People v. Perry

Citation37 Ill.Dec. 170,401 N.E.2d 1263,81 Ill.App.3d 422
Decision Date29 February 1980
Docket NumberNo. 15722,15722
Parties, 37 Ill.Dec. 170 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dennis PERRY, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Foss, Schuman & Drake, William J. Stevens, Chicago, for defendant-appellant.

Ronald C. Dozier, State's Atty., Bloomington, Gary J. Anderson, Acting Deputy Director, State's Attys. App. Service Commission, Karen L. Boyaris, Springfield, for plaintiff-appellee.

MILLS, Presiding Justice:

CHARGES: Armed robbery, home invasion, burglary, and felony theft.

JURY: Guilty.

JUDGE: 20 years, concurrent.


A jury trial resulted in defendant's convictions for three counts of armed robbery, one count each of home invasion, burglary, and felony theft. He was sentenced to 20 years for each armed robbery charge, 20 years for home invasion, 7 years for burglary, and 5 years for the theft all to run concurrently. He raises eight issues on appeal.

But first, a brief review of the facts.

The incident in question occurred in the early morning hours of December 18, 1978, at a residence at 216 South Coolidge in Normal, Illinois. Three of the five occupants were in the home asleep at 1:20 a. m. when the doorbell rang. One of the residents, Ronald Sobkoviak, answered the call and encountered a thin black man, who asked for "Dan."

Daniel Flick was summoned, at which time the black man and several others forcibly entered the dwelling. In the next 15 to 20 minutes, the residents were threatened, beaten, cut, held at gunpoint, and robbed. Due to the lighting conditions, the residents were unable to identify the perpetrators but they were able to tell that one wore an Army fatigue jacket and that three different types of shoes were worn: blue tennis shoes with white stripes, hiking boots, and black dress shoes. A number of items which were taken by the intruders were identified at trial, including a Pioneer stereo amplifier and an Illinois State University class ring bearing the inscription "Greg Burmeister."

Martin Belz, the next-door neighbor of the victims, upon hearing of the event, informed police that he had seen a black over light yellow Buick equipped with amber colored lenses over the brights, and an object hanging from the rearview mirror. The automobile was outside his residence at the time of the offense.

This vehicle was spotted by an Illinois State University police officer at 4:24 p. m. outside the Waterson Towers dormitory. The officer observed four men loading items into the auto. As the auto left, it was stopped by ISU and Normal police officers. The defendant was the driver of the auto and the Pioneer stereo amplifier was seen on the front seat. After defendant consented, the officers searched his dorm room and found the class ring. They also recovered an Army fatigue jacket and a pair of blue tennis shoes with white stripes. At trial, defendant stated that he had spent the entire evening in question with his girlfriend, Pamela Pharms, in her dorm room. He stated that he purchased the amplifier and ring from a man named "Bob" in a parking lot for $60. He borrowed the automobile from a friend to use while moving between dormitories.


The defendant initially submits that in light of the fact that all of the evidence of guilt was circumstantial and the fact that there existed unrefuted alibi evidence, he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant cites a number of cases wherein the appellate court has reversed convictions due to failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Moore (1973), 12 Ill.App.3d 78, 298 N.E.2d 202; People v. Claudio (1971), 3 Ill.App.3d 309, 279 N.E.2d 39; People v. Adams (1969), 115 Ill.App.2d 360, 253 N.E.2d 23.

We are not persuaded.

To support a conviction upon circumstantial evidence, it is only necessary that the proof of circumstances be of such a conclusive nature and tendency as to lead, on the whole, to a satisfactory conclusion and to produce a reasonable and moral certainty that the accused, and no one else committed the crime. (People v. Marino (1970), 44 Ill.2d 562, 256 N.E.2d 770.) It is essential that the facts proved be not only consistent with defendant's guilt but also inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence. The State is not, however, required to establish guilt beyond the possibility of a doubt. People v. Branion (1970), 47 Ill.2d 70, 77, 265 N.E.2d 1, 5, cert. denied (1971), 403 U.S. 907, 91 S.Ct. 2213, 29 L.Ed.2d 683.

In the instant case, the defendant was the operator of an automobile which matched the description of the one at the scene. He possessed blue tennis shoes with white stripes and a green Army fatigue jacket both no different from those worn by the perpetrators. Finally the most incriminating circumstance he was in possession of the spoils of the offense. Recent, exclusive, and unexplained possession of stolen items may give rise to an inference of burglary and armed robbery, and is sufficient to sustain the conviction unless overcome by facts or circumstances which create a reasonable doubt. People v. Franceschini (1960), 20 Ill.2d 126, 169 N.E.2d 244; People v. Bullock (1977), 51 Ill.App.3d 149, 9 Ill.Dec. 218, 366 N.E.2d 475.

