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People v. Robinson

OPINION FILED JANUARY 13, 1981.

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

v.

CLINTON ROBINSON, A/K/A TOMMY HARRISON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ANTHONY SCOTILLO, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant Clinton Robinson was charged by information with one count of burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 19-1), one count of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), and one count of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-2) as to each of four victims. After a bench trial, the trial court found defendant guilty of two of the armed robbery counts. He was sentenced to serve eight years for each conviction, terms to run concurrently. Defendant appeals, asking this court only to determine whether one of the armed robbery convictions can stand in light of that victim's testimony that she was not deprived of any property by defendant during the occurrence which formed the basis of the charges.

In the early morning hours of September 3, 1978, five persons were in an apartment at 1957 South St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, playing cards. Those five were Roy Taylor, Ora Taylor, Gloria Perkins, Bridgett King, and the apartment's owner, Jacqueline Williams. A knock was heard at the door, and Ms. Williams let in Sonny Polk, an acquaintance. After walking around for a few minutes, Polk said he was ill and walked to the back door. He let in defendant, who walked up to the group carrying a shotgun. Defendant announced that it was a "stick-up" and told the cardplayers to put their money on the table.

Roy Taylor testified that all of the persons present complied with the order, and that Polk picked up the money, searched only Roy Taylor, and soon thereafter left with defendant.

Ora Taylor testified that none of the persons complied with the order, but instead stated that they didn't have any money. Polk then searched each of them and took money from "everybody but me [Ora]." Polk and defendant then left.

Gloria Perkins related that Polk took money from her, King, Williams, and Roy Taylor. She did not mention that money was taken from Ora Taylor. According to Perkins, Polk and defendant then left the apartment.

Neither Williams nor King testified at the trial, and the court entered findings of not guilty on the counts of armed robbery relating to those two victims. The court entered a finding of guilty as to the armed robbery counts relating to Gloria Perkins and Ora Taylor. (Defendant was never charged with the armed robbery of Roy Taylor.)

I

Defendant contends that since victim Ora Taylor did not testify that she was deprived of property by defendant during the robbery, his conviction of armed robbery as to that victim must be vacated.

• 1 A person commits armed robbery when he takes property from the person or presence of another by the use of force or by threatening the imminent use of force while armed with a dangerous weapon. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-2.) The offense of robbery is complete when force or threat of force causes the victim to part with possession or custody of property against his will. (People v. Smith (1980), 78 Ill.2d 298, 303, 399 N.E.2d 1289.) It is thus obvious that a critical element of the offense of robbery is that the victim be deprived of some property through the actions of the perpetrator.

Here, the victim did not testify that she was deprived of any material possession during the course of the robbery which could properly be characterized as "property." Rather, she explicitly stated that Polk, acting in concert with defendant, took money from "everybody except me." This testimony is corroborated by victim Perkins, who also related that Polk took money from her, "Bridgett, Jackie, and Roy." No mention is made by Perkins that Polk took anything from Ora Taylor.

Arguing in support of the trial court's judgment that defendant was guilty of robbing Ora Taylor, the State relies upon the testimony of Roy Taylor. The relevant portions are set forth below:

"Q: Did anybody put their money on ...


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