Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Smith

OPINION FILED JANUARY 23, 1980.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

LEE ARTHUR SMITH, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court MR. JUSTICE MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In each of two separate jury trials before different trial judges in the circuit court of Kankakee County, the defendant, Lee Arthur Smith, was convicted of robbery and intimidation. In the first case, which involved a Montgomery Ward (Ward) store, the defendant was sentenced to 6 to 20 years for robbery and to a concurrent sentence of 3 to 10 years for intimidation. In the second case, which involved a K Mart store, the defendant was sentenced to 6 2/3 to 20 years for robbery and to a concurrent term of 3 1/3 to 10 years for intimidation. In entering sentence in the K Mart case, the trial court directed that those sentences were to be served consecutively to the sentences entered in the Ward case. The appellate court affirmed both robbery convictions but vacated the intimidation convictions, holding that intimidation is a lesser included offense of robbery. (66 Ill. App.3d 957.) We granted the defendant leave to appeal.

The defendant contends that (1) the offense of robbery was not established since there was no taking from the victim's person or presence; (2) the trial court, in the Ward case, improperly excluded the testimony of a defense witness, Randy Wicks, which testimony would have impeached the credibility of a State's witness, Glenn Dickerson; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in ordering consecutive sentences for the two convictions.

The State seeks cross relief contending that the appellate court erred in holding that intimidation is a lesser included offense of robbery.

On Saturday, October 16, 1976, at 1:15 p.m., Donald Baumgartner received a telephone call at the K Mart store which he managed. The caller stated that he was a member "of the PLA" and that bombs and firearms had been placed in the store and would be set off in 12 minutes unless the caller's demands were met. Baumgartner was told to put $10,000 in a bag, remove his coat, walk out of the store, deposit the bag of money in a telephone booth near the K Mart parking lot entrance, and return to the store to receive a second phone call. Baumgartner placed $4,500 — all he could obtain — in a bag and followed the caller's instructions. He returned to the store to await the second call, which never came. A K Mart security man who kept watch on the phone booth saw a man, later identified as the defendant, go to the booth, pick up the bag, and walk away with it. The guard pursued the man but lost him after a few blocks.

On Saturday, October 23, 1976, at 1:30 p.m., Terry Claudnic, on duty as assistant manager of the Ward store, received a phone call. The caller said he was a member "of the PLA" and threatened to detonate three bombs that had been planted in the store and two planted in a nearby police station unless $10,000 were delivered within six minutes. The caller said the bombs would be detonated if Claudnic attempted either to call the police or to evacuate the store. Claudnic was instructed to place $10,000 in a bag, exit the building, walk to a specific nearby location, leave the bag, and then to retrace his steps without looking back. Claudnic immediately notified the police. Paper was placed in a store money bag and a police surveillance was set up near the designated site. The defendant was observed in a blue and white Buick, watching Claudnic's movements as the latter went through the motions of meeting the caller's demands. Shortly after Claudnic left the drop site, the defendant approached, crossed the street away from the bag while looking around, moved back toward the bag and finally picked it up. When he returned to his car, he was arrested.

Defendant argues that his actions amounted only to theft by threat (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 16-1(c)), and that, consequently, he was improperly charged with the crime of robbery. Assuming, arguendo, that the defendant could have been charged with theft by threat, the State is not precluded from exercising its option to charge him with robbery as long as the necessary elements of the latter offense are properly pleaded and proved. (People v. Vriner (1978), 74 Ill.2d 329, 344-45; Brinkley v. United States (8th Cir. 1977), 560 F.2d 871, 873, cert. denied (1977), 434 U.S. 941, 54 L.Ed.2d 302, 98 S.Ct. 435.) We therefore address the question of whether the defendant was properly charged and proved guilty of the crime of robbery.

The defendant first contends that, in both cases, the evidence failed to show a taking from the person or presence of a victim, an essential element of robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 18-1.) The Criminal Code of 1961 provides:

"(a) A person commits robbery when he takes property from the person or presence of another by the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 18-1.)

The requirement that there be a taking "from the person or presence" is not, however, limited to removal of the property from the victim's person or from the immediate presence of the owner, possessor or custodian.

In People v. Braverman (1930), 340 Ill. 525, the victims were locked in a back room of a drug store while property was taken from the store. This court found that the requirement of a taking from the person or presence was met when the property was in the possession or control of the victim and the robber used violence or fear of violence as the means to take it. People v. Braverman (1930), 340 Ill. 525, 531. See People v. Sicks (1921), 299 Ill. 282; Welch v. State (1975), 235 Ga. 243, 219 S.E.2d 151; Clements v. State (1890), 84 Ga. 660, 11 S.E. 505; State v. McDonald (1968), 74 Wn.2d 141, 443 P.2d 651.

While no Illinois case has addressed the issue in the context of the factual pattern here presented, a similar situation was addressed in Brinkley v. United States (8th Cir. 1977), 560 F.2d 871, cert. denied (1977), 434 U.S. 941, 54 L.Ed.2d 302, 98 S.Ct. 435. There a bank manager received a call from the defendant, who threatened to set off a bomb at the manager's home unless $75,000 were delivered to the caller. Following the caller's instructions, the manager went to two different phone booths and was ultimately directed to throw the money over a specific viaduct. He complied and drove away. Although the defendant never gained possession, the court found that the telephone call "was as much of a personal confrontation as if [the offender] had entered the bank with a gun and demanded that [the victim] hand over the bank's money." Brinkley v. United States (8th Cir. 1977), 560 F.2d 871, 873, cert. denied (1977), 434 U.S. 941, 54 L.Ed.2d 302, 98 S.Ct. 435. Contra, United States v. Culbert (9th Cir. 1977), 548 F.2d 1355, rev'd on other grounds (1978), 435 U.S. 371, 55 L.Ed.2d 349, 98 S.Ct. 1112; People v. Moore (1974), 184 Colo. 110, 518 P.2d 944.

The presence requirement of the robbery statute relates to the property taken; it must have been in the presence or control of the victim. The offense of robbery is complete when force or threat of force causes the victim to part with possession or custody of property against his will. In this case, the property was in the actual control and in the presence of each of the managers, and each was compelled, by the defendant's threats of force, to give up such property. The elements of robbery were therefore present.

The defendant next contends that the trial court erred when, in the Ward case, it refused to allow a defense witness to testify for the purpose of impeaching the credibility of a prosecution witness.

In its case in chief, the State called Glenn Dickerson, who had met the defendant while both were incarcerated in the county jail. Dickerson testified that the defendant offered him $10,000 to confess to the two offenses with which the defendant was charged; that the defendant wrote out the confession and had Dickerson copy and sign it. Dickerson later retracted the confession. On cross-examination, the defense asked ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.