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04/12/88 the People of the State of v. Billy Wade

April 12, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

BILLY WADE, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT

522 N.E.2d 285, 167 Ill. App. 3d 921, 118 Ill. Dec. 830 1988.IL.513

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Calvin R. Stone, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE STOUDER delivered the opinion of the court. HEIPLE and WOMBACHER, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE STOUDER

The defendant, Billy Wade, appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Peoria County which found him guilty of one count of armed violence, in violation of section 33A-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), and of one count of attempted armed robbery, in violation of section 8-4(a) of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 8-4(a)). Wade was sentenced to a term of seven years' imprisonment for the armed violence only.

On January 13, 1987, Wade entered the Western Meat Market in Peoria with a beige nylon stocking over his face. A co-defendant was already present in the store making some purchases. Wade entered and in a low voice said, "Put the money in the bag." The cashier stated that the man stuttered and was nervous. When the cashier asked what he meant the man stated more clearly, "Put the money in the bag" and reached for a gun, pointing it at the cashier. He threw a blue or purple whiskey bag on the counter. The cashier, thinking the incident was a hoax, instructed the man to leave. The man left, dropping the bag at the door, and ran across the street. Investigation by the police resulted in the arrest of Wade and his codefendant.

During the prosecutor's final rebuttal argument he made the following remarks:

"Now, it is the People's responsibility to prove the defendant [guilty] beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the instructions that you receive will say that you're to consider all the evidence received in this case. Reasonable doubt. Two words, not one. Reasonable doubt. There's a reason we have an adjective, reasonable, in front of doubt. We want, in our system of Justice, people not to be found guilty when there's no evidence that they're guilty. That's not our way.

But, our way is that people are found guilty by juries and Judges across this country when the evidence is there; and the evidence is there when there is, it's beyond a reasonable doubt.

As I said in my first remarks, you, we can't give you a videotape of what happened there; but you have almost everything that happened in Western Meat Market on January 13th of 1987, and there is no reasonable doubt that this defendant was the one who was there and that he knew what he was doing, and he did the acts as he's charged.

The term 'reasonable doubt' is not a shield that this defendant can pull around himself against the evidence. He's presumed innocent when you walk in that jury room. And then you as a jury sit down, and you look at the evidence; and that's when you as a jury say, 'Hey, the evidence is here. This defendant did the acts as charged.' And that's when it all strips away, and you as a jury, as members of this community, say yes, he's guilty. He's guilty because the evidence is there.

And the evidence in this case is here. He's had his day in court. Give him, a fair trial. Give the People a fair trial. That's what you're here for. But remember when this defendant went to the church and stashed these clothes that he could change into ...


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