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People v. Baseer





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THEODORE M. SWAIN, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Khalid Baseer, also known as Arthur Stanley Goins, was charged with the offense of rape. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, contending (1) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the State's cross-examination and closing arguments concerning his religious beliefs were improper and prejudicial; (3) his sentence was excessive; and (4) the trial court erred by failing to specify the reasons for its sentencing determination.

The State's evidence revealed the following facts: Defendant and Lillian Goins were married from 1969 until their divorce in 1974. They had two children, but one boy died in infancy. After his death, the couple separated and were eventually divorced. On April 10, 1978, Lillian lived in Chicago with her two children. Since their divorce, she only saw defendant once or twice a year when he visited their daughter. Recently, defendant had been visiting more often. The complainant, Lillian's 17-year-old sister, was there several times when defendant visited. About two weeks prior to April 10, 1978, defendant came over to Lillian's home and asked Lillian what happened the night their baby died, when she allegedly left the baby alone by a window and the baby froze to death. She told defendant to leave. The baby died in 1972 from pneumonia. On April 10, 1978, complainant was baby-sitting at her sister's house. The children were at school. At about 11 a.m. or 12 noon, defendant and a friend came to the house looking for Lillian. They sat at the kitchen table and defendant and his friend drank beer. Complainant did not drink any beer. After about 20 minutes, defendant and his friend left.

At about 2 p.m., defendant returned. He sat at the kitchen table and drank beer. He asked complainant if she wanted any beer or cocaine and she said no. Defendant then asked, "Do you think I'm here to try to run a game on you if you get high?" Complainant understood him to mean did she think he would try to pull something over on her. She did not answer. He then said, "Something had to go in and come out and a woman is here for things to come out." Complainant responded that she didn't want to talk about it. Defendant then asked, "If you're not here for that, what do you like to do?" She replied that she liked to swim. Defendant said, "Let's go swimming." When complainant said she did not have the time, defendant replied, "Well, you can swim in the bathtub." Complainant said nothing. Defendant went upstairs to use the bathroom and upon his return said, "I have the water running in the tub so I can see you swim." A few minutes later she went upstairs and turned the water off.

On her way downstairs, defendant blocked her passage and said, "Excuse me, I want to talk to you." She stated, "You can talk to me downstairs." When she tried to walk around defendant, he grabbed her by the waist and dragged her up the stairs to her sister's bedroom. Defendant pushed her into the room. When she told him to leave, he pushed her into the dresser. Complainant told him to stop, and asked him to leave. Defendant began grabbing at complainant's blue jean shorts and eventually succeeded in pulling them down. She fell to the floor and he put his knee on her stomach. She started crying and felt pain because she had recently been hospitalized for a bladder infection.

Defendant then threw her on the bed and pinned her arms under her body. He had sexual intercourse with her and babbled, "Be mine, be mine, do you hear me." Because complainant kept her face to the side and would not look at defendant, he grabbed her throat, causing scratches and bruises.

Minutes later, someone knocked at the front door. After this person left, complainant's nephew returned from school and came upstairs. Defendant grabbed his pants and shut the door. Complainant remained on the bed crying. When her nephew opened the door, she told him what happened. Defendant then said, "I didn't do anything to you, don't lie on me like that."

Complainant attempted to phone her mother at work. She reached Ronnie Bullock, her mother's co-worker. They talked for only a few seconds, when defendant grabbed the phone and said, "This is Abul. I was only playing with her." He unplugged the phone and then left. When complainant plugged the phone back in, defendant called her three times and she hung up on him each time. Thomas Montgomery, her sister's boyfriend, called and she told him about the rape. She then called her mother, informed her about the rape, and upon her mother's advice called the police. When complainant talked to her mother, she also told Bullock she had been raped. The police arrived and shortly thereafter the police arrested defendant at his home.

The investigating officers witnessed complainant's neck injuries. At defendant's home the officers told him that complainant alleged he had raped her. Defendant responded that he didn't do anything. At the station, the officers asked defendant if he raped complainant. He stated that he did not and that he hadn't touched her. Defendant told another officer that complainant consented to have sex with him.

Defendant testified that he changed his name for religious reasons, and that his previous name was Stanley Goins. He had known complainant the past 10 years, and their relationship was friendly. After his divorce, complainant became more and more suggestive. On one occasion, she invited defendant over and had him take photos of her. On other occasions, she made sexual advances to defendant. He always tried to maintain a respectful attitude toward her.

