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05/03/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. RAYMOND DOTSON

May 3, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RAYMOND DOTSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Loretta C. Douglas, Judge Presiding.

McCORMICK, DiVito, Scariano

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mccormick

JUSTICE McCORMICK delivered the opinion of the court:

After a bench trial, defendant was convicted of residential burglary of the home of Arlene Pierson and Alan Morrison and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Defendant contends that (1) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, where the sole evidence against him were fresh fingerprints found in the victims' home; (2) the variance between the complainant named in the information and the evidence presented at trial did not fully apprise him of the charge against him, and thus, did not allow him to adequately prepare a defense to the charge; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to grant defendant a one-day continuance of the trial in order to subpoena witnesses pursuant to section 114-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 114-4 (now 725 ILCS 5/114-4 (West 1992).) We affirm.

In the early morning hours of April 19, 1991, the home of Arlene Pierson and Alan Morrison at 8020 South Normal Street, Chicago, Illinois, was burglarized. Various items of personal property were taken from the premises. A Chicago police department technician removed a pair of fresh fingerprints from some drinking glasses in the kitchen at the scene of the burglary. Subsequently, it was determined that the fingerprints matched defendant's.

On August 23, 1991, defendant was arrested and charged with the burglary.

Morrison, a handyman by day who worked as a driver for a livery service in the evening, testified at trial that he checked on his residence at 8020 South Normal Street at approximately 12:30 a.m. on April 19, 1991. Morrison, Pierson and their three children resided at this location. However, because a sexual assault had occurred there weeks earlier, Pierson and the children slept at her sister's house, some blocks away.

When Morrison checked the house, nothing appeared unusual. He viewed the house from a distance of approximately 15 feet. No windows were broken and the burglar bars on the side and rear doors of the house were intact. Morrison had also been in the house earlier in the day, on April 18, 1991, and noticed nothing unusual. The 25-inch television, the VCR and the microwave on the countertop in the kitchen were in their normal positions. A coffee maker and a fewdishes were on top of the microwave. The dishes were washed and there were drinking glasses drying on top of and around the microwave.

Pierson discovered that the residence had been burglarized and informed Morrison of this by telephone. Morrison arrived at the house at approximately 9 a.m. The basement door was unlocked, but the bars and lock on the front door were still intact. When Morrison unlocked the front door (which is actually a side entrance) he found the house in disarray and, in the kitchen, found that the drinking glasses had been moved aside, presumably to gain access to the microwave.

In May, the police showed Morrison a photograph of defendant. Morrison told the police that he did not know defendant but had seen him around in the neighborhood.

Officer Alfred Pirolli, an evidence technician with the Chicago police department, testified that he dusted the items that the victims indicated had been moved for fingerprints. The latent fingerprints he removed from the drinking glasses were fairly fresh because the prints "came up readily" when dusted. On cross-examination, Pirolli testified that he got three "lifts" (latent fingerprints) off the drinking glasses. The glasses themselves were clean and dry. Even though the prints were fresh, Pirolli could not say exactly what time the prints were placed on the glass.

Officer Thomas Krupowicz, a latent prints technician with the Chicago police department for 20 years, stated that in order to have a positive match for a fingerprint, eight to ten characteristics of the latent fingerprint must match a criminal suspect's inked fingerprint impression. Krupowicz, comparing defendant's inked prints to those lifted off the drinking glasses, found over twenty. In Krupowicz's expert opinion, the latent fingerprints lifted off the drinking glasses matched defendant's inked fingerprint card.

The trial court found defendant guilty of residential burglary, determining that the evidence of crime was "overwhelming" and that there was the "unexplained presence of the defendant's prints on the glass in the position where the microwave was removed." Defendant's motion for a new trial was denied.

Defendant's first argument is that the fingerprint evidence was not sufficient to find defendant guilty of burglary beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant contends that this is especially true where the State's witnesses, Alan ...


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