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People v. Jones





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. SYLVESTER C. CLOSE, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Lee Jones, also known as Lee Momient, was charged by information with attempt murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 8-4) and three counts of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, pars. 12-4(a), 12-4(b)(1)). Following a trial by jury, defendant was found guilty of all charges. Judgment was entered upon attempt murder and defendant was sentenced to a term of 50 to 100 years' imprisonment. From the conviction, defendant appeals and raises the following issues: (1) His assignment to a special recidivist court was prejudicial and unconstitutional; (2) the jury was prejudiced by seeing him in handcuffs and under guard of a deputy sheriff; (3) it was error for the State to be allowed to present evidence of identification where no issue of identification was raised; and (4) his election between sentencing codes was not intelligently made.

We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

On October 14, 1977, Chicago Police Officers Alfred Williams, Rudolph Winston, Karl Manuel and Eddie Jackson were assigned to a detail to arrest prostitutes. The patrol involved officers wearing civilian clothes and driving unmarked cars.

At approximately 1 a.m., the officers arrested Cassandra Brooks for prostitution at 800 North Clark Street, in Chicago. Brooks was placed in the car driven by Officer Jackson. Leaving the scene of the arrest shortly thereafter, Officer Jackson turned west onto Elm Street and stopped at the intersection of Elm and LaSalle Street. While he was waiting at the stop sign, a gray Lincoln Continental automobile, traveling north on LaSalle, swerved at the intersection and then came to a stop in the middle of the street, approximately 4 or 5 car lengths north of the intersection. Officer Jackson turned the corner, northbound onto LaSalle Street, and drove between the Lincoln and another car parked at the curb. The officer's car and the Lincoln were about 8 or 12 inches apart. The driver of the Lincoln lowered his electric window on the passenger side and yelled, "You almost hit me." Officer Jackson responded that he did not. The driver repeated his taunt and Officer Jackson again responded. After the verbal exchange had taken place a third time, the driver leaned over, raised his hand with a gun in it, and fired one shot which struck Officer Jackson in the head. The driver of the Lincoln, who was later identified as defendant, sped away.

Officer Manuel testified he saw the car in question when it and Officer Jackson's car were stopped next to each other, but he could not hear the conversation. He heard a loud noise and when he saw the Lincoln drive away he followed it. Officer Manuel was able to see the license number, ILL 269.

Verna Jones, defendant's wife, testified at trial. She said defendant left their apartment early in the morning on October 14, 1977. He was driving her 1977 Lincoln Continental which had license plates, ILL 269. Defendant called her later that day and told her to report her car stolen. The witness stated defendant's voice sounded nervous and scared.

Chicago Police Officers Wayne Johnson and John Rice responded to a radio call to locate the Lincoln in question. Officer Johnson and his partner apprehended and arrested defendant farther north. When Officer Rice arrived at the scene, he looked inside the car and found a pistol lying with the "butt up" against the transmission hump. The gun and defendant were taken to the police station.

Later that same morning, a lineup was held. Defendant was identified by Officers Williams and Winston. Cassandra Brooks also picked defendant out of the lineup but was uncertain of her identification.

Officer William Scanlon of the mobile unit crime lab of the Chicago Police Department examined the car driven by Officer Jackson. A bullet was found on the rear seat. Officer Scanlon also examined the recovered weapon. It was a .357 python revolver. Two cartridges and two casings remained in the cylinder. Donald Ginell, a firearms examiner for the police department, performed test firings of the weapon and determined the bullet found in the car driven by Officer Jackson had been fired from the gun recovered at the time of defendant's arrest.

A stipulation by the parties was admitted into evidence. It stated that if Dr. Vinod Sahgal, a neurologist, were called, he would testify Officer Jackson received a bullet wound in the left frontal area and an exit wound in the upper rear area of his head. Part of his skull was lost and substantial brain damage occurred. Jackson was left paralyzed on his right side, including loss of vision in his right eye.

After hearing the evidence, the jury found defendant guilty of attempt murder and aggravated battery. Judgment was entered only for attempt murder.

At the post-trial hearing, defendant testified, in mitigation, that the shooting was an accident. He had stopped his car because he wanted to avoid an accident. He said he "pulled the pistol and it went off." Defendant said he had obtained the gun 6 hours earlier at a gambling house and did not intend to harm the police officer.

Defendant's primary contention is based upon the fact that prior to trial defense counsel was denied a motion for change of venue and reassignment. The motion was filed because the trial court was a specially created recidivist court to which defendant objected on various grounds. He argues that assignment to such a special court was unconstitutional and created an ...

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