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People v. Corder

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 23, 1980.

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

v.

RICHARD CORDER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. RICHARD E. EAGLETON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Richard Corder, was charged by indictment with aggravated battery. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty as charged and was sentenced to two and one half years of imprisonment to be served consecutive to his sentence in case number 79-CF-55.

On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to cross-examine a defense witness concerning the defendant's reputation for a hot temper and his particular acts of misconduct where the defendant had not placed his reputation in issue. We affirm.

The defendant was charged with violating section 12-4(b)(6) of the Criminal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(6)), in that he knowingly struck a correctional officer engaged in the execution of his duties. The defendant advanced the affirmative defense that he struck the victim, James Sprinkle, in self-defense. The State introduced the testimony of Sprinkle and a second correctional officer, Debra Luann Fields. Both witnesses stated that after a tug-of-war over a television set located in the day room of the county jail, the defendant wrenched the set from Sprinkle, passed it to another inmate, and struck Sprinkle in the left temple.

The defendant in his case-in-chief presented the testimony of four fellow inmates of which three witnessed the altercation. While their testimony tended to demonstrate that Sprinkle provoked the defendant's attack by initiating physical contact, the testimony was internally inconsistent. Further, their veracity was impeached by prior felony convictions.

The fifth and final defense witness was the Reverend Richard L. Brewer, a pastor of a local United Methodist Church, who also worked full time at the Peoria prison ministry. On direct examination, he stated that, based on his meeting with the defendant one day after the altercation, the defendant had a swollen face and two bumps on his head. The relevant portions of Reverend Brewer's testimony follows:

Defense counsel's direct examination:

"Q. And did you observe anything else at that time?

A. I observed a very — He was very upset.

MR. BRANDT: Objection. I ask that answer be stricken.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. PARKER: Q. Had you spoken to him prior to February 28?

A. I know Richard very well. I have known him for about a year and had almost daily conversations with him either on the phone or personally."

Cross-examination by the State's Attorney:

"Q. And I believe you characterized Mr. Corder as ...


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