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People v. Washington

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 5, 1982.

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

v.

VINCENT WASHINGTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WILLIAM COUSINS, JR., Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of rape and deviate sexual assault, and he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. On appeal he raises the following issues:

(1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in conducting the examination of prospective jurors;

(2) whether the trial court committed reversible error by denying a challenge for cause of a prospective juror;

(3) whether the trial court erred by not passing upon and accepting jurors in panels of four;

(4) whether foundational questions asked of the complainant were sufficient to permit impeaching her with evidence of a prior inconsistent statement;

(5) whether the trial court improperly restricted the direct examination of the defendant;

(6) whether the evidence is sufficient to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and

(7) whether the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing defendant.

The following evidence is material to our decision.

Cecelia E. testified that on March 4, 1979, at about 3:15 a.m., she and Alton Ratcliff left a tavern near 68th and Halsted, in Chicago, and started walking north on Halsted to a restaurant. On the way to the restaurant they encountered three men, and Alton asked them if the restaurant was open. One of the men said that the restaurant was closed, so Cecelia and Alton turned around and started walking south on Halsted. The three men followed as they walked to 67th and then over to Emerald. Cecelia also testified that while they were following her and Alton, "They were cussing and they were making jokes and stuff about me."

Cecelia further testified that when the group turned the corner at 67th and Emerald, on the west side of Emerald, defendant knocked Alton to the ground, and one of the other men knocked her to the ground and started ripping her clothes off. While defendant struggled with Alton, the man who ripped her clothes off raped her. When one of the men "hollered" that they couldn't rape her out in the open, defendant helped one of the other men drag her across the street to a church on the east side of Emerald. Defendant raped her while she was lying in the snow in front of the church and, at the same time, the other men forced her to engage in oral sex. When defendant finished raping her, one of the other men raped her, and then, "All of a sudden, I noticed they started running, the police was there."

Defendant testified that he did not rape or commit deviate sexual assault on Cecelia. Although defendant admitted that he was highly intoxicated on the night of the attack, he testified that he was simply following some friends when he saw his friend Andre Tylon swing at Alton. Defendant started hitting Alton because Alton was bigger than Tylon, and when Alton fell to the ground defendant started kicking him.

Defendant testified that he saw his friend Farrell Hunter pulling Cecelia off the curb, and he also admitted seeing that her blouse was torn. But defendant said that he fell on top of Alton and they struggled for several minutes until Alton got up and ran away. When Alton ran away, defendant heard Cecelia screaming on the other side of the street. When he crossed the street, defendant saw his friend Hunter raping Cecelia and his friend Tylon kneeling at her head. Although defendant denied raping Cecelia, he admitted standing two or three feet from her for "about ten or fifteen seconds" while she was being attacked by his friends. After defendant stood there for "about ten or fifteen seconds," the police arrived, and he ran away.

Additional evidence is discussed below where pertinent.

OPINION

I

The initial question is whether the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to ask proposed questions which the defense submitted for the voir dire of prospective jurors. The trial court conducted examination of the prospective jurors, and the defense argues that the court abused its discretion by refusing to ask the defense's proposed questions in the following instances:

(a) Although the trial court asked prospective jurors about their present jobs, and the jobs of the members of their immediate families, the court did not ask the proposed question "What other types of jobs have you had?"

(b) Although the trial court questioned prospective jurors about prior jury experience, they were not asked a proposed question about how they felt about their prior jury experience and whether it left them "with any prejudices or cynicism regarding the judicial system."

(c) Although the trial court asked prospective jurors if they, or any close friends, or relatives had been the victim of any crimes, the court did not ask a proposed question about whether any of the prospective jurors knew anyone (e.g., a neighbor who might not be a close friend) who ...


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