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03/17/87 the People of the State of v. Ronnie Bullock

March 17, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

RONNIE BULLOCK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

ACCORDING TO PEOPLE

v.

KIMBROUGH (1985), 138 ILL. APP. 3D 481, 485 N.E.2D 1292, A RECENT ILLINOIS DECISION:



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

507 N.E.2d 44, 154 Ill. App. 3d 266, 107 Ill. Dec. 380 1987.IL.317

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard Petrarca and the Hon. Don A. Moore, Judges, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SCARIANO delivered the opinion of the court. STAMOS and BILANDIC, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SCARIANO

After a jury trial, defendant-appellant Ronnie Bullock was found guilty of the deviate sexual assault and aggravated kidnaping of D.L., a nine-year-old female, and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 60 and 15 years for the respective offenses. On appeal, defendant presents five issues for review. Initially, defendant contends that evidence of "other crimes" (i.e., a deviate sexual assault upon and aggravated kidnaping of C.N., a 12-year-old female) was inadmissible against him to establish modus operandi and identity. Secondly, defendant argues that it was improper for the trial court to allow C.N. to testify concerning the fact that she recognized Bullock in a lineup identification. Defendant next maintains that evidence of a composite sketch which was the product of the two victims' descriptions was inadmissible against him because the sketches were drawn in a suggestive manner. Furthermore, defendant asserts that he was prejudiced by the State's closing arguments in which the prosecutor repeatedly referred to the "two little girls." Finally, the defendant claims that information regarding another suspected rapist was improperly withheld from him in pretrial discovery. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

D.L. testified that she was walking to school at approximately 8:15 a.m. on March 18, 1983, when she noticed a man in a "police uniform" standing by a beige-colored car in her friend's driveway. She looked at him, he looked at her, and she began to run. The man backed the car out of the driveway and chased the girl to the corner. D.L. heard two shots. The man then got out of the car, grabbed D.L., forced her into the front seat and ordered her to lie on her stomach, and proceeded to drive into an alley. While still in the front seat, he pulled down her panties and inserted his penis in her anus. D.L. subsequently fled after he told her to get out of the vehicle.

C.N. testified that on the morning of April 18, 1983, she was returning to school with her report card in an area approximately eight blocks from where D.L. was assaulted. She saw a man with blue pants, white shirt, a tie, jacket, and a blue car. The man was holding in his hand a black wallet which contained something resembling a police badge. He asked C.N. if she knew where the 51st Street police station was, and she responded that she did not know. He then asked her if she wanted a ride to school. When she said no and ran away, the man chased her, caught her, put a gun to her stomach, and forced C.N. into the front seat of the car. He told her to get down on her knees while he drove the car into an alley. While still in the front seat, he pulled down one leg of her slacks and inserted his penis in her vagina while she was lying on her stomach. He put tissue in her vagina and released her.

Detective Hickey, an officer assigned to investigate the D.L. and C.N. attacks, developed a theory that one man was the attacker of both girls and arranged for D.L. and C.N. to meet with Officer John Holmes, a police artist, in order to get a composite sketch of the assailant. Holmes worked with D.L. first and constructed a representation of her attacker, and C.N. viewed the picture and suggested that the artist add wrinkles to the forehead, which Holmes did. Both girls concurred that the resulting composite sketch looked like the man who had sexually assaulted each of them.

The composite sketch was circulated on a police department "Daily Bulletin" on April 30, 1983. On May 2, 1983, Officer Edward Moore contacted Detective Hickey and told her that he recognized the composite as Ronnie Bullock. On May 5, 1983, Bullock was arrested. On that same day, D.L. and C.N. each viewed separately a lineup in which both girls positively identified Bullock as the man who had attacked them.

Prior to trial on the charges involving D.L., Bullock filed a motion in limine to restrict the State's use of evidence involving the deviate sexual assault on C.N. The trial court ruled that the evidence of the assault on C.N. was admissible in order to show modus operandi and identity. Bullock's primary complaint on appeal is that evidence of the crimes committed against C.N. was improperly admitted at the trial on the charges involving D.L.

In considering Bullock's contention, we recognize that the trial court is afforded some latitude in assessing relevance. A reviewing court should not reverse the trial court's finding on the admissibility of evidence unless an abuse of discretion occurs. (People v. Lieberman (1982), 107 Ill. App. 3d 949, 955, 438 N.E.2d 516.) Evidence of crime other than the one for which the accused is being tried is generally not admissible. (People v. McDonald (1975), 62 Ill. 2d 448, 343 N.E.2d 489, 492.) There is an important exception to this rule, however. Evidence of other crimes committed by a defendant may be admitted if relevant to establish any material fact other than the propensity of the defendant to commit a crime which includes, but is not limited to modus operandi, intent, identity, motive, and absence of mistake. People v. McDonald (1975), 62 Ill. 2d 448, 455, 343 N.E.2d 489.

" Modus operandi means, literally, 'method of working.' It refers to a pattern of criminal behavior so distinct that separate crimes or wrongful conduct are recognized as the work of the same person. [Citation.] If evidence of other crimes is offered to prove modus operandi, there must be some clear connection between the other crime and the crime charged which creates a logical inference that if defendant committed one of the acts, he may have committed the other act. . . . he inference is created when both crimes share peculiar and distinctive common features so as to earmark both crimes as the handiwork of the defendant. . . . While there must be a strong and persuasive showing of similarity between the other crime and the crime charged to satisfactorily demonstrate modus operandi [citation], it is not necessary that the crimes be identical for the other crime to be admitted into evidence . . .." 138 Ill. App. 3d 481, 486-87, 485 N.E.2d 1292.

In sum, therefore, the courts must consider the circumstances and pattern of events in their entirety, on a case-by-case basis, in determining whether the modus operandi exception applies. People v. ...


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