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12/13/89 the People of the State of v. Elijah Parker Et Al.

December 13, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

ELIJAH PARKER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

549 N.E.2d 626, 192 Ill. App. 3d 779, 139 Ill. Dec. 900 1989.IL.1931

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

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE FREEMAN

All defendants filed various pretrial motions. Parker's motions included a motion to quash arrest and a motion to suppress identifications. Maddox' motions included a motion to sever his case from Parker's and White's cases. The trial court denied all of the motions. However, it did grant White trial counsel separate from that of Parker and Maddox.

On appeal, defendant Parker first contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash his arrest because he was arrested without probable cause.

We need not dwell at length upon this issue. We have reviewed the evidence of the circumstances of defendant Parker's arrest and conclude that he was arrested without probable cause. Therefore, the lineup identifications of Parker obtained as a result of that arrest should have been suppressed as "fruit of the poisonous tree." These determinations notwithstanding, the error in admitting that evidence at trial does not require a reversal of his convictions unless we also find that the remaining competent and admissible evidence against him was insufficient to prove his participation in the robbery beyond a reasonable doubt. (See People v. Spicer (1987), 163 Ill. App. 3d 81, 516 N.E.2d 491.)1 However, we do not so find.

At trial, John Burk testified that, at approximately 2:45 p.m. on July 10, 1984, he was cashing a check at the service desk of the Jewel Food Store in Blue Island, Illinois, when defendant White, who had been standing behind Burk, pointed a gun at the store manager, the only person behind the desk, and said, "This is a stick-up," and he then jumped over the counter. White, who was wearing military clothing, then demanded money from the manager, ]who proceeded to load it into plastic bags. At this time, defendant Maddox was parading in front of the service desk and checkout counters holding two guns over his head and threatening to shoot anyone who moved. Maddox then approached the service desk to assist White with the bags of money, and Burk noticed defendant Parker standing by the store's "in and out" doors. Parker, who had no gun, had "an overthrow shirt or something on." Parker left the store first, followed by White and Maddox.

LeDora McDonald testified that she was working at the Jewel store on July 10, 1984, at about 2:45 p.m., when she heard someone say, "ey" while she was "checking" and giving a customer his change. She turned around and saw someone holding a gun. Asked what this person ] said or did after getting her attention, McDonald responded, "He told me that it was going to be a stickup, his buddy would let everybody know in a few minutes, start putting my money in the bag and I did that." While McDonald was putting money into the bag, this person's "buddy let us know what was going on." After putting the money into his bag, "this person" moved over to get the money from the girl at the next counter and then told a bagger "to move on down to get the rest of the money from the rest of the people while he moved over and started making the people come in the door." After stating that the person who pulled a gun and had her empty her drawer of money into his bag was in court, McDonald described him as wearing "a black coat, white shirt and mixed tie." The record reflects that this was defendant Parker. After stating that "the man who was out front" with two guns was also in court, McDonald described him as wearing a black jacket and gray pants. The record reflects that this was defendant Maddox. McDonald further testified that Parker was wearing a shirt at the time of the robbery and had his hair done in French braids.

Defendant Parker contends that he was not proved guilty of armed robbery beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, he argues that neither Burk's nor McDonald's testimony conclusively established that Parker had any role in the armed robbery but that Burk's testimony merely established his presence at the scene, which was not sufficient for a conviction. People v. Cullotta (1965), 32 Ill. 2d 502, 207 N.E.2d 444.

We disagree. Very recently, our supreme court stated:

"'he critical inquiry on review of the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction must be . . . to determine whether the record evidence could reasonably support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But this inquiry does not require a court to "ask itself whether it believes that the evidence at the trial established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." [Citation.] Instead, the relevant question is whether, after reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. [Citation.] This familiar standard gives full play to the responsibility of the trier of fact . . . to resolve conflicts in the testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences . . .. Once a defendant has been found guilty . . ., the factfinder's role as weigher of the evidence is preserved through a legal Conclusion that upon judicial review all of the evidence is to be considered in the light most favorable to the prosecution. The criterion thus impinges upon "jury" discretion only to the extent necessary to guarantee . . . due process of law.'" (Emphasis added.) (People v. Young (1989), 128 Ill. 2d 1, 49, 538 N.E.2d 461, quoting Jackson v. Virginia (1979), 443 U.S. 307, 318-19, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560, 573-74, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2788-89.)

Applying this very deferential standard here, we are compelled to reject defendant's arguments.

Defendant Parker asserts that McDonald's identification of him was vague and uncertain and thus inadequate to convict him. (People v. Cullotta (1965), 32 Ill. 2d 502, 207 N.E.2d 444.) In so arguing, he focuses on her response, "Yes, I think so," when asked on direct examination whether the individual who pulled a gun on her and had her empty her drawer into a bag was in court. He also ...


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