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08/01/88 the People of the State of v. Anthony Quinn

August 1, 1988





527 N.E.2d 905, 173 Ill. App. 3d 597, 123 Ill. Dec. 267 1988.IL.1180

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Romie Palmer, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL, P.J., and MANNING, J., concur.


The defendant, Anthony Quinn, appeals his murder conviction and 25-year sentence to this court based on certain alleged trial court errors during his jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County. Quinn was charged with the murder of Roger Love following the fatal stabbing of Love at Denise Monroe's home on the evening of May 17, 1985. During the trial, the State called Denise Monroe; Bernadine Davis, a friend of Monroe's; Chicago police officers Zawislak and Falkenberg, who were called to the scene and who later arrested the defendant; Chicago police officers Zefeldt and Doyle of the Chicago police crime lab; Sara Estrada, a nurse from St. Anthony's Hospital, where Roger Love was taken for emergency treatment; and Dr. Tae An, a pathologist from the Cook County medical examiner's office. The defendant did not testify but presented the testimony of William Lee, an intake clerk in the medical examiner's office; Detectives Vantilberg, Smith, and Brankin of the police crime lab; and Earl Quinn, the defendant's father. Subsequently, the jury returned a guilty verdict and the defendant was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment.

At the trial, Denise Monroe testified that Quinn was a former boyfriend and the father of one of her four children. She stated that Quinn was living in her home, along with her current boyfriend, Roger Love, and Monroe's children. On the evening of May 17, 1985, Bernadine Davis, Monroe, and Love were playing a card game in Monroe's living room. Earlier, at the preliminary hearing. Monroe had testified that an individual known as "Dude" had also been present that evening but did not stay long after Quinn arrived. However, at trial, she admitted that she had not given this information to the investigating officers. Monroe further testified that shortly after Quinn arrived at about 8:45 p.m., he walked into the kitchen to speak with his daughter and then returned to the living room and sat on the couch. Monroe said that after about 10 minutes, Quinn got up and stood near the card table, stated "[Tonight] I'm going to jail," and then plunged a knife into the right side of

Bernadine Davis, who also testified, said that when Officer Zawislak was interviewing her in the kitchen of Monroe's apartment, Quinn returned through the back door and she said to the officer, "[That's] him." Officer Zawislak testified that he then pushed Quinn up against the kitchen counter and Quinn's jacket opened to reveal a leather-handled knife in a sheath inside the front waistband of his pants. Zawislak said Officer Falkenberg assisted him in arresting Quinn and they then placed Quinn in a patrol wagon, which had been called to the scene, for transportation to the police station. It was stipulated that the blood on the knife removed from Quinn's waistband was the same type as the victim's and that a second knife was recovered by the police officers operating the patrol wagon. The victim, Roger Love, was taken by ambulance to St. Anthony's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:40 that evening.

Bernadine Davis' testimony differed from Ms. Monroe's in that she stated when Quinn returned from the kitchen he stood between Monroe and Love, muttered something unintelligible, and then lunged at Love as Love sat at the card table. Both women testified that Quinn left the apartment, after the stabbing, through the back door in the kitchen.

It was the defense theory that Monroe, Davis, and Dude had conspired to kill Love, had taken his money, and that Dude had then planted the weapon on Quinn as he was returning to the apartment. Earl Quinn, the defendant's father, testified that Anthony, who had been napping at his house, was awakened by a telephone call from an unknown male, who the defense counsel speculated to be Dude, at about 8:30 p.m. on May 17, 1985. Earl Quinn heard his son say to the caller that he'd be down and that his son then left the house. Earl Quinn also testified that his son was drunk when he left the house. An intake clerk at the medical examiner's office, William Lee, testified that Roger Love did not have any money in his possession when his body was received at the medical examiner's office, and Detective Vantilberg, of the crime lab, testified that there were no fingerprints on the recovered knives. Detective Smith, also an employee of the crime lab, stated that he found dried blood on the chair in which Love was sitting when he was stabbed but that no blood was visible on Anthony Quinn, Denise Monroe, or Bernadine Davis. Detective Brankin's testimony corroborated the State's witnesses concerning what they had told him immediately following the incident, and he also confirmed that the witnesses failed to mention the presence of Dude at the apartment.

The defendant raises several issues which he claims constituted reversible error, including the cumulative effect of certain prosecutorial remarks; the exclusion of Bernadine Davis' prior convictions; and the admission of a morgue photograph of the victim's stab wound. The defendant also asserts that he was denied effective assistance of trial counsel.

The defendant first argues that the prosecutor's closing remarks were so prejudicial as to require a reversal of his conviction. In particular, he contends that reversible error occurred by the cumulative effect of the prosecutor's remarks which he claims: (1) attempted to shift the burden of proof to the defendant; (2) were comment on the defendant's failure to testify; (3) vouched for the police officers' credibility; (4) were comment on the defendant's failure to produce a defense witness; (5) were comment on the ineptness of the public defenders; and (6) accused the defendant of maligning the character of the victim and the prosecution's witnesses.

The defendant contends that the State attempted to shift the burden of proof to him when, during closing argument, the prosecutor commented on the defendant's lack of proof of his defense theory. In particular, he complains of the prosecutor's comments reminding the jury of the defendant's opening statement where the defense had argued that the evidence would show that Dude or Davis had killed Love and that the defense had not presented any evidence that Dude or Davis had killed Love. These statements, he argues, attempted to shift the burden of proof to the defendant.

However, these statements were made during closing argument in response to the defendant's theory of the case, and the prosecutor acknowledged to the jury that although, in his opinion, the defense theory remained unproved, the defendant was under no obligation to prove anything. Also, we note that the trial court here cured any error by properly instructing the jury regarding the burden of proof. (People v. Rowe ...

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