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People v. Valentine

August 31, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
GLADSTONE VALENTINE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'brien delivered the opinion of the court

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

No. 95 CR 5278

Honorable John J. Moran, Judge Presiding.

Defendant, Gladstone Valentine, appeals his convictions for aggravated battery and unlawful restraint and his sentence of an extended term of 10 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends:

(1) he was deprived of a fair trial when the State cross-examined him about four prior unrelated battery arrests in front of the jury; (2) he was deprived of effective assistance of counsel when his counsel introduced evidence of his prior arrests and "opened the door" to which the State responded; (3) he was sentenced improperly to an extended term of imprisonment without the trial court specifically finding that defendant was eligible for an extended term; and (4) his maximum extended-term sentence was excessive. We reverse and remand.

Defendant was charged with the aggravated battery and unlawful restraint of complainant. At trial, it was uncontroverted that complainant shot defendant during an altercation and that they were personally involved. There were no eyewitnesses to the incident. Complainant testified defendant started beating her so she shot at him to stop him. Defendant testified complainant started shooting at him so he started beating her to stop her. Both sides presented very limited corroborating evidence. Complainant's corroborating evidence suggested defendant attacked because complainant refused to see him. Defendant's corroborating evidence suggested complainant attacked because she was jealous of another woman. The credibility of complainant and defendant was essential to the jury's verdict.

Defendant had a prior retail theft conviction in 1993 and the State, over defendant's objection, was allowed to use it to impeach defendant should defendant take the witness stand. Additionally, defendant had four prior battery arrests.

During defense counsel's direct examination of defendant, the following occurred:

"DEFENSE COUNSEL: You've been in trouble with the police growing up in Chicago and you've had a couple of arrests in '94 and '93 is that correct?

DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Were you ever arrested in '94 or '93 for anything involving violence?

DEFENDANT: No.

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Anything involving possession ...


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