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10/09/87 the People of the State of v. Jerry Johnson

October 9, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JERRY JOHNSON, A/K/A CARL SCHLITZKUS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

516 N.E.2d 343, 162 Ill. App. 3d 952, 114 Ill. Dec. 188 1987.IL.1518

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas Hett, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. SULLIVAN, P.J., and MURRAY, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

Defendant was charged with armed violence and armed robbery. The State nol-prossed the armed violence charge. In a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of armed robbery. The sole contention he urges on appeal is that he was denied the right to trial by a fair and impartial jury because the trial court erroneously denied his challenges of two veniremen for cause.

We affirm.

The following pertinent testimony was adduced at trial. Complainant was approached by two men. One of them pointed a gun at complainant's stomach, told him not to move, cocked the gun and told him to give the two all the money he had. The complainant lifted his hands and told them he had no money. The offender who did not have the gun took complainant's watch.

A bystander who witnessed the occurrence gave the same account. Immediately after the robbery the bystander followed the offenders for approximately 35 feet. The complainant and bystander gave similar descriptions of the offenders to security guards at the scene. A short time later defendant was apprehended and placed in a lineup, where he was identified by both complainant and the bystander as the offender who held the gun.

Opinion

The defendant contends that he was denied a fair trial because the trial court erroneously denied his challenges of two veniremen for cause. We do not agree. The trial Judge is afforded broad discretion in voir dire. (People v. Goff (1985), 137 Ill. App. 3d 108, 484 N.E.2d 414.) Reversal of a conviction will only lie when there has been an abuse of discretion whereby defendant would be denied an impartial hearing. (People v. Bowen (1980), 87 Ill. App. 3d 221, 408 N.E.2d 993.) The trial court's determination of whether prospective jurors can give the accused a fair trial should not be set aside unless that determination was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. People v. Pecina (1985), 132 Ill. App. 3d 948, 477 N.E.2d 811.

One of the veniremen that defendant challenged was Noreen Woldenberg. After the trial court's introductory address, a group of 14 veniremen was called. Each group was examined in the same manner. After examining the venire as a whole, the trial court conducted the following examination of Woldenberg:

": Q. . . . You have checked off here you have been or immediate member of your family or close friend has been the victim of a crime.

A. One of the girls had their purse snatched two times, but nothing else fortunately; and another one was mugged, but put up a ...


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