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People v. Rodriguez





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. VINCENT BENTIVENGA, Judge, presiding.


After a jury trial, Joyce Rodriguez (defendant) was acquitted of attempted murder and convicted on four counts of aggravated battery and one count of reckless conduct. Defendant was sentenced to one to three years on the aggravated battery counts. She appeals.

Gilbert Velez testified that on October 19, 1974, he and David Aragon left a tavern at approximately 2 a.m. and stood by the side door on the sidewalk. They were joined by Fidel Perez, Edward Jaimes, Jessie Fernandez, and Mark Rodriguez. Velez saw a car pass, heard a "big boom," saw sparks and flames, and heard someone say, "They are shooting." He had started running when two or three pellets hit him, and he fell to the ground. He then saw flames coming from the car and saw a man, identified as co-defendant Louis Limas, firing a handgun from the front, passenger's seat.

Edward Jaimes testified he saw a white Buick traveling westbound on 16th Street. He "saw a girl driving." He saw the car later, heard loud noises, and saw flashes coming from it.

Mark Rodriguez testified he was writing on a wall 2 or 3 feet away from the side door of the tavern when a white Buick drove by. He heard big booms and shots and was hit in the leg. Rodriguez fell to the ground. When he looked up, he saw the car turn and stop. He saw Louis Limas in the front seat firing shots from a revolver. He had known Limas for two years. He saw Arthur Moya in the rear seat. He stated the area "was well lit up. They have new lights out there." After the shooting, he saw Dennis Gatch and Joe Calderon in a Cadillac pursue the white Buick.

Fidel Perez testified he was standing near the side door of the tavern when a white Buick with a girl inside drove by. He stated, "I saw the driver. The driver was a girl, but I didn't get a real good look at her, but she had dark hair. The car seemed to be going slow." He felt as though he was losing his balance. He heard loud booms, saw flames coming from a car, and felt some shots.

Dennis Gatch testified he parked his 1968 Cadillac by the side door of the tavern. From across the street he saw a small, white car pass with "some people in it and as they went by I [saw] one person like sleeping with a coat over [his] head and the other person in the back like this [with his right hand over the right side of his face]." He later returned to his friends near the tavern. He and Joe Calderon got in his car to go home. He saw the same car with "something come out of the back window." He said, "There they are," heard shots, and ducked down. When he got up, he saw the car going east on 16th Street and followed it. He alerted a squad car, but continued to follow the white car. He said he never lost sight of that car during the chase until he encountered a roadblock. He then stopped, but the white car continued through the obstacle. He later went to the police station and saw defendant there.

Arthur Barrios testified he pulled alongside Gatch's Cadillac at the side of the tavern. Barrios was facing south in the northbound lane. He saw a car driving north and attempted to pull out of the way, but the car drove in the southbound lane to get around him. He stated, "[T]his girl was just driving it by herself and I was looking at her because, you know, I thought I knew her or something." He said new lights had just been installed, so it was "real bright." He looked at her "for about maybe ten seconds or fifteen seconds while the car was going by." Barrios pulled into the alley and "felt some pellets or something hit" his car. He heard loud noises and saw his friends falling. He saw "gunshots coming from * * * that white car that just passed." At approximately 6:40 a.m. in a police lineup, Barrios identified defendant as the driver. At trial he viewed a photograph of the lineup and pointed out defendant. He also identified defendant as the driver in court.

Joseph Calderon testified he and Gatch went to Gatch's car. He saw a white car coming up Fairfield and pass them. He saw "two men raise up in the car." The man in the back had a shotgun and he fired it. He had known this man for "a couple of years." In the front seat Limas started shooting. He had known Limas "for quite some time." The car "was moving real slow." He saw the driver was a "girl" who wore glasses and a short fur coat and had black hair. He had seen her once or twice before. He identified defendant as the driver. He and Gatch pursued the car. He testified defendant still had this same coat on at the police station.

Jessie Fernandez saw a white car traveling north with "a lady driving." He identified defendant as the driver. He identified Limas as a passenger who held a pistol. He had known Limas for a year. The man in back had a shotgun. The witness stated, "Then the shot came off. I was struck."

Officer Lawrence Soltysiak testified he saw a white Buick and a Cadillac following it at high speed. He pursued the two cars and saw the Cadillac stop at a roadblock and the white Buick squeeze through. Soltysiak stopped his car and saw other police cars pursue the white Buick. In the area he found a revolver on the sidewalk. He later arrived where the white car had been stopped and his partner was assigned to search the apprehended female whom he identified in court as defendant.

Officer Roy Hull testified he pursued the white car and when it stopped, "two people exited." He identified defendant as the driver. After a search, he found expended shotgun shells in the back seat.


Defendant first contends the State failed to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant urges the testimony of ...

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