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People v. Washington





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES N. SULLIVAN, Judge, presiding.


At the conclusion of a bench trial held in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, William Washington, was found guilty of rape (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 11-1) and guilty of unlawful restraint (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 10-3). He was sentenced only for rape to a term of four years to four years and a day. Defendant appeals from the rape conviction.

On appeal, defendant contends: (1) he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel; and (3) the trial court committed reversible error by unreasonably restricting the scope of cross-examination.

We affirm.

At trial, the State presented the testimony of the complainant-victim, the arresting officer, and the examining physician.

The complainant testified that on February 6, 1977, at approximately 9 p.m., she had just left her home on the south side of Chicago with the intent to go to a destination on 131st Street approximately five miles away. Outside of her home she saw defendant sitting in his parked van. She recognized the defendant as a man named "William" whom she had seen on a prior occasion with one of her friends. A conversation ensued and defendant offered to take her to her destination.

Instead of taking her to 131st Street, defendant drove her to 142d Street where he parked the van next to an open field. There were two houses in the neighborhood both of which had all the lights out. The inside of the van had two swivel chairs, one for the driver and one for the passenger. The back of the van was partitioned off by a curtain. In the back of the van was a couch.

After a few minutes, defendant got out of his seat, went behind the passenger's seat, and put his arms around complainant. A struggle ensued in which the complainant was overpowered. Defendant dragged her to the back of the van, threw her on the couch and attempted to have sexual intercourse with her by force. Defendant finally entered the complainant but she forced him out; whereupon, defendant threw her on the carpeted floor and entered her again. All during this time, complainant screamed intermittently and kicked and scratched at defendant. Defendant contained her by choking her.

Eventually, complainant saw a bright light flash through the windshield. Defendant stopped molesting her and told her to be quiet. However, she jumped up and went through the curtains and screamed she was being raped. Outside of the driver's door was a police officer. Complainant got out of the van and eventually defendant was arrested.

The police officer, complainant, and defendant went to the police station in the officer's patrol car with defendant handcuffed in the back. Complainant said that on the way to the police station defendant pleaded with her to drop any charges and told her that he had not really been trying to hurt her and he had never done anything like that before.

Sergeant Robert Vinson was the arresting officer on the scene. He testified he was on routine patrol when he saw the van parked on 142d Street. He stopped his vehicle facing the van and shined his spotlight through the windshield. He got out of his vehicle and approached the van on the driver's side. As he approached, he heard muffled sounds. Then he saw complainant coming through the curtain which partitioned the inside of the van. Complainant screamed she was being raped. He saw that her clothes were in disarray and her panties were down around her knees. Complainant attempted to get the driver's door open, which she did not open until Sergeant Vinson indicated to her that she had to unlock the door first. When complainant got out of the van she grabbed Vinson and told him defendant was trying to rape her. She was crying and shaking. Vinson broke loose from her grip when he saw defendant come through the curtain perspiring and pulling up his zipper. He then placed the defendant under arrest.

On the way to the police station Vinson heard defendant plead with complainant to drop the charges. He heard defendant say that he had not been trying to hurt her and if she dropped the charges defendant would take her where she had wanted to go.

Dr. H.B. Sultani testified that complainant came to his office on the day after the incident. She appeared shaken and upset. She asked him to check for venereal disease. He made a pelvic examination and found several bruises on her inner thighs and on the genital area. He also found a scratch on the inside of her vagina. Dr. Sultani testified that he had only seen these kinds of injuries in cases in which there had been a forceful entry.

Defendant testified in his own behalf. He said he had picked up complainant, whom he had never seen before, after she had asked him for a ride. Shortly after he drove away, she told him she was going to a friend's house to sell $10 worth of "Columbian reefer," and if defendant took her to her destination she would get him "high and have some fun" with him in the back of the van. She then took a cellophane bag from her purse. In the bag was a brown substance from which she rolled a cigarette which they both smoked. As they travelled along, complainant told defendant she was in the Army and would do anything to get out, including getting pregnant.

Defendant said he parked the van on 142d Street at complainant's suggestion, after which she rolled another cigarette which they both smoked. Then, complainant went into the back of the van and sat in a large "chair" and he joined her there where he started "playing" with her with his fingers. After a while, complainant told him she would stay with him for a little longer if he gave her $10. Defendant continued using his fingers on her but said he never had sexual intercourse with her because he was unable to obtain an erection since he was afraid complainant was already pregnant and was trying to "trap" him.

Defendant was still using his fingers on complainant when he saw a bright light flash through the window. Defendant got up and went to the driver's seat where he sat down. He saw a police officer outside his window. Complainant then came up and sat down in the passenger's seat. Defendant contends that at this time both of them were fully dressed and their clothes were not in disarray.

Defendant rolled down his window and the officer asked what was going on. The officer asked this several times until complainant said, "He's trying to get some from me." The officer asked if she meant she was being raped. The officer then flashed his flashlight on complainant's ...

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