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People v. Beyah

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1981.

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

v.

NORMAN BEYAH, A/K/A TONY DOWNS, A/K/A MELVIN BETHEA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. VINCENT BENTIVENGA, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant was found guilty of burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 19-1) and sentenced to a term of 5 to 15 years. On appeal, his conviction was affirmed but remanded for resentencing. Subsequently, he was resentenced to a term of 4 to 15 years in the Department of Corrections. Defendant now appeals the sentence. The issue presented for review is whether defendant's post-conviction refusal to cooperate with the police was improperly considered in aggravation upon sentencing. We affirm.

On July 12, 1977, following the return of a jury verdict of guilty to the charge of burglary, defendant was sentenced to serve a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. On appeal, this court affirmed the conviction but remanded the case for a new sentencing hearing because the trial court, in imposing sentence, had considered a prior conviction which the supreme court subsequently reversed. People v. Beyah (1979), 72 Ill. App.3d 690, 391 N.E.2d 96.

On August 1, 1979, a second sentencing hearing was held before the same judge who had initially sentenced defendant. In aggravation the People referred the judge to his notes of the trial, the large amounts of money involved in the stolen negotiable instruments, the presentence report and defendant's criminal record, which included a previous sentence of 2 to 6 years for burglary and a 90-day sentence for theft. The People requested that the sentence of 5 to 15 years be reimposed. The court then inquired and received responses as follows:

"THE COURT: Does the State have any information as to whether or not any additional stocks and bonds were ever recovered by the Chicago Police Department or Treasury Department since the defendant's arrest or since he was sentenced to the penitentiary?

ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY: No, your Honor, I would indicate to the Court that the State has no further knowledge in relationship to any of the stocks and bonds being recovered.

THE COURT: Does the State have any information as to whether or not the defendant ever cooperated with the police in attempting to get those stocks and bonds since the date of his arrest?

ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY: No, your Honor, he never cooperated with the police in relationship to obtaining the other bearer bonds which are still to this day missing."

Defense counsel did not object to this court-initiated inquiry.

The judge then offered as part of mitigation a letter he received from an assistant warden assigned to program services for the Illinois Department of Corrections.

In mitigation, defense counsel reviewed defendant's age, marital status and past employment record, his prior enrollment in educational programs and institutions, and his work as a teacher's aide and tutor. Defense counsel requested that defendant's sentence be substantially reduced as defendant had shown during his period of incarceration after his conviction an attempt to better himself.

Defendant also addressed the court. He mentioned that he had received a new grant to attend school and also reviewed the numerous job offers he had received. The defendant asserted that he had changed and could now properly function in society.

Following the hearing in aggravation and mitigation, the court concluded:

"* * * I have reviewed your case in my case notes a number of times and in this case and the Appellate Court opinion. Based on your previous conviction by the jury, * * *" the charge of burglary, the Court will reduce your sentence modestly but it will affect your release time so that ...


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