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People v. Thompson

OPINION FILED JUNE 18, 1980.

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

v.

DIANE THOMPSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. McDONNELL, Judge, presiding.

MISS PRESIDING JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a bench trial, the defendant, Diane Thompson, was convicted of the offense of prostitution (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 11-14(a)(1)) and sentenced to the House of Corrections for a term of 30 days. The defendant contends on appeal that (1) she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, (2) the prostitution statute is unconstitutional, (3) she was prejudiced by the admission of testimony concerning prior offenses and (4) her sentence was excessive.

Officer Earl Armstead of the prostitution unit, vice control division of the Chicago police department testified that on March 4, 1978, he and Officer Kenny Webb were on an assignment of surveillance of prostitution. Both officers wore plain clothes and occupied separate vehicles.

Armstead stated that he observed the defendant standing by a curb on West Madison Street in Chicago and waving at a passing car. He drove his car toward the defendant and she waved at him. Armstead stopped his car and the defendant approached the window. He asked her "if she was dating and she said `yes'." Armstead requested that she get in his car and she complied. He told her he wanted a "straight f. . ." and she said "yes." He asked her how much it would cost and she replied "twenty dollars." Armstead then informed her that he was a police officer and placed her under arrest.

On cross-examination Armstead admitted that he had seen the defendant prior to the date of the arrest, but he did not know if she had seen him. He was unable to recall if any other women were standing on the street at the time of the arrest or if he arrested more than one person at that time. When asked if an Officer Lamb was also present, Armstead replied that he could not remember. When asked if six or seven other women ran from the scene as he got out of his car, he again responded that he could not remember.

The defendant testified that at about 12:45 a.m. on March 4, 1978, she was standing on West Madison Street with approximately seven other women. She stated that Officers Armstead, Lamb and Webb jumped out of their cars and chased the women. They caught the defendant and one other woman and informed them that they were under arrest for prostitution.

The defendant denied that she entered Armstead's car prior to her arrest or that she engaged in any conversation with him. The defendant testified that she knew that Armstead, Lamb and Webb were police officers. She claimed that she had observed both Armstead and Webb arresting her sister and a friend a few weeks prior to this incident. In addition, the defendant stated that Lamb had arrested her for prostitution five years earlier.

On cross-examination the prosecutor asked the defendant if it was true that "a couple of those girls you were standing with are prostitutes." Over objection, the court permitted the defendant to answer. She stated that she did not know whether any of the women were prostitutes.

Michelle Thompson's testimony corroborated her sister's version of the arrest. On cross-examination she admitted that she was a prostitute and that she was prostituting that night. She stated that "we work together. I work by myself, but there is always a bunch of girls and Diane was with the bunch of girls." The prosecutor asked Michelle if Diane was also a prostitute. After the trial court overruled an objection, Michelle responded "yes."

I

The defendant first contends that she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. She argues that her testimony was positive, credible and corroborated, in contrast to Armstead's testimony which revealed his inability to recall whether other women were present on the street and whether he arrested more than one woman.

• 1 The positive testimony of a single credible witness is sufficient to convict a defendant of prostitution despite the fact that the testimony is contradicted by the accused. This court should not substitute its judgment on disputed evidence of the type presented here for that of the trial judge, who heard the evidence and observed the witnesses. (People v. Johnson (1978), 60 Ill. App.3d 183, 376 N.E.2d 381.) Armstead's testimony concerning the defendant's agreement to perform an act of sexual intercourse for money was clear and credible. The details of the incident which Armstead could not recall were items contained in the defendant's version of her arrest which do not impair the credibility of his testimony. Although the defendant's testimony was corroborated by her sister, the weight to be given her testimony is affected by the fact that the witness has a natural interest in the defendant's well-being. People v. Simmons (1950), 407 Ill. 417, 95 N.E.2d 477.

The defendant also argues that Armstead's statement that he had seen the defendant prior to the date of the arrest corroborates her testimony that she knew that Armstead was a policeman, and it is therefore incredible to believe that she offered to perform an act of sexual intercourse for money with a known policeman. However, the defendant ignores Armstead's testimony that while he had previously seen the defendant, he did not know if she had seen him.

• 2 Finally, the defendant argues that the State's failure to produce Officers Webb and Lamb as witnesses to rebut her testimony raises an inference that their testimony would be unfavorable to the State's case. This argument fails because the State is not obliged to produce every witness to a crime in proving a case. (People v. Farnsley (1973), 53 Ill.2d 537, 293 N.E.2d 600; People v. Nowak (1970), 45 Ill.2d 158, 258 N.E.2d 313.) The defendant was accused of agreeing to perform an act of sexual intercourse for money, and Armstead was the only witness to this agreement. If the defendant believed that the testimony of Webb and Lamb would have contradicted Armstead's ...


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