Defendant strenuously points to the unrefuted alibi evidence. As noted above, defendant testified that he spent the entire evening with Pamela Pharms. Pharms corroborated this statement and another resident of the floor, Tina Holmes, stated that she saw the defendant on the dorm floor on the night in question. The State offered no evidence to refute this testimony. The jury was not, however, required to believe the alibi evidence, even though it was unrefuted. People v. Grice (1978), 60 Ill.App.3d 7, 17 Ill.Dec. 284, 376 N.E.2d 283.

We further note that there were sufficient questions raised so as to discredit the corroboration of defendant's alibi. Holmes stated that she saw defendant between 7 p. m. and 12 p. m. on the night of December 17, 1978. She stated that she did not see defendant enter Pharms' room and that she would not have known if defendant had left the floor. Since the instant offense was committed sometime after 1 a. m., the testimony of Holmes was of little probative value.

The credibility of Pharms was also questioned. Pharms stated that she did not know whether she loved defendant or whether she hoped to marry him. The prosecution then introduced a copy of a letter Pharms had written in 1978 stating that she loved defendant and hoped to marry him. Clearly she was not a disinterested witness.

Under the facts and circumstances of this case, the jury could have properly determined that defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and we will not substitute our judgment for that of the jury.


Defendant made a motion for a new trial which was accompanied by an affidavit signed by Kevin Marshall, stating that he was a witness to the transaction between defendant and the man named "Bob." The affidavit stated that he did not come forth earlier because he was afraid of retaliation from "Bob." Since the time of trial, Marshall had learned that "Bob" had been killed in Chicago.

To award a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence, the new evidence must be of such a nature that it would probably change the result on retrial; must be material to the issue and not merely cumulative; and must be of such a nature that it could not have been discovered prior to trial by the exercise of due diligence. People v. Torres (1977), 47 Ill.App.3d 101, 5 Ill.Dec. 480, 361 N.E.2d 803.

Of the above requirements, one of these has not been met: Defendant has not shown due diligence in obtaining Marshall's testimony. At trial, defendant stated that there were a number of other people who had observed the transaction with "Bob." He had seen these people around but did not know them personally. Defendant, when asked if he had ever tried to locate the other individuals, replied negatively.

The trial court correctly denied the motion for a new trial.


On direct examination, defense counsel asked the defendant about his prior convictions for forgery.

"Q. And could you tell us, please, what, if any, problem you had last year with the law?

A. I wrote two bad checks, one for $14 and one for $41.

Q. And what happened after that?

A. I pleaded guilty to it.

Q. To what offense, please?

A. To forgery.

Q. And did you contest those charges?

A. No, I didn't.

Q. What is your plea in this case, Mr. Perry?

A. Not guilty."

On cross-examination, the trial court allowed the State, over defendant's objection, to elicit from defendant that his guilty plea was pursuant to a plea agreement. Defendant now claims that this constitutes reversible error.

While proof of a prior conviction offered to discredit the testimony of the accused may only be done by introduction of a prior record and not cross-examination (People v. Donaldson (1956), 8 Ill.2d 510, 134 N.E.2d 776), the prosecution's examination in this case was not improper.

As noted above, the fact of a prior conviction was brought out on direct examination by defense counsel. Additionally, the manner of questioning employed on direct examination indicates that defense counsel was trying to infer innocence on the present charges by the fact that defendant had pleaded guilty to other charges. This was highly improper (See People v. Belvedere (1979), 72 Ill.App.3d 998, 28 Ill.Dec. 649, 390 N.E.2d 1239), and the State's Attorney was entitled to refute this inference by establishing the plea agreement.


Defendant, relying upon the Supreme Court's decision in Taylor v. Louisiana (1975), 419 U.S. 522, 95 S.Ct. 692, 42 L.Ed.2d 690, and Duren v. Missouri (1979), 439 U.S. 357, 99 S.Ct. 664, 58 L.Ed.2d 579, also argues that the trial court erred in refusing a hearing on defenda...

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  • People v. White
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    ......114-3(a),(b).) Denial of such a motion on the grounds it was not in writing and accompanied by an affidavit has been upheld. (People v. Perry (1980), 81 Ill.App.3d 422, 37 Ill.Dec. 170, 401 N.E.2d 1263, cert. denied (1981), 451 U.S. 983, 101 S.Ct. 2313, 68 L.Ed.2d 839; People v. Rosa ......
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    ......38, par. 1001-1-2(d).) More recently, the court in People v. Perry (1980), 81 Ill.App.3d 422, 431, 37 Ill.Dec. 170, 401 N.E.2d 1263 rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the Unified Code of Corrections ......
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