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02/23/88 the People of the State of v. Richard L. Poole

February 23, 1988





520 N.E.2d 1017, 167 Ill. App. 3d 7, 117 Ill. Dec. 666 1988.IL.251

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert L. Sklodowski, Judge, presiding.


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


Richard Poole was charged by information with armed robbery and was convicted thereof by a jury. The trial court sentenced him to life in prison as a habitual offender, as provided in section 33B-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33B-1).

Prior to the trial, which took place in November of 1983, defense counsel tendered two questions to the trial court to be asked during voir dire regarding Poole's entitlement to a presumption of his innocence. In lieu of putting the proffered questions to the prospective jurors, the trial Judge apprised the venire of this right of the defendant in his preamble to the voir dire. In addition, he inquired of each potential juror, "As you sit there, can you think of any reason why you couldn't be fair?"

The evidence adduced at trial was as follows. On March 1, 1983, at approximately 10:15 p.m., Carlene Moldenhauer was approaching her apartment at 671 W. Wrightwood, in a well-lighted area in Chicago, and upon hearing someone walking behind her, she turned around and saw a man, whom she subsequently identified as Poole, pointing a gun at her from approximately one foot away.

Poole said, "This is it, give me the money." When Moldenhauer told him that she had none and began screaming, he ordered her to calm down and repeated his demand. Moldenhauer reiterated that she did not have any money, but finally admitted that she had a dollar bill and gave it to him. Poole wanted to enter the building, but Moldenhauer informed him that she had a roommate who was at home. He next demanded her jewelry, but after refusing, she turned and ran up the stairs of the building.

The first set of doors, which led into a well-lighted vestibule, was open and she entered, but the second set was locked. Moldenhauer began ringing all the door bells, and as Poole entered the vestibule, she turned around. When he realized what Moldenhauer was doing, Poole fled. Moldenhauer then used her key to enter the second set of doors, ran upstairs to her landlady's apartment, told her what had happened, and immediately thereafter called the police.

Within about one minute two officers arrived at the apartment. Moldenhauer described Poole to them as a black man of medium complexion, approximately 30 years of age, about 6 feet 1 inch or 6 feet 2 inches, about 160 to 180 pounds, with a full beard and mustache, and who was wearing a navy blue stocking cap, dark pants, and a brownish leather waist-length jacket. She also described the gun Poole had used as a large, silver-threaded screw-type weapon.

Officers Kern and DeJesus were on patrol when they received a radio report that an armed robbery had just occurred at 671 W. Wrightwood; the report also gave Moldenhauer's description of Poole. Moments later, only several blocks from the scene of the crime, the policemen saw a man driving towards them who fit the robber's description. At that time he was only four feet away from the officers; consequently, they turned on their siren and overhead lights and followed the automobile.

Poole was apprehended after a high speed chase during which Officer Kern saw him bend down as if reaching toward the floor. Kern approached Poole's car, and when he asked him for his license, Poole produced a traffic citation. The officer then required Poole to exit the car and gave him a pat-down search, which revealed nothing. Kern then handcuffed Poole and looked beneath the driver's seat of the car, where he found a loaded .38 caliber gun with a silver-threaded barrel tip. Poole was brought forthwith to the scene of the robbery, where Moldenhauer identified both Poole and the gun.

Motions to quash arrest and suppress evidence and identification were denied. The jury found Poole guilty and he was sentenced to prison for the rest of his natural life in accordance with ...

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