Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Grayson

April 10, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JOHNNY DEWAYNE GRAYSON DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County No. 99CF406 Honorable Stephen R. Pacey, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Steigmann

In September 1999, a jury convicted defendant, Johnny Dewayne Grayson, of aggravated battery (720 ILCS 5/12-4(a) (West 1998)) and domestic battery (subsequent offense) (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2) (West 1998)). In October 1999, the trial court granted defendant's posttrial motion to set aside the aggravated battery conviction, finding that the State had failed to prove that defendant caused great bodily harm. The court then sentenced defendant to two years in prison on the domestic battery conviction and ordered him to pay $200 for his court-appointed attorney, pursuant to section 113-3.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/113-3.1 (West 1998)).

Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense; and (2) the trial court erred by (a) admitting into evidence, under section 115- 10.1 of the Code (725 ILCS 5/115-10.1 (West 1998)), a tape recording of the victim's 911 call and a witness' written statement to the police, and (b) ordering him to pay $200 for his court-appointed attorney. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

I. BACKGROUND

At defendant's trial, Jesse Fullilove, defendant's brother, testified that on the evening of April 16, 1999, he and defendant were playing cards with their sister, May Grayson, at her house. They were playing for money, and Jesse had been winning more than defendant and May. Around 6 p.m., defendant grabbed Jesse's money and then Jesse's nose somehow "got bumped." Jesse stated that he could not recall how it happened, although he "might have bumped [his] nose on the coffee table rail." He also stated that he had not made any physical contact with defendant prior to his nose being broken. Jesse and May then left to go to the hospital.

After leaving the hospital, Jesse and May went to defendant's house, where Jesse called 911. Jesse testified as follows regarding his conversation with police on the night of the incident:

"Q: [PROSECUTOR:] What, if anything, did you tell [the police] about your nose?

A: [JESSE:] My nose was broke[n].

Q: Did you tell them how that happened?

A: I told them how I thought it happened.

Q: What did you tell them about your nose?

A: My nose was broken and I told them I thought [defendant] broke it because I wanted my money back.

Q: How did you tell them your nose was broken?

A: I told them--I think I told them [defendant] hit me in the nose.

Q: And you told the officers that evening that [defendant] hit you in the nose?

A: I don't know whether I stated that. I said my nose was broke[n]. I didn't say he hit me in the nose. I don't know. I might have. I know when I got to the hospital my nose was broken. I thought it was just bleeding. I didn't know it was broken."

Jesse further testified that on the night of the incident, he gave a signed, written statement to the police but May actually wrote the statement and he signed it without reading it. The trial court later admitted into evidence Jesse's statement, which read as follows: "I, Jesse, was over to my sister['s][;] [defendant] hit me in the nose because I won his money[.] He got mad & upset[.] He said he wasn't going for that bullshit."

May testified that on April 16, 1999, her brothers, Jesse and defendant, had a fight at her house because defendant wanted his money back. However, she claimed to be uncertain as to how the fight started or who did what to whom. She testified that during the incident, she was in and out of the room and did not actually see Jesse's nose being broken. She also stated that defendant was "tossed into a coffee table."

May also testified that on the night of the incident, she gave a written, signed statement to the police. Over defendant's objection, the trial court later admitted that statement into evidence. In that statement, May essentially says defendant got upset, cursed, and jumped Jesse.

An emergency room physician testified that on the evening of April 16, 1999, he treated Jesse for a lacerated and broken nose. During this treatment, Jesse told the physician that he was injured when he was punched in the nose during a fight.

Bloomington police officer Tim McCoy testified that around 11 p.m. on April 16, 1999, he responded to a domestic disturbance at defendant's house. When McCoy arrived, he spoke with Jesse, who told McCoy that defendant hit him in the nose after a dispute over some money. McCoy also spoke with defendant, who told McCoy that he hit Jesse because Jesse grabbed him around the neck. McCoy then arrested defendant and recovered a roll of blood-covered dollar bills. McCoy stated that Jesse then gave a written statement, using a Bloomington police department "voluntary statement" form. McCoy observed Jesse writing on the form, and McCoy signed the completed statement to acknowledge Jesse's signature. The prosecutor also showed McCoy photographs that he testified depicted the injuries to Jesse's nose and the blood on his shirt on the night of the incident.

McCoy also noticed that defendant had scraped knuckles, which defendant told him happened when defendant scraped his knuckles on the ground. McCoy observed no other injuries to defendant.

The trial court then allowed the State to recall Jesse to ask him about the 911 call he made on the night of the incident and to lay a foundation for the introduction of the tape recording of that call. In that tape recording, Jesse said that defendant hit him in the nose and broke his nose.

On this evidence, the jury found defendant guilty of aggravated battery and domestic battery. The trial court later set aside the aggravated battery conviction and sentenced defendant as earlier stated. This appeal followed.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

Defendant first argues that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense. We disagree.

Self-defense is an affirmative defense, and once a defendant raises it, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense, in addition to proving the elements of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt. (Defendant concedes that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed domestic battery. See 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2) (West 1998).) The elements of self-defense are that (1) unlawful force is threatened against a person; (2) the person threatened is not the aggressor; (3) the danger of harm is imminent; and (4) the use of force was necessary. People v. White, 293 Ill. App. 3d 335, 338, 687 N.E.2d 1179, 1181 (1997). If the State negates any one of these elements, the defendant's claim of self-defense must fail. People v. Shields, 298 Ill. App. 3d 943, 947, 700 N.E.2d 168, 172 (1998).

The jury, as the trier of fact, determines witnesses' credibility, draws reasonable inferences from testimony, and resolves conflicts in evidence. A jury therefore need not accept a defendant's claim of self-defense. People v. Boyd, 307 Ill. App. 3d 991, 995, 719 N.E.2d 306, 309 (1999). "The standard of review for this issue is whether, taking all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, any rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act in self-defense." People v. Lee, 311 Ill. App. 3d 363, 367, 724 N.E.2d 557, 561 (2000).

In this case, the only evidence suggesting that defendant acted in self-defense came from Officer McCoy, who testified that on the night of the incident, defendant told McCoy that he hit Jesse because Jesse grabbed him around the neck. May testified that after defendant took the money, both he and Jesse started the fight. However, May acknowledged that on the night of the incident, she gave a written statement to the police, in which she stated that after defendant lost money in a card game, he became upset and "start[ed] jumping" Jesse. Jesse testified that after defendant grabbed the money, Jesse "bumped" his nose, although he could not recall how it happened. He also testified that he had not made any physical contact with defendant prior to his nose being broken. Jesse's testimony regarding his conversation with police on the night of the incident was internally inconsistent. At one point, he acknowledged that he told the police that defendant broke his nose because he wanted his money back but later stated that he could not remember whether that is what he told the police. Jesse's written statement to the police, which he admitted signing but denied writing, indicated that defendant hit Jesse in the nose after Jesse won defendant's money. In addition, the medical and photographic evidence reveals that Jesse suffered a lacerated and broken nose. In contrast, defendant was unscathed except for scraped knuckles. The apparent one- sided nature of the struggle supported the State's theory that defendant did not act in self-defense.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, we conclude that a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act in self-defense, but instead instigated the entire incident or mutually entered into it. See White, 293 Ill. App. 3d at 338, 687 N.E.2d at 1182 (the defense of self-defense is not available when both parties fought willingly upon equal terms).

In so concluding, we note that the only evidence suggesting that defendant acted in self-defense came through the testimony of Officer McCoy when, during the prosecutor's direct examination, McCoy testified that defendant told McCoy that he hit Jesse because Jesse grabbed him around the neck. McCoy so testified ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.