People v. Reed

Citation103 Ill.App.2d 342,243 N.E.2d 628
Decision Date16 December 1968
Docket NumberGen. No. 52638
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. John REED, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

John J. Stamos, State's Atty., Chicago, Atty. for plaintiff-appellee; Elmer C. Kissane, James Kavanaugh, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel.

Gerald W. Getty, Public Defender, Chicago, for defendant-appellant; John E. Hughes, James J. Doherty, Asst. Public Defenders, of counsel.

BURMAN, Presiding Justice.

The defendant, Johnnie Reed, was charged with the crime of attempted robbery (Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 38, § 8--4). He was found guilty after a bench trial and was sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than three years. Our record shows that the date of conviction was April 19, 1967, and that on the same day notice of appeal was filed. The abstract and brief for the defendant was filed on August 23, 1968, more than a year later, by the Public Defender. The brief for the State was filed on September 25, 1968. No reply brief was filed and oral argument was heard on November 18, 1968.

The defendant contends, on appeal, that the State did not establish defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, on the ground that the single identification of the defendant was vague, doubtful and uncertain. This contention is predicated upon the fact that the description the complainant gave the police said nothing about the assailant's face, but merely mentioned the dark coat he, the assailant, was wearing. The rule is well established in Illinois that a conviction cannot be deemed to be sustained by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt if the identification of the accused was vague, doubtful and uncertain. People v. Ikerd, 26 Ill.2d 573, 579, 188 N.E.2d 12. However, a single identifying witness has been held sufficient to sustain a conviction. People v. Hunter, 23 Ill.2d 177, 180, 177 N.E.2d 138.

The evidence reveals that Ernesto Pizarro, the complaining witness, was returning to his apartment about 8:45 P.M. on January 30, 1967. When nearing Wabash Avenue on 9th Street, he was approached by a man wearing a dark coat and holding a gun, 'a beautiful Lombardi revolver.' The assailant said 'give me some meney' to which Pizarro replied 'I no have no money, I give you no money.' When asked what happened after he told the assailant that he had no money, the complainant answered 'Well, I walked into my home * * * across the street, I am watching the guy to see he is going downtown or turning south.' Mr. Pizarro said he observed the assailant walk east on 9th Street and then south on Michigan Avenue. The complaining witness then went outside, hailed a passing police squad car, and went 'looking for a guy with a dark coat on.' Twenty minutes later, at about 12th Street on Michigan Avenue, the occupants of the squad car saw a man walking behind some parked cars. The squad car turned around and two policemen got out of the car to apprehend the man. The two police officers seized the defendant and brought him back to the squad car where Pizarro identified him as the man who had accosted him. Mr. Pizarro also testified that at the time of the attempted robbery, lighting conditions were good.

Spencer Coleman, a police officer, testified that after Pizarro entered his squad car they saw a person walking on Michigan Avenue about the 1200 block. The man they observed 'had the type of hat that the complainant had described, and he had a bundle, it looked like he was putting on his coat.' Officer Coleman said they then turned the squad car around in order to face the defendant. When they had done this the defendant ran away. The defendant, when apprehended, was carrying a dark gray coat and had taken off all of his clothes except his pants, shirt and shoes. The defendant also had thrown his hat on the ground. Officer Coleman said that the defendant struggled for a few minutes when he was arrested.

The defendant testified that he was unemployed and had been job hunting that morning. He further testified that he had attended a movie in the early evening and at 7:20 P.M. started to walk home. The defendant denied that he had attempted to rob Pizarro and also denied that a police officer had chased him on the night in question. He said he did not own a gun.

It appears from the testimony of the various witnesses that Pizarro's identification of his assailant rested entirely on the dark coat the assailant was wearing and the 'beautiful Lombardi revolver' which was never found. The only words the assailant uttered were 'give me some money.' On direct examination the complaining witness did not state the length of time he observed the defendant during the robbery attempt. The complainant also did not give a description of the defendant based on impressions received at the time of the attempted robbery. After Mr. Pizarro testified to the few words that passed between his assailant and himself and how the defendant was apprehended, he was asked the following questions and he made the following answers:

Q. Now, did you see the defendant sitting in the courtroom, Johnnie Reed, immediately after this? Did you see him?

A. Immediately afterwards, I don't identify him from face to face, but I identify the coat that he was wearing as a dark coat.

Q. Did you see him face to face?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And was anyone with Johnnie Reed when you saw him face to face?

A. The policeman.

Q. And about how much later in terms of minutes was this that you saw Johnnie Reed from the time in which Johnnie Reed said 'Give me your money.'

A. Twenty minutes.

From the foregoing testimony Mr. Pizarro apparently did not see the defendant face to face until the policemen brought the defendant to the squad car.

The defendant relies heavily on the case of People v. Kincy, 72 Ill.App.2d 419, 219 N.E.2d 662. In that case the Appellate Court reversed a conviction of robbery after a bench trial because of the failure of complainant to make a facial indentification of the defendant. There, as here, the complaining witness did not at any time testify that she had seen the defendant's face or any of his features during the robbery; after the robbery she called the police and told them that she had been held up by a tall, thin brown-skinned man; that the robber wore a jacket and a hat, and that he was in his early thirties. The defendant was apprehended about sixteen blocks from the occurrence and the complaining witness identified the defendant as her assailant by no other characteristics than the color of his jacket, about which she was not positive, and the color of his hat.

The State claims that the complainant was able to and did identify the defendant by more than the 'dark coat', and that the identification in the instant case is not analogous to the identification made in People v. Kincy, 72 Ill.App.2d 419, 219 N.E.2d 662. They support their claim with the following language from People v. Jackson, 95 Ill.App.2d 28, 32, 237 N.E.2d 858, 861:

(t)he fact that Mrs....

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23 cases
  • People v. Richard, 79-959
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 8, 1980
    ...of the accused was vague, doubtful and uncertain (People v. Gardner (1966), 35 Ill.2d 564, 221 N.E.2d 232; People v. Reed (1968), 103 Ill.App.2d 342, 243 N.E.2d 628; People v. Martin (1968), 95 Ill.App.2d 457, 238 N.E.2d 205), we find from Baker's testimony that his identification was Furth......
  • People v. Rufus, 79-1927
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 16, 1982
    ...(See People v. Versher (1st Dist. 1977), 52 Ill.App.3d 148, 150, 9 Ill.Dec. 877, 367 N.E.2d 311; People v. Reed (1st Dist. 1968), 103 Ill.App.2d 342, 346-49, 243 N.E.2d 628.) We find this contention without merit. The trial court properly denied the motion to Defendant contends that the tri......
  • People v. Bonds, 79-835
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 21, 1980
    ...additional circumstantial evidence of Bonds' guilt. People v. Watson (1975), 28 Ill.App.3d 786, 329 N.E.2d 512. People v. Reed (1968), 103 Ill.App.2d 342, 243 N.E.2d 628 and People v. Charleston (1970), 47 Ill.2d 19, 264 N.E.2d 199 relied on by Bonds are not in point. In Reed, the victim, u......
  • People v. McCray, 57265
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 13, 1973
    ...N.E.2d 133; People v. Martin, 95 Ill.App.2d 457, 238 N.E.2d 205; People v. Kincy, 72 Ill.App.2d 419, 219 N.E.2d 662 and People v. Reed, 103 Ill.App.2d 342, 243 N.E.2d 628, differ significantly from the case at bar. In Marshall, Kincy and Reed, the witnesses did not have a chance to, or fail......
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