On April 10, 1978, at about noon, defendant and a friend visited Lillian's home. Complainant drank beer with them for about a half an hour. Defendant and his friend left, but defendant returned alone at about 2 p.m. Complainant and defendant sat in the kitchen and talked. Complainant asked defendant if he was interested in having sex with her. He asked her in what way she enjoyed sex, and she responded, "She liked it when it's wet." Defendant then went upstairs to the bathroom and turned on the bath water.

Defendant returned to the kitchen, and they continued to discuss sex. Complainant went upstairs to turn off the water and defendant accompanied her. Defendant put his arm around complainant and asked her if she was serious about having sex with him and she said yes. At this point, complainant voluntarily went into the bedroom. They had sex and complainant offered no resistance, but remained passive and quiet. They were interrupted by a knock at the door by a child looking for complainant's nephew. Complainant, talking from the bed, told the child her nephew was not home. A few minutes later, while defendant was in the bathroom, complainant's nephew came home. He entered the bedroom and talked to complainant.

Defendant corroborated complainant's account of her phone call to Bullock. After this call, defendant went to his mother's house one block away. He called complainant three times and she hung up each time. Defendant admitted that when the police officers arrived, he told them nothing had happened and that he didn't have sex with complainant. Defendant testified that the rape charge was a conspiracy arranged by his ex-wife and complainant.

Defendant contends that this evidence is insufficient to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, he argues that the rape victim's testimony was inconsistent and that she had ample reason to fabricate her account.

The testimony of the complainant alone is sufficient to sustain a conviction for a sex offense where her testimony is clear and convincing, even though contradicted by defendant. (People v. Saffold (1977), 47 Ill. App.3d 934, 365 N.E.2d 524.) In rape cases, reviewing courts> must carefully examine the evidence; however, they should not encroach upon the function of the trier of fact to weigh credibility and otherwise assess the evidence. People v. Sanders (1976), 38 Ill. App.3d 473, 348 N.E.2d 229.

Defendant points out the following inconsistencies in complainant's testimony: (1) complainant told the police that defendant accosted her as she was going upstairs to turn off the bath water; however, at trial, she testified that this occurred as she was going down the stairs; (2) on direct examination, she testified that she was on the bed when defendant removed her clothes, but on redirect, she stated that she was on the floor; (3) on direct, she testified that she called her mother to report the rape, but she told the police that her mother called her; and (4) she testified that she did not attempt to escape from the bedroom by burning defendant with a cigarette, but later testified that she tried to escape in this manner.

• 1 In our view, these inconsistencies are minor in nature. Minor discrepancies affect only the credibility of the witness and the weight to be given her testimony. (See People v. Sanders (1976), 38 Ill. App.3d 473, 348 N.E.2d 229.) A court of review will not substitute its judgment for that of the trier of fact as to witness credibility. (People v. Manion (1977), 67 Ill.2d 564, 367 N.E.2d 1313, cert. denied (1978), 435 U.S. 937, 55 L.Ed.2d 533, 98 S.Ct. 1513.) We have carefully reviewed the record and find complainant's testimony both clear and convincing. Moreover, we note that defendant also made several inconsistent statements. The jury was in a superior position to assess credibility and apparently rejected the consent defense. The evidence supports their determination.

• 2 In addition, a timely complaint of rape constitutes evidence of the commission of that crime. (People v. Armstrong (1976), 43 Ill. App.3d 586, 357 N.E.2d 84.) Complainant's rape outcry was first received when Thomas Montgomery, her sister's boyfriend, phoned and immediately thereafter by Ronnie Bullock and complainant's mother. Complainant then reported the rape to the police. The jury may also have inferred that she would have told Bullock about the rape during their first conversation if defendant had not interrupted. All these phone conversations happened a few minutes after the incident. Moreover, complainant immediately went with the police and identified defendant as the rapist. An officer noticed that she was nervous and had bruises on her neck.

Finally, defendant asserts that complainant might have complained of being raped after the incident because of her desire to explain the embarrassing position in which she had been found by her nephew. Defendant maintains that to avoid the opprobrium which would be caused by her sister's knowledge of her consenting to sex with defendant, complainant unjustly accused defendant of rape. However, at trial defendant testified that his ex-wife and complainant were engaged in a conspiracy to charge him with rape. This suggests that his ex-wife ...

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