People v. Hunt, 2016 IL App (2d) 140786 (November). Episode 268 (Duration 8:34)
Even the state called the accomplice “a liar” and warned the jury to question her credibility.
Accomplice with serious credibility issues implicates her boyfriend in a robbery.
Defendant’s girlfriend said he did it, and he asked her to scope out the place before he went in with a mask to rob an apartment manager’s office.
However, both the State and the defense argued that the girlfriend had serious credibility issues.
IPI 3.17 on accomplice testimony was not given.
The instruction’s purpose is to warn the jury that the witness might have a strong motivation to provide false testimony for the State in exchange for immunity or some other lenient treatment.
When accomplices testify, courts have found no valid reason for not requesting IPI Criminal 4th No. 3.17.
Accomplice testimony must be cautiously scrutinized, especially considering this case where her plea deal allowed her to avoid the possibility of at least 21 years imprisonment for armed robbery.
Accomplice testimony should be viewed with suspicion and accepted only with great caution, especially if the witness was promised leniency or immunity.
Corroboration, Corroboration, Corroboration
Here the testimony was corroborated by the victim’s testimony and by physical evidence.
Items from the robbery were found in the girlfriend’s apartment and defendant had a ring taken taken from the robbery on his person when he was arrested.
The evidence against defendant cannot be characterized as overwhelming, but considering her testimony, along with the corroborating evidence mentioned, a rational trier of fact could have determined that defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
While subject to careful scrutiny, the testimony of an accomplice, whether it is corroborated or uncorroborated, is sufficient to sustain a criminal conviction if it convinces the jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Nonetheless, defendant cannot show that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to tender the instruction on accomplice-witness testimony.
However, defendant has failed to sufficiently establish that the results of the trial would have been different had defense counsel tendered the accomplice-witness instruction.