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People v. Davis

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 20, 1984.

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

v.

JOE DAVIS ET AL., DEFENDANT-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Maurice D. Pompey, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendants, Joe Davis and Dwayne Reid, were convicted of armed robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 18-2.) Both defendants were sentenced to 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. This consolidated appeal followed.

Defendants raise eight issues for consideration on review. Both defendants contend (1) that they were not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of armed robbery. Defendant Davis individually contends that (2) he was denied a fair trial by the State's failure to disclose his statement, elicited from the victim at trial, concerning the commission of another crime; and (3) that improper evidence of flight in the course of his arrest was put before the jury. Defendant Reid individually contends that he was denied a fair trial by (4) the admission of the testimony of his mother; and (5) the ineffective assistance of counsel. Finally both defendants contend that (6) the trial court erred in admitting prior consistent statements of the victim; (7) that the prosecutor's remarks in opening statement and closing arguments denied them a fair trial; and (8) that the 18-year sentences imposed by the trial court are excessive.

We reverse the convictions for armed robbery and remand for a new trial.

FACTS

On November 12, 1981, at approximately 4:45 to 5:30 in the afternoon, the victim was accosted and robbed by two men as she walked home from work. According to the victim's testimony, she had just gotten off the CTA train at the Cicero Avenue stop and was walking westbound on Lexington Avenue toward her home when defendant Davis, whom the victim knew from school and the neighborhood, grabbed her from behind. The victim testified that Davis held her by the neck with his left arm while at the same time cutting her gold neck chains off with a five- to seven-inch knife. At the same time, defendant Reid, also known to the victim from the neighborhood, attempted to grab her purse and asked her if she had any money. At this point in time, the victim's friend Cassandra Davis walked by the victim and defendants on the sidewalk. The victim testified that Cassandra stopped and asked her, "What's happening, Pumpkin." Defendant Reid then approached Cassandra and spoke with her while defendant Davis stood directly in front of the victim holding the knife in his pocket pointed at her side and telling her not to say anything. On cross-examination, the victim stated that Davis did not hold onto her while Reid and Cassandra spoke. After speaking with defendant Reid, Cassandra walked on toward her home.

After defendant Reid returned to where the victim and defendant Davis were standing, four men passed them on the street. The victim asserted that defendant Reid once again ran up to one of the men and spoke with him while Davis held the knife in his pocket to her side. The four men then moved on.

Cassandra Davis' testimony essentially corroborates that of the victim. According to Cassandra, she first saw the victim when she was at the corner of Lexington and Cicero and the victim was "about six houses" down the street with the defendants. Cassandra was not aware at that time that it was the victim or the defendants and recognized them only when she had caught up to them. Like the victim, Cassandra knew the defendants from school and the neighborhood. According to Cassandra, the victim was between the defendants on the sidewalk. Cassandra testified that at the time she caught up to the victim and defendants she stopped, looked at the victim, and noticed that she "looked scared." She inquired of the victim if anything was the matter, and Reid came up to her and told her that Davis was trying to make a date. Cassandra then walked toward home looking back several times and passing four men walking toward the victim and defendants. On cross-examination, Cassandra testified that at no time had she seen any knives in Reid's or Davis' hands. The above events took place in the space of about 10 minutes.

The victim and defendants then moved to a gangway between two houses facing the street and into the backyard of one of the houses. The victim alleged that while in the gangway, Davis removed her leather coat. The defendants then pulled the victim into the backyard.

Once in the backyard, Davis pushed the victim up against the house. According to the victim's testimony, Reid then emptied her purse on the patio, taking $20, CTA tokens, and a leather compact. The victim asked Davis why they were doing this, and Davis responded that they needed "to get their ladies out of jail" and that "he [Davis] had just robbed another man."

The victim further testified that Reid then forced her by the chimney part of the wall on the back of the house. Reid then searched her for more money, forcing her to take off her shoes. Reid also untucked the victim's shirt and felt for money under her shirt and bra.

Reid then told the victim that he believed she had more money and hit her with a closed fist three times on her face, splitting her lip. Reid again asked her if she had any more money. When she told Reid that she had no more money, Davis took out his knife, held it to her throat, and again asked for money. Her testimony continued that when she repeated that she had no more money, Davis lowered his knife and Reid also took out a knife. The victim stated that Reid said that they would have to hit her "where it hurts" and that Davis stated that they would have to leave her there because she could identify them.

The victim testified that the robbery ended when a Mrs. Jones, who lived in the next house, came out to empty her garbage, frightening away Davis and Reid. At that point, she jumped the fence into Mrs. Jones' yard and asked to use the telephone. Once in Mrs. Jones' house, the victim told her that she had been robbed and beaten and that she knew her attackers. Mrs. Jones' testimony essentially corroborated this portion of the victim's testimony, except that there was no testimony that Mrs. Jones saw any knives or that the victim told her about the knives.

The victim testified further that she called home from the Jones' house and talked with her mother. A short time later, her father came and took her home. In the meantime, someone at the victim's home called the police. Prior to their arrival, the victim received a phone call from Cassandra Davis. She testified that she told Cassandra that she had been robbed and beaten by defendants. She also learned the full names of both defendants from Cassandra. Cassandra testified that the victim had told her that the defendants had "hit her in the jaw and they had cut her chains and took her jacket."

The victim claimed that about 6 p.m. police officers arrived at her home and spoke with her, her mother, and her father. One of the officers, Officer Nelson, testified that he and his partner received a radio call to investigate an "attempt rape" and proceeded to the victim's home where they were met by the victim and her mother and father. According to the officer, the victim was upset and the right side of her face was swollen and red. She told the officer that she was robbed at knifepoint by the defendants and that they had taken her coat, purse, $20, a small leather purse, and some tokens. The officer also stated that the victim told him that both defendants had knives. On cross-examination, however, the officer acknowledged that the police report prepared by him and his partner mentioned only one knife and omitted several of the items claimed by the victim to have been taken.

Defendant Davis was arrested at his home on November 17, 1981. Defendant Reid voluntarily surrendered two days later. Following a jury trial, both defendants were convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. This appeal followed.

OPINION

I

The defendants' first argument on appeal is that they were not proved guilty of armed robbery beyond a reasonable doubt. The victim's testimony was the only direct evidence that the defendants had committed armed robbery. Defendants contend that the victim's testimony, taken as a whole, is so unbelievable as to preclude a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The State contends that the question of reasonable doubt turns upon the issue of the credibility of the victim, and that because the jury found the victim to be credible, defendants were proved guilty of armed robbery beyond ...


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