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People v. Tanner





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. Thomas P. Faulkner, Judge, presiding.


Defendant James Tanner appeals his convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault, armed violence, and two counts of aggravated battery. He was sentenced to 10 years on the sexual assault and three years each on the other charges, all to run concurrently. We affirm.

The victim testified that she had borrowed a friend's car to go out on the night of the incident. Her first stop was the Big Ten, a bar on Lockport Road. While there, she shot pool and drank. Her uncle then walked in. He was dressed as a woman. The victim and her uncle then went to the Oasis bar. She spent approximately two hours there shooting pool and drinking. Her uncle sat at the bar alone, drinking.

The victim and her uncle then went to the Pheasant Club. There, they sat at the bar, drinking. Subsequently, defendant and two others approached them. One of defendant's companions, Darrin Davis, offered to buy the victim a drink, which she refused. She recognized defendant and Davis, having seen them before. The victim then began dancing with another patron. Meanwhile, defendant and his friends went to sit at the table at the back of the bar.

As the bar was closing, the victim and her uncle started to leave. Another patron, Robert Cartright, asked the victim for a ride. As the three were about to leave, the victim saw defendant and his companions walking towards the car. The victim rolled down the window. She stated that, then, defendant reached through the open window and hit her twice in the face. The victim pushed his hand away and got out of the car. Defendant then struck her on the side of the face with his fist. She then got back in the car and drove away. Neither defendant nor the other two were struck by the car as she drove away.

The victim noticed in her rear-view mirror that a car was speeding up to her. She made two left turns to avoid the other car, but was cut off. She was cut off a third time and had to slam on the brakes. Her car went dead. At this point, defendant and his companions exited their car and entered the victim's. Cartright and the victim's uncle exited the car to run away. Defendant told the others not to let the uncle get away.

The victim then got out of the car and started to run. Defendant told another man, Hogue, not to let her go either. They both chased her. Hogue caught her. Defendant then came up and hit her on the left side of the head and on the chest with his fist. The victim again tried to run, but was caught. Defendant was handed a broken pool cue and struck the victim in the leg.

At that point, Hogue grabbed the victim's blouse, tearing it. Davis and Hogue then pulled her clothes off. The victim was then placed on the ground. Hogue got on top of her and had intercourse with her. Defendant knelt by the victim's head and forced her to perform fellatio. After Hogue was finished the victim attempted to get dressed. Davis stopped her and tried to have intercourse with her.

After Davis gave up his efforts, the victim then put on her pants and wrapped a blanket around herself. Defendant again began to strike her with his fist, kick her in the mouth, and hit her with the pool cue. Defendant further beat her and then choked her. The victim eventually escaped and phoned the police. She was examined at Silver Cross Hospital. Her face was swollen for one week. Her leg was swollen for two or three weeks, and it was still dark and dented at the time of trial.

The victim was impeached by admitting three prior misdemeanor theft convictions. She also admitted that she did not tell the police of any oral sex with her attackers. She told no one of the act until her fourth meeting with an assistant State's Attorney.

The uncle of the victim essentially corroborated the victim's testimony. He stated that after he had left the car, two men grabbed him, threw him to the ground, kicked him, and hit him with the pool cue repeatedly. He was hospitalized for one week as a result of the beating.

Defendant did not testify, but two statements given to the police were admitted into evidence. His version of the facts differed in many aspects. He admitted chasing and hitting her. This was because she allegedly hit him in the leg with the car she was driving. He specifically denied having any sexual contact with her.

A forensic scientist was called. She stated that a microscopic analysis had been performed on various hairs found on the victim. A pubic hair, found in the victim's head, was consistent with the defendant's and not the others. Another pubic hair and a scalp hair found on the victim's jeans were also consistent with the defendant and not the others.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts. Defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of 10 years and ...

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