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People v. Davis

May 21, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDWARD DAVIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



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

Not Released For Publication

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDWARD DAVIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

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

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Francis Golniewicz, Judge Presiding

Following a bench trial, the court found defendant, Edward Davis, guilty of retail theft of property worth more than $10,000, in violation of sections 16-1(a)(1) and 16-1(b)(5) of the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(1), (b)(5) (West 1998)). On appeal, defendant contends that the court erred by admitting into evidence, without proper foundation, a document purportedly showing the retail prices of the items taken. We agree and accordingly we reverse the conviction.

 On January 22, 1999, two men and one woman came up to the jewelry counter in a large store. The woman asked to see an engagement ring. Maria King, who worked at the jewelry counter, took the ring out of the locked display case and showed it to her. After looking at it for a while, the woman moved along the counter, talking to King and one of the men.

The other man put his jacket over the counter. He reached over the counter, took a small tray from the display case and slid it under his jacket. When King turned and asked what he put under his jacket, the woman and both men ran out of the store. They dropped the rings from the small tray in the parking lot after a dye pack exploded, splashing the rings with red dye. The three drove away. A video camera in the store recorded blurry pictures of the incident.

Six days later defendant came to the store. A security officer who had seen the videotape spoke with another employee, and they decided to contact police. Police came to the store and took defendant into custody. In a lineup at the police station, King identified defendant as the man who took the small tray from the display case.

At trial King and another eyewitness identified defendant as the thief. King identified the three rings security personnel retrieved from the parking lot. Each ring bore a tag with a catalogue number.

To prove the value of the rings, the prosecutor showed King a document printed at the store on the day of trial. The document listed only three catalogue numbers. King identified it only as "the document that tells the amount." She explained that the catalogue numbers identified the rings, and the document showed a price for each catalogue number listed. She could tell the price of each ring from the document. Over defendant's foundation objection, King read into the record the three prices shown on the document: $6,999, $2,999, and $3,499. The document included many further lines of data regarding the three catalogue numbers, but no one asked King about those lines.

At the close of the testimony the prosecutor sought to have the document admitted into evidence. Defendant renewed his objection based on the lack of foundation. The judge sustained the objection but permitted the prosecutor to reopen. We recount the subsequent foundation testimony in its entirety.

"Q: Do you recognize this document?

A: Yes.

Q: And what do you recognize ...


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