People v. Williams, 2017 IL App (3d) 150879 (February). Episode 312 (Duration 10:26)
Off duty officer outside his jurisdiction stops defendant for swerving; this leads to a DUI arrest.
Off-duty officer is on on his way home after a shift.
He is in an unmarked squad car equipped with a radar gun. He is still in his police uniform. He is driving in another county when he sees defendant driving in the opposite lane towards him.
Defendant is going 60 in a 25 and swerves into the officer’s lane almost striking the off duty officer’s car.
The off duty officer uses his personal cell to call 911 and to get an officer from the jurisdiction out to the scene.
The off duty officer follows defendant to a driveway where he engages him in conversation. He takes his DL and tells him to wait for the Lockport police officer to get there.
When Lockport PD gets there defendant fails the FSTs and he is arrested for DUI.
The record reveals defendant voluntarily stopped his vehicle once he arrived at the driveway of a friend’s house.
The off-duty Palos Hills police officer did not activate his lights to effectuate a traffic stop at any point in this process.
Instead, defendant voluntarily parked and exited his vehicle without any directive from the off-duty officer.
Defendant was on foot when the off-duty Palos Hills police officer approached defendant and struck up a conversation.
Defendant voluntarily stopped walking in order to speak to the off-duty Palos Hills police officer.
During this conversation, the off-duty Palos Hills police officer asked if defendant had been drinking, asked for defendant’s driver’s license, and instructed defendant to wait with the officer in the driveway until the Lockport police department could reach that location.
Shortly thereafter, the Lockport police officer arrived and spoke to both men.
The off-duty Palos Hills police officer spoke to the Lockport police officer about the erratic driving and improper lane use he witnessed on the night of the incident.
The trial court noted it was undisputed that the Palos Hills police officer was off duty and outside of his jurisdiction when the officer first observed defendant’s vehicle traveling towards him on the roadway.
The court expressed doubts about “the truthfulness and accuracy of the officer’s testimony as it relates to the series and sequence of the officer’s observations.
The court’s findings implied that the court believed the off-duty Palos Hills police officer first used the radar gun to measure defendant’s speed before observing defendant commit the other offenses.
The trial judge stated that when making an extraterritorial arrest, an off-duty police officer may not use powers of his office that are unavailable to a private citizen to obtain evidence. The trial court emphasized that it believed the evidence obtained from the radar gun was the true reason for the stop, not the improper lane usage described by the off-duty police officer. The trial judge was concerned that the Lockport police officer did not charge defendant with an improper lane usage violation.
For these reasons, the trial court judge questioned the off-duty police officer’s “conclusion that the stop was predicated on the lane violation” independent from information gathered by the use of the radar gun.
Accordingly, the trial court granted defendant’s motion to quash the DUI arrest and suppressed all evidence obtained as a result of the first unlawful stop.
At common law, a police officer cannot lawfully arrest a suspect outside of the jurisdiction that appointed the officer unless acting in “fresh pursuit” of a suspected felon fleeing from that jurisdiction.
An exception to the common law rule arose from section 107-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (the Code), which allows a private person to arrest another person when “he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed.” 725 ILCS 5/107-3.
Under section 107-3, a police officer acting outside of his jurisdiction retains all of the rights of an ordinary citizen to effectuate a citizen’s arrest.
However, an extraterritorial arrest by an officer acting in the capacity of a private citizen will not be upheld by a court pursuant to section 107-3 where the officer, acting as a citizen, relies on information gathered by using powers of his office to create reasonable grounds for the arrest.
What About A Radar Gun?
Powers of office have been construed to include the use of a radar gun because this device is generally unavailable to private citizens. See People v. Lahr, 147 Ill. 2d 379, 383 (1992).
Here, an off-duty police officer, acting outside his jurisdiction, stopped defendant for improper lane usage. Improper lane use is an “offense other than an ordinance violation” for the purposes of creating the authority to effectuate a citizen’s arrest under section 107-3 of the Code. See People v. Kleutgen, 359 Ill. App. 3d 275, 279 (2005).
However, the Lockport police officer conducted his own investigation of the DUI offense after arriving on scene.
It was the Lockport police officer that elected to arrest defendant for DUI and speeding, but did not issue a citation for improper lane usage.
The case law provides that the Lockport police officer was not required to charge defendant with all minor violations witnessed by the off-duty Palos Hills police officer because after the stop, the Lockport police officer became aware of a more serious violation. See People v. Goestenkors, 278 Ill. App. 3d 144, 149 (1996).
The reviewing court concluded that the Lockport police officer’s decision not to charge defendant with improper lane usage is not outcome determinative. In spite of these unusual events, the appellate courts said the trial court’s ruling misapplies existing case law.
In People v. Gutt, 267 Ill. App. 3d 95, 99 (1994), the court upheld an extraterritorial arrest, similar to the case at bar. In that case, the off-duty officer first used a radar gun to obtain evidence but later observed the defendant fail to use his turn signal.
The same circumstances exist here and support the lawfulness of defendant’s arrest for improper lane usage before the Lockport police officer made it to the scene.
The holding is that an off-duty police officer’s use of a radar gun outside of his jurisdiction, before personally witnessing a driver commit other traffic offenses unrelated to excessive speed, will not taint subsequently developed probable cause to conduct an arrest by the officer acting in his civilian capacity.
Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.