APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION
Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee, v.
J.S. et al., Minors, Respondents-Appellants)
505 N.E.2d 1128, 153 Ill. App. 3d 154, 106 Ill. Dec. 337 1987.IL.251
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Ronald E. Magnes, Judge, presiding.
Presiding Justice Sullivan delivered the opinion of the court. Lorenz and Murray, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SULLIVAN
Respondents were charged in delinquency petitions with aggravated battery and home invasion. Following a bench trial they were found to be delinquent, adjudicated wards of the State, and committed to the Department of Corrections. On appeal respondents contend that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence complainant's preliminary hearing testimony and a statement that she made to her niece the morning after the offenses occurred.
The State's principal witness was Julian Samaniego, who had been charged in an information with home invasion arising out of the same incident as the minor respondents. Samaniego agreed to testify truthfully at respondents' trial in exchange for the State's promise to reduce the charge against him to burglary and to recommend a period of probation.
Samaniego testified that at approximately 5 p.m. on February 9, 1983, he met all three respondents, whom he had known for several years, at an arcade in the vicinity of 108th and Calhoun in Chicago. One hour later they left the arcade and began walking through the public housing projects located at 105th and Yates. According to Samaniego, they talked about "getting some money together" and agreed to break into a nearby home. Samaniego did not know the address of the house or who lived there. Samaniego stated that two of the respondents climbed through a rear window while he stayed outside in the gangway with the third respondent to watch for the police. The two respondents who had entered the residence through the rear window exited from the front door five minutes later. All four offenders then fled from the scene.
Samaniego and respondents regrouped later that evening. One of the respondents who had gone into the home told Samaniego that he had pushed the old woman who lived there into her chair when she tried to stand up. He also told Samaniego that he used to go to the store for her.
Helen Brooks testified that at 11 a.m. on February 10, 1983, she went to visit her 95-year-old great-aunt, Rose Hansen, who lived alone in a first-floor apartment located at 10538 South Yates in Chicago. When she arrived, Brooks, who had a key to the apartment, noticed that the chain lock had been secured on the inside of the front door, which was unusual. After Brooks was admitted Hansen told her, "Girl, I've been robbed!" Hansen looked "absolutely terrified." There were bruises on her right arm from her hand to her shoulder and her wrist was broken. The bedroom window in Hansen's apartment was open and could not be closed and locked. There was no telephone in the apartment.
The State introduced into evidence the transcript of Rose Hansen's testimony at Julian Samaniego's preliminary hearing. Sometime after that hearing Hansen suffered a serious stroke and was unable to testify at respondents' trial. Respondents were not parties to the preliminary hearing and neither they nor their attorneys were present at that hearing. Hansen testified that at 8 p.m. on February 9, 1983, two boys came into her house through a window and knocked her down. One of them "squeezed" her arm and "did the damage." They left without taking anything. Hansen was unable to identify her assailants.
Respondents denied committing the offenses charged and presented alibi defenses. One of the respondents admitted that he had stayed away from his home for several days after he discovered that the police wanted to question him. The State presented rebuttal evidence contradicting the alibis and introduced ...