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People v. Hughes





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


Following a bench trial, Sidney Hughes was convicted of rape (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 11-1) and received a prison term of 40 years. On appeal, he contends that: (1) the rape shield statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 115-7) is unconstitutional; (2) the trial court improperly interrogated him about the complainant's credibility; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion by denying him a new trial. We affirm. The pertinent facts follow.

On January 8, 1982, the complainant, defendant, Janette King and four additional people were having a card party in King's apartment. At one point, King and the complainant fell asleep in the bedroom. King later awakened and went into the kitchen. Shortly thereafter, the complainant came out of the bedroom crying and left the apartment but refused to tell anyone why she was upset.

The complainant, who was 18 years old, testified that she knew the defendant and had been friends with King for about four years. She stated that she came to King's apartment to visit but did not play cards. Instead, she engaged in a conversation with her friends, drank beer and fell asleep with King on the bed. She said that she awakened when she heard someone moving the television in the bedroom. Because the room was dark, she could only hear the person but recognized the individual as the defendant by the sound of his voice which instructed her to "shut your m____ f____ mouth." The defendant then climbed onto the bed and started choking the complainant with both hands. She unsuccessfully attempted to release his hands from her neck, started to cry and eventually acquiesced to his sexual demands.

The complainant further testified that when she called out for help during this ordeal, the defendant "slapped me real hard on the left side of my face * * * and then, that's when he took his hand * * * and put it over my mouth and told me to shut up and I told him I would be quiet." The defendant then removed her pants, panties and one of her boots and had intercourse with her for approximately 20 minutes during which time the complainant did not resist "so that he [defendant] can let me up so I can go." The defendant then turned on the light. Before he left he threatened the complainant and told her that she had "better not tell nobody."

Testifying further, the complainant stated that as the defendant was about to leave Janette King entered and asked what was wrong. The complainant accused King of ignoring her calls for help. She left the apartment and called the police from her apartment which was in the same building, two floors above. After explaining to the police what had happened the complainant took them to King's apartment where the defendant had remained. He was placed under arrest and the complainant was escorted to the hospital. The complainant then identified pictures of her neck and face which revealed the scars and scratches she said the defendant had inflicted, as well as a pair of torn panties.

On cross-examination the complainant testified that when she visited King in the past the defendant had attempted "to feel on" her but that she had never reported these incidents to the police. She further stated that on the night in question she drank one can of beer but had not smoked marijuana and had not been drinking earlier that day. She further testified that she saw defendant take a pill that evening "to get high."

Under further questioning, the complainant gave conflicting testimony about whether she told one of the women who were present in the apartment that the defendant had raped her. First, the complainant stated that she did report the incident and then she said that she had not. Redirect examination disclosed that the complainant had not had sex with the defendant prior to the occurrence in question and that she did not talk to him at any time afterward.

Following this testimony the trial court examined the complainant. She testified that she lived with her mother, sister and brothers but that her mother was not at home when the complainant returned from King's apartment.

Next, investigating officer Isaiah Swanigan testified that when he interviewed the complainant in her apartment he noticed that the left side of her cheek was red and slightly swollen. He accompanied the complainant to King's apartment where the complainant identified the defendant and stated, "That's him, that's him right there." Swanigan testified that after he took the complainant to the hospital he noticed several scratches above her left breast.

Under cross-examination, Swanigan testified that the complainant told him that she awakened in King's bedroom when she felt the defendant pulling down her pants and unbuttoning her blouse. Swanigan also stated that although he could smell a faint odor of beer on the complainant's breath, she was not intoxicated, did not stagger and her actions did not indicate that she had had more than one can of beer.

It was then stipulated that the results of the complainant's vaginal examination which had been performed at the hospital revealed the presence of spermatozoa.

Following the denial of his motion for a directed verdict, defendant testified in his own defense. He stated that he had been living with King for about a year but that the complainant, whom he had known for approximately 12 years, was also his girlfriend. Defendant had visited the complainant in her apartment five or six times in the past.

Further testifying, defendant stated that the complainant entered King's apartment, approached him and said that she wanted him to accompany her on a "date," which the defendant understood to mean that she was going to engage in the act of prostitution but wanted the defendant to be present in case the patron refused to pay.

Defendant agreed to this arrangement. The two walked to a nearby residence where the complainant instructed the defendant to wait outside. Fifteen minutes later she emerged and told him that she had taken $50 from a man inside. Defendant also testified that he asked the complainant for $25 for which she said she would give to him at King's apartment. According to the defendant, that had been the arrangement between them on a number of occasions in the past.

After the complainant and defendant returned to King's apartment, defendant noticed that everyone was "getting high" with marijuana, pills and liquor. He said that he then played a dice game in the bedroom and that the complainant placed bets on the side. Later, the defendant went to the store to purchase cigarettes. When he returned he again asked the complainant for his half of the money, but she refused and instead offered $12.50, explaining that she had "lost" some of her money. Defendant stated that when he took $25 from the complainant's hand she argued and kicked the defendant who responded by slapping her and pushing her. Defendant said that shortly thereafter he went to the store to purchase liquor. When he returned he walked to the bedroom, turned on the light and saw the complainant standing on the bed, crying. King then walked in the room and asked the complainant what was wrong. Defendant testified that the complainant did not answer King but instead told him that "You [are] going to get yours" and left. The complainant returned 20 minutes later and again asked defendant for her money. Defendant refused and the complainant left again. On her second return she was accompanied by the police. Defendant said that he had not engaged in sexual intercourse with the complainant that evening but had done so on a number of occasions in the past.

On cross-examination, defendant stated that he considered both King and the complainant as his girlfriends, that he was unemployed and that he supported his child (by King) by robbing people and the complainant's "dates." Defendant then testified that on the day in question he accompanied the complainant on a "date" at about 2:15 p.m. and then returned to King's apartment. He stated that he began drinking that day at approximately 11:30 a.m., took a "downer" and smoked marijuana. He admitted that after he and the complainant returned to King's apartment he resumed drinking and took another pill. Defendant said that he and the complainant argued about the money from the "date" because the complainant said she had lost some of the money in a dice game and could only give him $12.50 of his $25. When the defendant snatched $25 from the complainant's hand he said she kicked him and he slapped her. He said he did not grab her by the throat but that it was possible that he had scratched her chest.

Next, the State submitted a motion in limine to preclude defendant from presenting testimony about the complainant's alleged reputation as a prostitute. Out of the presence of witnesses defendant argued that although he sought to prove that the complainant was a prostitute the purpose of the testimony was only to corroborate his story as to why he attempted to "collect part of his fee" from her.

Following arguments by both sides, the State's motion was granted and defendant rested his case. The State then submitted a certified copy of defendant's conviction record for rape and armed robbery, which the court admitted into evidence, reasoning that the defendant placed his credibility in issue by testifying in his own defense and that by admitting to various criminal activities his credibility ...

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