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06/28/89 the People of the State of v. Silas

June 28, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

VINCENT SILAS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

541 N.E.2d 1239, 185 Ill. App. 3d 920, 133 Ill. Dec. 801

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert L. Sklodowski, Judge, presiding. 1989.IL.1015

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE FREEMAN

Defendant, Vincent Silas, was charged by indictment with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of armed violence, two counts of residential burglary, and two counts of home invasion. The indictment also charged James Fletcher (Fletcher) and Tina Silas. Defendant and Fletcher were tried jointly in a bench trial. Defendant was convicted on both counts of residential burglary and two counts of robbery, a lesser included offense of the armed robbery charged. The trial court sentenced defendant to concurrent terms of eight years' imprisonment for robbery and eight years for residential burglary.

Defendant appeals and raises the following contentions: (1) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel since his attorney failed to move to sever the trial and to redact defendant's name from a statement given by Fletcher; (2) the trial court's failure to grant a severance, sua sponte, constituted plain error; (3) the trial court erroneously limited the cross-examination of witness Willie Patton; (4) defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt since the State's witnesses gave inherently incredible testimony; and (5) the multiple convictions entered against defendant violate State and Federal protections against double jeopardy.

For the reasons stated below, we affirm the judgment in part and vacate in part.

At trial the State called several witnesses. Willie Mae Patton, the victim, testified that she lived in an apartment at 5307 West Lake Street in Chicago. The apartment building has a locked door through which one must enter before climbing the stairs to Patton's apartment. Defendant lived in Patton's apartment from May or June 1985 until shortly before November 16, 1985, the date of the subject incident. John Palmore also lived in the apartment during most of that time. When defendant moved in, Palmore believed that defendant was Patton's brother. At some point, defendant forced Palmore out of the apartment. Patton stated that at some time, Palmore told her that he did not like defendant. Patton stated the reason was that defendant was living with Patton. In May or June 1985, defendant "jumped on" her, and then "jumped on" Palmore.

Patton further stated that she knew James Fletcher four or five years prior to the subject incident. Patton also knew Fletcher's common law wife, Willie Mae Randall. During the summer of 1985, Patton allowed Randall to store some bunk beds and other furniture in her apartment. After two months, defendant sold the beds. Patton then asked defendant to move out, which defendant did. Fletcher asked Patton about the beds, and appeared violent and called Patton names. Patton told him that she did not have the beds, and refused to pay for them. In early November 1985, Palmore moved back into Patton's apartment. Defendant was not living there at the time.

On November 16, 1985, around 6 p.m., Patton and Palmore were home installing a kitchen floor. They heard a knock at the door, and Patton looked out the window and saw Tina Silas. Patton had known Tina Silas for approximately five years and stated that Tina Silas occasionally visited her. Patton went downstairs and let Tina Silas into the building and then into the apartment. Tina Silas asked Patton and Palmore for a quarter for a telephone call. Palmore gave her a quarter, and Tina Silas left the apartment stating that she would return.

After 10 minutes, there was another knock at the door. Patton looked out the window and saw Tina Silas alone. Patton went downstairs, and as she opened the door, she saw defendant and Fletcher with Tina Silas. Fletcher and defendant stated, "This is a stick-up." Defendant carried a gun. Defendant and Tina Silas went upstairs to Patton's apartment while Fletcher held Patton downstairs. Fletcher hit Patton in the eye with his fist, knocking her down. Fletcher held her down while taking $8 from a change purse in her brassiere. Fletcher then dragged Patton to her apartment and threw her to the floor. He covered her with blankets and sheets from the bed and stated that if she moved he would kill her. Fletcher "tore up" the room, took Patton's radio and cigarettes, and left. Patton then got up and saw Palmore. She and Palmore looked around the apartment. The apartment was "torn up" and everything was pulled out of the drawers. Patton called the police. Patton admitted on cross-examination that in April 1986, she told an assistant State's Attorney, and in May 1986, she told defense counsel, that she wanted to drop the charges against defendant.

John Palmore testified that on November 16, 1985, he lived at the Lake Street apartment with Patton. They were installing a floor in the apartment when there was a knock at the door. Patton went downstairs to answer it and then returned with Tina Silas. Palmore gave Tina Silas a quarter and she left the apartment to make a telephone call. After 10 minutes Patton went downstairs to answer another knock at the door. The next person Palmore saw was defendant, who entered the apartment with a small, dark gun that looked like a .22 caliber. Defendant took the hammer that Palmore was using in installing the floor. Defendant pushed Palmore over, grabbed his wallet and took $70 from it and then threw the wallet on the floor. Tina Silas then picked up the wallet, looked through it and then threw it on the floor. Palmore remained on the floor for a few minutes, then got up and saw that defendant and Tina Silas were gone. Palmore found Patton on the bedroom floor covered with blankets. The apartment was "torn up" and books, clothes, and other things were on the floor.

Allen Jaglowski was called as a witness for the State. Defense counsel objected to any testimony that might be given by Jaglowski that would tend to incriminate defendant. Counsel acknowledged that he did not move to sever at the start of trial, but stated to the trial Judge, "[Since] you are the trier of fact I am sure you can distinguish any irrelevant evidence as opposed to relevant matters." The court responded, "I will only consider whatever evidence is offered ...


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