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01/18/89 the People of the State of v. Robert Lee Bishop

January 18, 1989





534 N.E.2d 401, 179 Ill. App. 3d 99, 128 Ill. Dec. 219 1989.IL.38

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Roger J. Kiley, Jr., Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA and WHITE, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Robert Lee Bishop, appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County entered upon a plea of guilty for murder and attempted armed robbery. On appeal, defendant argues that (1) he was denied effective assistance of counsel and (2) the trial court erred in sentencing him to 95 years in prison. We affirm.

On the evening of May 30, 1984, Oralia Valasquez was exiting the elevated train station at 19th & Kedzie when a gun was placed to her head and she was killed. Defendant and his codefendant, Charles Johnson, were subsequently arrested and charged with murder and attempted armed robbery.

Defendant and Johnson were tried jointly before a jury. Three civilian witnesses testified in the State's case in chief. Essentially, the witnesses stated that they were across the street at the time of the incident and heard the shot from inside the station. They saw Johnson exit the station after the first shot was fired, saw defendant fire a second shot into the station and saw defendant and Johnson flee the scene. All of the witnesses testified that they were familiar with both defendant and Johnson and had seen them around the neighborhood. The witnesses further testified that they could see clearly and the lighting conditions were good.

Officer James Cornelison testified that he responded to a call at the elevated station at 19th & Kedzie. When he arrived, Cornelison found Valasquez lying facedown in a pool of blood. She appeared to have a gunshot wound to the right side of her head and two small scratches at the base of her neck. Cornelison further testified that when he interviewed Johnson, Johnson stated that defendant suggested that they rob someone and that defendant showed him a revolver. Johnson and defendant went to the train station together, but Johnson stayed outside as a lookout. When Johnson heard the first shot, he ran across the street. Cornelison further stated that after Johnson was in police custody, he led the police to an alley behind 1936 S. Spaulding where the gun that was used to shoot Valasquez was found underneath a garbage can.

Assistant State's Attorney Dane Cleven testified that he took court-reported statements from Johnson and defendant. In defendant's statement, he stated that while he was inside of the elevated train station, he pulled a gun and pointed it at Valasquez. Johnson then began going through Valasquez' purse. A struggle ensued between Valasquez and defendant and the gun went off. Johnson ran out of the train station but defendant continued to struggle with Valasquez. The gun went off again and Valasquez fell to the ground.

Dr. Robert Kirschner of the Cook County medical examiner's office also testified for the State. Kirschner performed the postmortem examination on Valasquez' body. Kirschner stated that Valasquez died from a single gunshot wound to the right temple region. The wound inflicted was a contact wound occurring when the muzzle of the weapon was directly in contact with Valasquez' head at the time the weapon was fired. Kirschner also testified that there was a prominent red-purple bruise on the side of Valasquez' head approximately three inches in length and one-half inch in diameter. This marking, according to Kirschner, was consistent in size and shape with being struck with the length of the barrel of the gun.

After the State rested, defendant took the stand and testified on his own behalf. Defendant testified that he and co-defendant decided to make some "fast money" by robbing someone at the train station. Before defendant could make any further statements, the court excused the jury and conferred with both defense counsel and the State's Attorneys in chambers. The court inquired as to whether Bishop was about to make a confession in open court. It was the court's concern that defendant was aware of what he was about to say and that defendant had been adequately advised as to the consequences of a confession in open court. Defendant's counsel then informed the court that he had advised defendant that by testifying on the record that he did not intend to kill the victim, he would in all likelihood receive a lighter sentence than if he did not testify at all.

The court advised defendant's counsel to confer again with defendant to assure that defendant was well aware of the consequences of his action. After conferring with defendant, defendant entered a plea of guilty. When the jury returned, the court instructed the jury that defendant was no longer on trial and any evidence that was admissible only as to Bishop had been removed.

Defendant's sentencing hearing was held on March 20, 1985. Following evidence in mitigation and aggravation and a statement by defendant, the court imposed upon defendant the maximum extended term of 80 years for murder and the maximum extended term of 15 ...

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