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03/23/89 the People of the State of v. George W. Mattingly

March 23, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

GEORGE W. MATTINGLY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

536 N.E.2d 257, 180 Ill. App. 3d 573, 129 Ill. Dec. 573 1989.IL.397

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. Rodney A. Scott, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND

On March 29, 1988, defendant George W. Mattingly was tried in absentia before a jury in the circuit court of Macon County and was convicted of committing the offense of forgery, in violation of section 17-3 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 17-3). He was sentenced in absentia to four years' imprisonment. Defendant now appeals, alleging the jury was misinstructed as to the elements of the offense and he was improperly sentenced. We affirm.

The evidence at trial established defendant resided with Jeff Montgomery for two weeks in September 1986. On October 10, Montgomery discovered a book of checks missing. He went to his bank and discovered one of the checks had been presented and cashed. The check was made payable to George Mattingly in the amount of $500 and was signed Jeff Montgomery. Montgomery did not sign the check.

On July 21, 1987, defendant was interviewed and denied any knowledge of the check. At that time, defendant gave handwriting samples. An expert testified that the writer of the samples was the one who endorsed the check.

On January 10, 1988, defendant was reinterviewed and advised of the expert's opinion. Defendant stated a black man known as Bubba gave him the check already filled out. Another man known as Cheta drove him to the bank where defendant endorsed and cashed the check. Defendant received $50 for his efforts. He also knew Bubba was not Jeff Montgomery.

The State tendered two issues instructions on forgery, alleging in one that defendant made the check, and in the other that defendant delivered the check. It also tendered two sets of verdict forms. These were given over defendant's objection to the multiple instructions. Defendant was found guilty of having delivered the check and not guilty of having made it.

Defendant first argues that the jury was misinstructed concerning the elements of the offense of forgery. He believes this error denied him a fair trial and requires reversal.

The instruction in question read:

"To sustain the charge of forgery, the State must prove the following proposition:

FIRST: That the defendant knowingly issued or delivered a check which he knew had been made or altered so that it appeared to have been made by another or by ...


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