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People v. Mays





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRED SURIA, Judge, presiding.


Defendants were each charged by information with one count of armed robbery. A jury found both defendants guilty and they were sentenced to terms of four to six years. On appeal defendants contend that: (1) they were denied their right to a fair trial because of repeated suggestions made at trial that they had committed other crimes; (2) the complaining witness' testimony was insufficient to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (3) the court improperly admitted hearsay evidence of the complaining witness' out-of-court identification of defendants; and (4) they were denied their right to a fair trial because of the comments made by the prosecutors in their closing arguments. We affirm. The pertinent facts follow.

Valerie Jones testified for the State. She now lives in Florida. On August 4, 1976, she was living with her parents at 669 East 38th Street in Chicago and worked at an office in the downtown area. Shortly after 7 a.m., as she was walking east on the north side of 38th Street toward Cottage Grove to catch a bus for work, she was approached by a man whom she identified at trial as defendant William Harris. Harris crossed 38th Street and came up to her on her right side, grabbed her right arm and showed her a black, square-shaped gun which he was carrying under a newspaper in his right hand. Valerie Jones said, "What's this?" and Harris told her to come with him, still holding her arm as they went down a broad sidewalk, opposite a playground, to a porch at the back of another apartment building. As they were walking, she noticed another young man, whom she identified as defendant, Gregory Mays, following behind them as they approached the porch, where Harris let go of her arm.

Mays reached into her handbag and removed her coin purse, which contained a $10 bill, a few singles and some change. He returned the coin purse after he emptied it and then removed Valerie Jones' wristwatch from her arm. Harris asked if she had anything else, and Valerie Jones gave him her wallet, which contained $130, some credit cards and her driver's license. Upon obtaining the wallet, Harris and Mays ran west down the sidewalk, cutting through the building at 727 East 38th Street.

Valerie Jones ran out into the street and back home, where she immediately called the police. Officer Alfred Kirk and his partner responded to the call and came to the apartment. She related the incident to them, described the men who had robbed her and told them what had been taken. At about 10 a.m., she again called the police and the same officers returned. She gave the police the names of the men who had robbed her and added that her watch had also been stolen from her.

Later that same day Valerie Jones saw Mays standing in front of the building at 727 East 38th Street and called the police, but they did not respond to the call. She did see a patrol car in the area about half an hour later, but she no longer saw Mays in the area. About two weeks later she saw Harris across the street from her apartment but did not call the police, remembering that they hadn't come when she had reported seeing Mays.

Valerie Jones testified that as she was returning home from work between 5 and 6 p.m. on August 24, she noticed numerous police cars and a crowd of people in front of her apartment. Once inside the apartment, she looked out the window and saw Harris and Mays, who were being taken into custody by the police along with a third man. She then called several police stations, asking if they had just arrested three men. Having found out where they were taken, she went to the police station, where she was questioned by police, viewed a lineup composed of five black men, and identified Harris and Mays as the men who had robbed her.

Valerie Jones also testified that she did not know the name of either Harris or Mays before the robbery on August 4, that she had never dated either defendant, and that she did not recall that her sister Angela had ever dated either one.

On cross-examination Valerie Jones testified that the entire incident took approximately five minutes and that there was not much traffic and few people around the 727 building at the time. She did not really notice who had been playing at the playground. She was shown a picture which included Mays and her brother and said she had shown the picture to the police the second time they came to her home on the day of the robbery. She had learned the names of her assailants after describing them to her sister. Valerie also testified that she did not have a conversation with Mays in which she told him to stop dating her sister and that she had never had a Master Charge credit card and none was taken from her.

Officer Michael Cozzi testified that he was assigned to the tactical unit as a plainclothes officer on August 24, 1976, when he arrested Harris, Mays and a third man. Cozzi received a phone call at the police station, after which Valerie Jones came to the station with another woman. On cross-examination he testified that no weapon was found when defendants were searched upon their arrest.

