DECEMBER 31, 2008
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiff-Appellee, ) Cook County.
v. ) No. 05 MC 1255978
ANGELA FALLS, ) Honorable
) Mark J. Ballard,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the opinion of the court:
The defendant, Angela Falls, was tried by a jury for battery and resisting a peace officer. She
was acquitted of battery but convicted of resisting a peace officer and sentenced to the time she had
served in jail while awaiting trial. On appeal, the defendant contends that she was deprived of a fair
trial when: (1) the trial court refused to answer two questions sent to it by the jury during its
deliberations; (2) the prosecutor improperly shifted the burden of proof to the defendant when the
prosecutor reminded the jury that no witness was called to corroborate the defendant’s testimony;
and (3) the trial court prevented the defendant from introducing testimony regarding her reputation
in the community for truthfulness after the prosecution made an issue of the defendant’s character.
The defendant also asserts that her guilt was not established beyond a reasonable doubt. We find
reversible error by the trial court and remand for a new trial.
The State’s case was based primarily upon the testimony of Deputy Sheriff Ronald Lapka
(Sheriff Lapka). On July 15, 2005 he was working at the x-ray machine at the criminal court
building located at 26th Street and California Avenue in Chicago. The defendant had worked as a