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People v. Pittman

OPINION FILED JUNE 28, 1984.

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

v.

MICHAEL PITTMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Cornelius J. Houtsma, Jr., Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 28, 1984.

Following a jury trial, defendant, Michael Pittman, was found guilty of two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to serve two concurrent 50-year terms.

He now appeals, contending that (1) other-crimes evidence was improperly admitted at trial; (2) the trial court improperly denied his motions to quash arrest and suppress evidence; (3) as to one count, an essential element of the crime of armed robbery was not proved; (4) the State was guilty of prosecutorial misconduct in closing argument; and (5) the trial court erred in imposing disproportionate sentences.

We affirm the convictions and sentences.

On October 20, 1981, Brenda Jackson and Roy Michel were working as salespeople at the J & S Food Store. Jackson testified that a man, whom she subsequently identified as defendant, Michael Pittman, entered the store at approximately 7:30 p.m. and purchased some candy. After Jackson, who was working the cash register, gave the man change, he pulled a gun and, holding it on Jackson and Michel, who were standing side by side behind the register, demanded the rest of the money. Jackson gave him the money from the register. After taking the remaining coins and food stamps, the robber forced Jackson and Michel at gunpoint into the back of the store and handcuffed them to a barred window. He then returned to the cash register and continued to look for more money. Finding Jackson's purse, he took $25 from it and exited the store.

Five days after the incident, Jackson and Michel were separately shown six photos from which each identified defendant as the man who had robbed the J & S Food Store.

State trooper Delores Enright testified for the State that on November 21, 1981, she was on patrol on Interstate 94 when she saw defendant walking down the highway. She pulled her patrol car up alongside defendant and asked him for identification. Defendant gave her two traffic citations and told her he had run out of gas.

Officer Enright called in the citations on the patrol car radio, and a computer check revealed that there were no outstanding warrants out on defendant. Upon completion of the check, Officer Enright told defendant she would give him a ride to a gas station but that she would have to pat him down before allowing him to enter the patrol car. As she patted down defendant, Officer Enright felt a hard object beneath his coat. She reached under his coat and removed a fully loaded .357 magnum revolver. She placed defendant under arrest and drove him to the police station. When she subsequently ran defendant's name through the National Crime Information Center, she learned that he was wanted on five charges, including armed robbery.

A lineup was held, and Jackson and Michel separately identified Pittman as the man who had robbed the store. Jackson and Michel also observed a handgun lineup and identified the gun that was used by defendant during the robbery.

Carolyn Grandberry, defendant's girlfriend, and Annette Barnes testified for the defense that they were present with defendant at a baby shower from approximately 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the evening on which the robbery took place. Both testified that defendant did not leave the party at any time prior to 9 p.m., when he departed with Grandberry and the couple's little girl.

At the close of the trial, defendant moved for a directed verdict. The court denied the motion and, upon deliberation, the jury found defendant guilty of two counts of armed robbery. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 18-2.

Defendant now appeals those convictions.

• 1 Defendant's first contention is that other-crimes evidence was improperly introduced at trial. He specifically objects to (1) Officer Enright's testimony that he was wanted already on five charges, (2) the photo array submitted to the jury with the name of the Harvey Police Department printed on the front, and (3) the jury instruction that defendant was also ...


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