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03/02/89 the People of the State of v. Gerald A. Petro

March 2, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

GERALD A. PETRO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

535 N.E.2d 97, 179 Ill. App. 3d 1018, 128 Ill. Dec. 883 1989.IL.265

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. John L. Davis, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE McCULLOUGH delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and GREEN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCCULLOUGH

After a jury trial, defendant was convicted of deceptive practices over $150. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 17-1(d).) Subsequently, the trial court sentenced him to 12 months' probation. Defendant argues he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the statute violates equal protection and due process.

We affirm.

Yvonne Singleton, a cashier at the Farm and Fleet Store in Decatur, testified that on November 4, 1987, she was operating a cash register at the store. She took money in payment for merchandise. She identified an exhibit as being a check for a payment from defendant. When she received the check, she gave it to her supervisor, who approved it. Singleton then entered the amount in the cash register and put the check in the cash register. She did not recall the circumstances of the particular transaction but remembered taking the check.

Diane Scales, a cashier and supervisor at the store, stated she approved the check on November 4, 1987. The check was made out for the amount of $157.55 and payable to Farm and Fleet.

Pete Grosso, a vice-president at First National Bank of Decatur, testified that defendant's account was closed prior to November 1987.

Rick Jones, a detective with the City of Decatur police department, testified that he interviewed defendant. Defendant stated he wrote the check to purchase a chain saw. He knew the account was closed at the time he purchased the saw.

Defendant admitted at trial that he wrote the check but stated he intended to put money in his account to cover the amount. After Jones contacted him, defendant contacted Farm and Fleet and paid the check amount plus the service charge. Defendant further stated he first learned the check had not been honored when Jones contacted him.

Initially, defendant argues the State failed to prove an essential element of the corpus delicti of the offense by evidence independent of defendant's statements to Jones. Defendant contends no independent evidence shows he obtained something of value in exchange for the check. Proof of a criminal offense involves proof that a crime was committed and that defendant committed the offense charged. (People v. Lambert (1984), 104 Ill. 2d 375, 472 N.E.2d 427.) The corpus delicti of an offense may not be proved solely by an accused's confession. There must be either some independent evidence or corroborating evidence outside of the confession which tends to establish a crime occurred. Lambert, 104 Ill. 2d 375, 472 N.E.2d 427.

However, the corpus delicti is not required to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt exclusively by evidence independent of the confession. If the independent evidence tends to prove an offense occurred, then such evidence, if corroborative of the facts contained in the confession, may be considered with the confession to establish the corpus delicti. People v. Willingham (1982), 89 ...


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