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People v. Lavas





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert L. Massey, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied March 28, 1983.

After a jury trial, James Lavas (defendant) was convicted of aggravated battery and battery. He was found not guilty on two counts of armed robbery, two counts of armed violence, and three additional counts of aggravated battery. Defendant was sentenced to four years for aggravated battery and "up to one year" for battery, to run concurrently. Defendant appeals.

In their testimony, the two complainants corroborated each other on most important points. Both testified they were walking home together from a "gay disco" at about 3 a.m. on February 23, 1980. Complainant Lindblad testified he had previously injured his ankle. He leaned on complainant Bartczyzyn for support. Complainants were called by two men standing in a well-lighted gangway. One or both of these men directed obscenities to the complainants. These two men held metal rods or pipes. The men were identified as defendant and Joseph Ganshirt.

Ganshirt, an accomplice of defendant, testified for the State. After plea bargaining, Ganshirt pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the work release program for two months and to probation for four years.

After receiving threats, complainant Lindblad gave the defendant $10 or $11. Bartczyzyn told defendant he had only some change. Ganshirt struck at Bartczyzyn with his rod. Bartczyzyn blocked the blow and struck Ganshirt with his right hand. A car approached and Lindblad ran to the car. Defendant struck Bartczyzyn on the back of his head with a rod. The police arrived in a few minutes. Bartczyzyn was X-rayed at the hospital. Thirteen stitches were required for his head wound.

At a lineup in the police station, Bartczyzyn could not identify the defendant but still stated he thought defendant was one of his attackers. Lindblad saw defendant strike Bartczyzyn on the back of the head with a metal pipe. He identified defendant at the police lineup and in court.

The accomplice Ganshirt testified he was with defendant and three other men. They saw the two complainants. Defendant demanded money from the complainants. Defendant struck one of the complainants with a pipe. Ganshirt testified he did not see any money pass from one man to another.

The defendant called police investigator Paul. He conducted the lineup that night. Bartczyzyn could not positively identify defendant because he was too busy fighting off Ganshirt, the accomplice. Lindblad identified defendant without doubt. The officer also testified Ganshirt told him verbal advances of a sexual nature were made by the complainants.

Daniel Duran testified he was with defendant and Ganshirt. He saw defendant and Ganshirt confront the complainants. Ganshirt held a pipe but defendant was not armed. Ganshirt hit one of the complainants with a pipe. A scuffle started and the witness fled. He did not see any money change hands.

Defendant testified he was in the car with Ganshirt, Duran and three other people. Ganshirt left the car with a pipe in his hand. Defendant asked the other men to stop Ganshirt but no one cooperated. Defendant followed Ganshirt alone. Defendant was unarmed. Defendant asked Ganshirt to return to the car but the latter refused. Ganshirt then hit one of the complainants with a pipe. A fight ensued and defendant testified, "I just jumped on the guy, you know." Defendant denied he hit any person with a pipe and denied he asked complainants for money.


• 1 Defendant urges inconsistency between the verdicts of acquittal and those of guilt. It is the settled law of Illinois that neither legal nor logical consistency is required in the verdicts of a jury. The only issue is whether the verdict of guilt is properly supported by the evidence. We find this proposition firmly established in People v. Dawson (1975), 60 Ill.2d 278, 280-81, 326 N.E.2d 755. Dawson has been followed by this court in a number of cases including People v. Harris (1982), 104 Ill. App.3d 833, 840, 433 N.E.2d 343, People v. Brandstetter (1982), 103 Ill. App.3d 259, 272, 430 N.E.2d 731, appeal denied (1982), 91 Ill.2d 561, People v. Depper (1980), 89 Ill. App.3d 135, 138, 411 N.E.2d 543, and People v. Johnson (1980), 87 Ill. App.3d 306, 310, 409 N.E.2d 48. We reject defendant's contention.

On the issue of reasonable doubt, the defendant in effect testified he was attempting to prevent the incident but he still remained to become an active participant in the fight. The testimony of the two complainants is strong and unimpeached and sufficient in itself to constitute proof of defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice is sufficient to convict. (People v. Wilson (1977), 66 Ill.2d 346, 349, 362 N.E.2d 291.) This is true even though the accomplice testified he expected leniency. (People v. Brisbon (1980), 89 Ill. App.3d 513, 526, 411 N.E.2d 956, appeal denied (1981), 82 Ill.2d 586, cert. denied (1981), 451 U.S. 990, 68 L.Ed.2d 849, 101 S.Ct. 2328.) In the instant case the accessory testified he had received leniency. However, the testimony of the accomplice in the case before us is most strongly corroborated by the testimony of the two complainants and to a limited extent by defendant's own testimony. A ...

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