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People v. Mosley





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WILLIAM COUSINS, JR., Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, defendants were each convicted of robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-1) and sentenced to terms of three to nine years. On appeal, they contend that the trial court committed prejudicial error when it restricted their cross-examination of the occurrence witness and admitted hearsay testimony. Additionally, defendant Chalmers contends that the court erred when it refused to grant a continuance to allow him to file a petition for treatment as a drug addict.

The following pertinent evidence was adduced at trial.

For the State

Michael J. Dolan, Chicago Police Officer

On May 4, 1977, at approximately 7:30 p.m., he and his partner, Patrolman Soristo, both wearing plain clothes, were driving west on Montrose in an unmarked car. As they approached the intersection of Kenmore and Montrose, he observed, approximately 20 feet west of the intersection, an "older" white male on his hands and knees, attempting to get up. Defendants, who were the people nearest to the man, were walking away from him, going east on Montrose and then turning south on Kenmore. After he pulled the police car up to the curb, he and his partner approached the man, who was now on his feet. The man asked them if they were police officers, and when they said that they were, he pointed to Kenmore, where defendants were walking, and said, "Those three men just robbed me." He and his partner drew their weapons and ran down the street after defendants who were 65-75 feet away. Defendants looked over their shoulders, and then walked from the sidewalk onto a grass parkway. One of the defendants, who subsequently identified himself as Terry Patterson, dropped a wallet to the ground. They ordered defendants to halt, caught up to them, and placed them under arrest. He picked up the wallet which defendant Patterson had dropped, and saw that it contained $3 and the identification of Michael Sylvester, the victim. They searched the defendants and recovered a "claw type" hammer from defendant Chalmers. They also searched the surrounding area. They found Sylvester's keys, but did not find his glasses or any additional money. He noticed that there was a sewer hole right where they took defendants into custody, and a small utility hole nearby in the street. The parties were all transported to the 23rd district police station. At the station, Sylvester showed him a large lump on the back of his head.

On cross-examination, he conceded that the case and arrest reports do not state that when Michael Sylvester was first noticed he was on the ground, but do state that Sylvester flagged the police down. He also conceded that the reports do not indicate that he saw a lump on the back of Sylvester's head, and refer to the $3 as being "seized from Terry Patterson." He acknowledged that one of the reports said that when interviewed, Sylvester said that he was about to enter a building when three male Negroes came up from behind and struck him on the head with a hammer.

Michael Sylvester, complaining witness

On May 4, 1977, at approximately 7:30 p.m. he was walking westward toward his home on 1050 West Montrose. As he crossed Kenmore, defendant Mosley grabbed him by the neck, while defendants Patterson and Chalmers stood at his sides and went through his pockets. They took approximately $44 that he had in his wallet plus $3 in some change that he had in his pocket. They also took his keys and his glasses, which he found by the curb on his way to work the following morning. One of them hit him on the head with something, and he got a lump on his head. After they took his things, Mosley knocked him to the ground, and the three of them walked away. The police then arrived, and he told them that defendants had robbed him. The police arrested the defendants, and they all went to the police station. There, the police showed him a hammer and his wallet which was taken from him.

On cross-examination, he denied being charged with deceptive practices in November of 1973. He did not remember testifying on May 5, 1977, a day after the occurrence, that he had $6 or $7 in his pocket.

It was stipulated that if Ann Hieber were called, she would testify that she is an official court reporter, and, at a hearing held on this cause on May 5, 1977, she heard Michael Sylvester testify that the robbers took $6 or $7 which he had in his pocket.


Defendants first contend that they did not receive a fair trial because the trial court erroneously restricted their cross-examination of the victim, Michael Sylvester. The error allegedly occurred when the trial court sustained the State's objections to defense counsel's questions, on cross-examination of Sylvester, as to whether he recalled being charged with deceptive practices, and whether there was a warrant out for his arrest for a bond forfeiture. Defendants argue that by sustaining the objections, the trial court prevented them from showing "the bias or undue pressure" out of which the witness testified, and thereby denied them a fair trial.

• 1, 2 We reject this argument. The scope of cross-examination is a matter within the trial court's discretion, and a court of review will not find reversible error because of unduly restricted cross-examination unless there was a clear abuse of discretion resulting in manifest prejudice to defendants. (People v. Hubbard (1973), 55 Ill.2d 142, 302 N.E.2d 609; People v. Yancey (1978), 57 Ill. App.3d 256, 372 N.E.2d 1069.) When a witness' character is attacked for purposes of impeachment, only convictions may be proved, and proof of arrests, indictments, charges, or the actual commission of a crime are not admissible. (People v. Mason (1963), 28 Ill.2d 396, 192 N.E.2d 835.) However, the fact that a witness has been arrested or charged with a crime may be shown or ...

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