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People v. Vinson

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 6, 1980.

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

v.

JEROME VINSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. ROBERT E. MANNING, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial the defendant Jerome Vinson was found guilty of armed robbery and he was sentenced by the circuit court of Peoria County to a term of 18 years in the penitentiary.

On December 22, 1978, Crazy Art's Trading Post was victimized by an armed robbery. On that evening, Arthur Kalb, his wife and daughter, and two customers, Albert Dixon and his girlfriend, Brenda Yates, were standing around the main counter of the store. Mrs. Kalb was behind that counter counting up an order for Dixon.

Suddenly, the door burst open. A black man armed with a shotgun rushed in. "This is a stickup," he yelled. "Hit the deck." He forced Arthur Kalb into the back room. He forced Kalb to lie down on one side of the doorway. Then, he ordered Brenda Yates to lie down on the other side. He compelled Mrs. Kalb to lie prone behind the jewelry counter. Then, he commanded her to open the cash box which she did and thereafter dumped the contents into a plastic bag together with Mr. Kalb's billfold. The robber departed ordering the occupants of the store to stay quiet. The foregoing account is a summary of the incident, and of course the witnesses testified at greater length about what the robber did and about what they did.

After the robber left, a piece of Christmas wrapping paper was discovered on the floor. According to witness Bonnie Parrott, she saw the robber pull the paper off his shotgun. Fingerprints taken from the piece of paper were identified as those of the defendant. Roberta Kalb identified the defendant in open court as the robber.

The only assignment of error is the defendant's argument that reversible error occurred when the People laid the foundation for impeaching the testimony of Albert Dixon but failed to follow up such foundation by offering independent evidence of the alleged prior inconsistent statements.

Albert Dixon was initially called as a prosecution witness. During his testimony he indicated he was unable to identify the defendant as the robber and indicated he had not identified the defendant at the lineup. At this juncture, the prosecutor asked that Mr. Dixon be declared a hostile witness to allow him to be cross-examined. The People alleged that it was surprised in several respects by the testimony of Mr. Dixon and would possibly need to impeach him. The court allowed the People's request and designated Mr. Dixon as a hostile or court witness.

During this examination of Mr. Dixon, the following colloquy occurred:

"Question: Now, did you give a statement to Officer Cannon, an oral statement, regarding the robbery?

Answer: No, I didn't give nobody no statement.

Question: And isn't it true that you told him at that time that you recognized Jerome Vinson as the robber who perpetrated the armed robbery at the store at that time?

Answer: No, I didn't, because I didn't even know his name.

Question: Isn't it a fact that you told Officer Cannon that you didn't need to see the remaining people in the lineup because you knew that number 4 was the man who had robbed Crazy Art's Trading Post?

Answer: No, I didn't tell him that.

Question: And isn't it a fact that prior to the lineup Officer Cannon told you that you should write down the number of the person that you recognized as the robber at the Trading Post, and if you did not recognize him not to write any number down at all?

Answer: No that ain't exactly what we ...


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