From the Circuit Court of St. Louis County; Criminal Appeal; Judge Philip J. Sweeney.
Before Crandall, P.j., Reinhard, Crist, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Crist
Appeal from a jury conviction for burglary first degree and robbery first degree. Defendant was sentenced as a prior offender to ten years imprisonment for the burglary and twenty years imprisonment for the robbery with the sentences to run concurrently. We affirm.
The jury found defendant, armed with a tire tool, and accompanied by another man, forced his way into victim's home. During the course of the robbery, the two tied victim's hands and feet and ripped off her nightgown. They made off with jewelry, silver and other items.
Defendant's first assertion of trial error is the court's overruling his challenge for cause of venireman Curtis. During voir dire, venireman Curtis stated he had a cousin with the Deputy Sheriff's Department in Jefferson County as well as three other distant cousins involved in law enforcement. None of his relatives had any involvement with defendant's case. When questioned by defense counsel as to whether a policeman's testimony was more or less reliable than that of a lay witness, venireman Curtis responded a policeman might be able to give "greater" testimony based on his relationship to the facts and his ability to present facts.
Thereafter, Curtis gave the following answers:
MR. OVERALL: Let me ask it this way: Do you believe a police officer can make a mistake?
VENIREMAN CURTIS: Yes sir.
MR. OVERALL: Do you believe a police officer could arrest the wrong man?
VENIREMAN CURTIS: Yes sir, I believe he could.
MR. OVERALL: Do you have anywhere in the back of your mind anything concerning police testimony that would make it more believable than the testimony of any other witness?
VENIREMAN CURTIS: I really can't give you an honest yes or no answer on that. I think his testimony should be given as much weight as that of anyone else.
MR. OVERALL: Certainly should. Should it be given any more weight because of his ...