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People v. Lucas

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 18, 1981.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

RUSSELL J. LUCAS, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County, the Hon. Joseph P. Koval, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial in the circuit court of Macoupin County, Russell Lucas was convicted of aggravated battery. His motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial were denied, and he was sentenced to an extended term of six years with a one-year mandatory supervised-release provision under section 5-5-3.2 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 1005-5-3.2). The appellate court, with one justice dissenting, reversed and remanded for a new trial. (85 Ill. App.3d 133.) We granted the People's petition for leave to appeal.

Early in the morning of June 16, 1979, Larry Bowman was attacked in a crowded tavern in Carlinville. He suffered severe and multiple facial lacerations that required sutures under his nostril and lip and on his cheek and neck. It appears that he was left with a scar from the area of his right eye to his neck. Bowman testified that the defendant approached him at the bar and asked if he would buy the defendant a drink, which Bowman declined to do because Bowman had been "shut off" earlier. Bowman stated that he looked away and then heard glass breaking. He testified that he turned in the direction of the sound and was struck with a glass by the defendant and knocked to the floor. Bowman, however, said he did not actually see the defendant swing at him, nor did he see a glass in the defendant's hand before or after the incident. There was no direct testimony that a broken glass was in the defendant's hand. A broken glass with jagged edges was later found on the floor, but it was thrown away by a bartender.

Paul Scott, a bartender who was off duty at the time of the incident, testified that he heard glass breaking and that he saw the defendant without visible provocation strike Bowman. He said Bowman was knocked to the floor and did not fight back. Scott testified that the defendant then bent and stood over Bowman and that he could see the defendant's right arm moving but could not see what he was doing. Pamela Davis, a sister of Alex Fones, a Carlinville police officer who was a prosecution witness, testified that she and her husband were at the end of the bar where the incident occurred. When she first noticed Bowman and Lucas, the defendant was striking Bowman, who fell to the floor and lay there motionless. The witness testified that she had not seen anything in the defendant's hand. She testified that Bowman "was bleeding very bad. His whole side of his face was cut and he was just covered with blood." Scott said that while he was trying to pull the defendant off Bowman, the defendant tried to punch Scott, wrestled with him, and exclaimed "I ain't after you."

The defendant did not take the stand. The only defense witness, Phil Maguire, testified that Bowman was annoying two women patrons and that the defendant, saying the women were with him, asked Bowman to leave them alone. He said that Bowman said it was none of the defendant's business and poked the defendant in the chest with his finger and appeared to begin to push him. The defendant hit Bowman with his fist, Maguire said, and both men fell to the floor. The witness said he didn't notice any blood on the defendant when he left the tavern. Maguire's testimony, however, was contradicted by that of Mark Boatman. Although Boatman was sitting at the same table as Maguire and was closer to the defendant and Bowman than Maguire, he was unable to hear any of the conversation between the defendant and Bowman. There was testimony that the tavern was very crowded and that there was noise and "loud music." Boatman's testimony continued:

"Q. At this point then was anything said between you and Phil Maguire about the incident?

A. Yes, I said something to him, you know.

Q. You said something to him?

A. Something about, well, helping them guys or something and he said it — said wasn't none of our business and just stay out of it.

Q. Did he say anything else about who started it?

A. Uh — he didn't know what started it or anything, so we — he said just stay out of the way."

Shortly after the incident, the defendant was located in another tavern by police officer Fones. He accompanied the officer to the police station only when the officer insisted. Fones testified that when he saw the defendant in the tavern his hands and his clothing were covered with blood. While waiting in the police station, apparently to be interviewed by another policeman, the defendant was sitting and licking a cut on his hand. He asked Officer Fones if it was making him sick and asked him if he wanted to lick the cut. Fones said that he asked the defendant how his hand had been cut and he said "it happened on his plate on the back of his motorcycle as they crossed the railroad track." The defendant was formally placed under arrest after he had been questioned by the police and identified by Bowman as his attacker.

Based on Maguire's testimony the defense attorney argued at trial that the defendant had acted in self-defense and, in any event, was not guilty of aggravated battery since the record did ...


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