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People v. Walton





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. KEITH E. CAMPBELL, Judge, presiding.


Armed robbery — jury — guilty — 25 years.

Walton was identified by his victim, who had been hospitalized for a nervous disorder prior to the robbery.

Motion for discovery of the victim's mental health records in the possession of State agencies was denied.

We affirm.


Because of the issues raised by defendant on appeal, the facts of this case may be stated in somewhat abridged form.

At approximately 1 p.m., on February 12, 1981, the victim, of Bloomington, was robbed at gunpoint while walking in the vicinity of his home. The robber engaged him in conversation prior to the robbery, but according to the victim, the entire incident took no more than 10 or 15 minutes. After he was robbed, he went immediately to his home and reported the incident to police. He described his assailant as a black man of slim build, approximately six feet in height, weighing 150 or 160 pounds. The robber wore a long tweed trench coat and a stocking cap, and was approximately 20 years old. Officer Frank, of the Bloomington police department stated that when he first arrived at the victim's residence following the robbery, the victim was highly agitated, shaking, and spoke with a nervous voice.

Shortly after the robbery, Officer Bauer, who had heard a radio report of the incident, noticed that a short black male appeared to be leaning forward and stuffing something under the front seat of a suspicious automobile driven by a taller black male which the officer was following. Bauer stopped the vehicle and ordered the two occupants out. The car was driven by defendant, and the other occupant was Jimmie Dale Hannah, who was known by Bauer to have a revoked driver's license. Bauer subsequently discovered a tweed coat on the floor of the car where Hannah's legs would have been. He checked the coat for identification and found a stocking hat, a pair of gloves, and a billfold containing the victim's identification papers. The defendant was thereupon arrested and placed in a holding cell at the Bloomington police station.

Less than 75 minutes after the robbery, the victim was brought into the Bloomington police station's cellblock area. He had previously been shown his wallet, which police told him was taken from a suspect who was in custody. As soon as he saw defendant, he pointed at him and said, "That's him. That's him." The defendant was apparently the only person in the cellblock at the time and was the only suspect shown to the victim. The defendant was not wearing an overcoat or hat at the time the victim identified him. Persons arrested by the Bloomington police department are normally taken to the McLean County jail when they are to be held in custody for more than a short period of time, and lineups usually take place there. It usually takes from one to three hours to organize a lineup.

At a hearing on defendant's motion to suppress the victim's identification of defendant at the showup and the fruits of the search of the automobile which defendant was driving when arrested, the victim stated that he really was not certain whether he had seen defendant prior to the robbery, since a lot of black people look alike. He also stated that on the afternoon of the robbery, he was in no hurry to leave the police department.

At trial of this cause, he also made an in-court identification of defendant and stated that defendant was the person who accosted him. Under cross-examination, he acknowledged that the defendant was "not really" slim, that he appeared approximately six feet two to six feet three inches tall, weighed approximately 170 pounds and was approximately 23 to 25 years old. He further testified that he was convicted of burglary in 1971 and that for the past five or six years had periodically been under a doctor's care for his "nerves." He had voluntarily been a resident in a Decatur mental hospital, where he underwent treatment for his nervous condition, from November 1980 to January 1981. He had never been involuntarily committed to a State hospital. When his nerves got "real bad" they caused him "not to think too good," but he was "completely right" on February 12, 1981. He also described the medication which he took as part of his treatment.


• 1, 2 I. Defendant first contends that the pretrial showup was improperly suggestive and that evidence of this identification was therefore improperly admitted at his trial. Pretrial identifications which are overly suggestive are not per se violative of a defendant's confrontation and due process rights. Evidence of such identifications is admissible if, based on the totality of the circumstances, the identification possesses sufficient indicia of reliability. The relevant factors in evaluating the reliability of such identifications are: (1) the opportunity of the witness to view the defendant at the time of the crime; (2) the witness' degree of attention to the details of the crime and the criminal; (3) the accuracy of the witness' preidentification description of the criminal; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness in identifying the defendant as the culprit; and (5) the amount of time elapsed between the commission of the crime and the identification. Against these factors must be weighed the corrupting effect of the suggestive identification. (Manson v. Brathwaite (1977), 432 U.S. 98, 53 L.Ed.2d 140, 97 S.Ct. 2243.) Furthermore, a one-man showup within a short time of the commission of a crime is to a ...

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