Rockford Police Station where she gave a written statement concerning her conversation with the defendant.

Although the conversation between Ms. Wooten and the defendant had been recorded by the police, that recording proved to be inaudible and therefore useless.

The defendant was arrested and charged with pandering (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 11-16). The defendant came to trial on June 28, 1977, before Judge John W. Nielsen. After the jury was impaneled, the defendant made a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Detective Gulbrantson on the grounds that his testimony would contain highly prejudicial hearsay and would concern matters remote and irrelevant to the triable issues of the case. During arguments on this motion, the People made an offer of proof that asserted that Detective Gulbrantson would testify that Ms. Roberts made certain statements that prompted the investigation of the activities going on at the Naughty Lady Lounge. The People's offer of proof made no mention of the content of any of the conversations between the police and Ms. Roberts. More specifically, the offer of proof made no mention of prostitution. While the trial court denied the defendant's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Detective Gulbrantson, it did limit his testimony to the matters contained in the People's offer of proof.

During his opening statement, Bradner C. Riggs, the Assistant State's Attorney, asserted that Ms. Wooten would testify that on a prior occasion the defendant had paid her $20 to perform an act of prostitution with another man. The defendant objected. While the trial court did not rule on the objection, it did inform the jury that opening statements are not evidence and that it was up to the jury to decide whether or not a party had proved all the assertions he made during his opening statements.

As its first witness, the People called Detective Gulbrantson. During his testimony the following colloquy took place between Detective Gulbrantson and Mr. Riggs, the Assistant State's Attorney:

"[Question]: An informal report about what?

[Answer]: About her conversations.

[Question]: What was the purpose in leaving that report?

[An objection which was overruled]

[Answer]: It was reference prostitution inside ...


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