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People v. Beasley





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Theodore M. Swain, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied August 25, 1982.

Defendant, Leotis Beasley, was charged by indictment with rape and robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 11-1, 18-1). Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant was found guilty of rape and not guilty of robbery. He was sentenced to six years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

On appeal, defendant contends that (1) the State deprived him of a fair trial by failing to request an instruction informing the jury that a prior inconsistent statement used at trial for impeachment purposes could not be considered as substantive evidence; and that (2) the trial judge should have recused himself.

We affirm defendant's conviction.


Evidence presented at trial disclosed that on January 11, 1979, at about 1 a.m., the 18-year-old victim, a ward of the State, was walking home from the CTA elevated train stop at Addison and Lincoln following a visit that evening with her caseworker. As she walked, a male pedestrian on the opposite side of the street followed her for a few blocks, then suddenly crossed the street, stopped and questioned her, threatened her with a gun, and robbed her.

While the victim was attempting to empty her pockets, two other men approached, one from a nearby alley and the other down the middle of the street. Two of the men then took her by the arms, forced her through a gangway between two buildings, pushed her to the ground in an open courtyard area, and threatened to kill her if she screamed. The victim testified that as one of the two men held her down, the other pulled down her pants and raped her. After a few minutes the two men changed places. As the second man finished, he cut the side of her throat with a knife. The victim screamed, and the two men ran.

The victim then attempted to get help by running from door to door along the back of the apartment building, trying to awaken someone. Thomas Garcia, the occupant of the first floor apartment, heard her screams and let her in. He immediately called the police, and the victim called her caseworker. The police arrived within minutes, took a description of the two alleged rapists from the victim, and broadcast it to all patrol cars in the area. Using the description the victim provided, the police apprehended a black man on the Addison elevated train platform and brought him to the sidewalk in front of the Garcia apartment for a showup. The victim, looking through the window, positively identified him as one of the two men who had raped her.

Two policemen then took the victim and her caseworker to the emergency room of Ravenswood Hospital, where she was examined and treated for a knife wound to the neck, abdominal abrasions, and possible sexual assault. Examination of specimens taken by the attending physician revealed the presence of nonmotile sperm, and the attending physician recovered one foreign hair from the surface of her abdomen. The victim was released about one hour later, whereupon the two policemen drove her to the area police station in order to file a complaint and view a lineup.

At the first six-man lineup, held on January 11, 1979, within four hours of the assault, the victim positively identified Stanley Williams, originally a co-defendant in this case, and Johnny Hunt as two of the three men involved in the rape and robbery. On the following day, January 12, 1979, the victim viewed a second six-man lineup and picked out defendant Beasley as the other man who had raped her. Acting on information gained after the arrest of Williams, the police had obtained an arrest warrant and had arrested Beasley at his apartment early on the morning of January 12, 1979.

Williams and Beasley were subsequently charged by indictment with the rape and robbery of the victim (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 11-1, 18-1). Following several pretrial hearings at which several witnesses were extensively questioned and cross-examined, the trial judge denied defendants' motions to quash the arrest, to suppress evidence, to suppress identification, and to grant them both free transcripts.

Approximately one month after the denial of the last pretrial motion, Williams's attorney learned that the trial judge's close relative was the complaining witness in an unrelated case in which a black man was accused of raping a young white woman. Claiming that the judge was prejudiced and biased, alleged proof of which was his denial of all defendants' pretrial motions, attorneys for both defendants filed a motion to dismiss the charges or, in the alternative, to vacate all the previous rulings and to substitute judges. After a hearing, the trial judge also denied this motion. At this point, defendant Williams withdrew his not-guilty plea, entered a plea of guilty, and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 13 years for rape and 7 years for robbery.

At defendant Beasley's trial, the State's case-in-chief began with testimony from personnel at Ravenswood Hospital establishing the laboratory procedures by which sperm was discovered in a sample of vaginal fluid taken from the victim and a hair found on her abdomen was determined to be of the same type as Williams's pubic hair. Police officers then testified about the procedures used to photograph the physical evidence, the transfer of evidentiary material to the police crime lab, and the specific steps taken in both the arrest of defendant Beasley and the conduct of his lineup. The victim related the story of the robbery, the rape, her attempts to get help, the showup outside the Garcia apartment, and the two lineups. Although cross-examined at length about the placement of the porch lights ...

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