Robbery investigator Thomas Grady testified that he and his partner, Richard Crowley, were called to the police station at 29th and Prairie on August 24, 1976, where they met Valerie Jones and Officer Cozzi and his partner in the tactical unit's room. Valerie Jones was taken to an interrogation room while Grady went to the lockup to get five prisoners for a lineup. She identified two of the men. Grady was later recalled over defendants' objections and testified that Valerie had identified both Harris and Mays at the lineup.

Officer Alfred Kirk, Jr., testified that he and his partner, Officer Hubert, answered a radio call at about 7:30 a.m. on August 4, 1976, and went to Valerie Jones' apartment to talk to her. They returned later that day and only talked to Valerie at the time. On cross-examination Officer Kirk testified that one of the credit cards she reported as stolen was a Masters card, not a Master Charge card. He did not receive any information regarding her driver's license and was told about her watch on his second visit to her home. When he went to Valerie's apartment the second time, she gave him the names of her assailants and said she knew them from the neighborhood.

Investigator Grady was called as a defense witness and testified that he had obtained his information about Valerie Jones' credit cards from Officer Kirk's report and that she did not tell him how many cards were taken. She did tell Grady about her watch and how much money was taken, but did not mention her driver's license to him. Grady did not contact Sears, Master Charge, American Express or the Secretary of State.

Deborah Patterson testified that she had been Mays' girlfriend since June 1976 and that she knows Harris and recognizes Valerie Jones from the neighborhood. Ms. Patterson also knows Valerie's sister Angela who, she said, used to be Mays' girlfriend. During the summer of 1976 she saw Mays almost daily, but not in the mornings, and saw Mays with Harris three or four times a week. She never saw Mays with Valerie and had seen Angela with him only once. She also testified that Mays also used the last name of "Patterson" and that Harris was also known as "Red."

Defendant Gregory Mays testified that he had lived at 727 East 38th Street for 15 years and had moved in 1975. He identified the photograph that had been shown to Valerie Jones as an eighth-grade class picture which included both him and her brother David. He had gone to the home of Valerie Jones' family a few days prior to trial before she arrived from Florida and had talked with Angela and David. He had known Angela for 2 1/2 years and she was his girlfriend. Mays testified that he had spoken with Valerie in late July or early August of 1976 at a local park and she told him to stay away from Angela. Angela was elsewhere in the park at the time. Mays said that he saw Valerie almost every day as she passed by a local gathering place called the "rock" on her way home from work. He also saw David nearly every day during the summer of 1976.

On cross-examination Mays testified that he had dated Angela from late June to mid-August of 1976, although he never picked her up at home. He had been inside her family's apartment four or five times, however, but all such visits were made since his arrest and Valerie was never there at the same time. Valerie spoke to him twice about Angela but he did not talk to Angela about it. He would speak to Valerie as she passed the "rock" but he was never in her immediate presence when he was with Angela. He also testified that at the time of his arrest he had a letter in his pocket that was addressed to Michael Patterson, who is Deborah Patterson's brother. He never told the police his name is Michael Patterson. Mays has known Harris for about seven years and they are good friends. Mays further testified that he did maintenance work at an apartment building in DesPlaines during the summer of 1976, but he did not work on August 4, 1976, and did not remember anything about that day.

William Harris testified that he was not employed on the day of the robbery, that the earliest he ever awakened was 9 a.m. for an appointment at the unemployment office, and that he was not awake at 7 a.m. that day. He did not remember anything about August 3 or 4. He also testified that he knows Valerie Jones by sight and that he also knows Angela and David. He stated that he does not own a gun and that he did not rob Valerie.

Officer Michael Grillo, Officer Cozzi's partner, testified in rebuttal that Mays gave his name and address as Michael Patterson of 727 East 38th Street when he was arrested. Harris gave his address as 4816 South Evans. When Mays was searched after being taken into custody, no letter or other property was found in his possession.

Officer Cozzi gave rebuttal testimony that Mays gave the name of Michael Patterson when he was arrested. Cozzi also testified in surrebuttal that he and his partner did not go directly to the police station after placing Harris and Mays under arrest but instead stopped for about a minute at another location in the area.

Following closing arguments and the instruction of the jury, the jury returned guilty verdicts against both defendants. After sentencing and the denials of ...

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