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12/27/88 In Re D.N.

December 27, 1988

IN RE D.N., A MINOR (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

Petitioner-Appellee, v.

D.N., a Minor, Respondent-Appellant)

533 N.E.2d 84, 178 Ill. App. 3d 470, 127 Ill. Dec. 466 1988.IL.1874

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Ronald E. Magnes, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and QUINLAN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Respondent D.N. and co-respondent S.P., minors, were brought before the juvenile court and charged with aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)) after they allegedly attacked school teacher Linda Neusome. S.P. was acquitted. D.N. was adjudicated delinquent and sentenced to one year's probation. D.N. appeals. For the reasons below, we affirm.

Events leading to the fight between Linda Neusome and D.N. are undisputed. On March 25, 1986, Ms. Neusome was engaged in her duties as a teacher at Aldridge Elementary School in Chicago, when she was asked by a colleague, Mr. Davis, to retrieve some girls from a bathroom. In the bathroom, Ms. Neusome found students S.P. and D.N. Ms. Neusome asked the girls if they were "in Mr. Davis' class." D.N. replied that they were not. Ms. Neusome asked to see the girls' required hall passes, but they had none.

Ms. Neusome escorted the girls from the bathroom. In the hallway, S.P. separated from Ms. Neusome and D.N., but remained nearby. Ms. Neusome and D.N. walked to the door of Mr. Davis' classroom, where Ms. Neusome spoke briefly with Mr. Davis. The Discussion was not detailed in the record, but evidently was to the effect that D.N. and S.P. were not the students Mr. Davis sought. Davis then returned to his classroom and shut the door. Ms. Neusome asked D.N. why she had lied about being in Mr. Davis' class. D.N. replied that at the time she had answered, she was not in Mr. Davis' room, but in the bathroom, noting for Ms. Neusome the difference.

Ms. Neusome began to take D.N. to the principal's office, when another teacher, Ms. Wooten, and her students, entered the hallway to go to lunch. D.N. asserted that she and S.P. were supposed to be with Ms. Wooten. Ms. Wooten told Ms. Neusome that the girls were supposed to help her later in the day, but did not belong with her at that time. Ms. Neusome stated, "[They] lied to me. From their behavior, I don't think they should be allowed to help."

Subsequent events are sharply disputed. According to Ms. Neusome, D.N. struck her in the face without provocation, knocking her to one knee, and continued hitting her for 45 to 60 seconds, while S.P. and two other unidentified students held her. According to D.N., Ms. Neusome grabbed her by the arm and she jerked away, and this occurred three times. While the grabbing and jerking continued, D.N. claimed, Ms. Neusome accused her of being the ringleader of all the "dumb and stupid students," and threatened to hit her. D.N. claimed that Ms. Neusome then indeed hit her, and that she hit back in an attempt to defend herself, pushing Ms. Neusome to a sitting position on the floor. D.N. stated that they continued to fight until separated.

The incident was witnessed by Ms. Wooten, who called Ms. Neusome from the fight. The incident was also witnessed by about 20 to 30 of Ms. Wooten's students, including D.N.'s sister Antoinette and Tukaya Evans, both of whom helped pull D.N. away from Ms. Neusome. After the fight stopped, Ms. Neusome declared her intent to press charges and went to the principal's office. Investigations of the incident were conducted by the principal, Mr. Kriss Stutzman, and Chicago police department youth officer Daniel Grzyb.

At trial, Ms. Neusome and D.N. testified to their versions of events. S.P., corroborated D.N.'s version, adding that she, S.P., did not touch Ms. Neusome and had pulled D.N. away from Ms. Neusome. D.N.'s sister, Antoinette, corroborated D.N.'s version of events. Tukaya Evans corroborated D.N.'s version, adding that she heard no name calling, and that while she saw Ms. Neusome hit D.N. just once, D.N. hit Ms. Neusome many times. Ms. Wooten testified that immediately after the ...


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