Illinois search and seizure law springs directly out of the federal constitution 4th Amendment. It’s one of the most litigated subjects in a criminal courtroom.
On top of that, entire treatises and volume upon volume of legal books have been written on the subject.
The Secret To Understanding Almost All Search And Seizure Issues…In Just One Sentence
Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure I can explain almost every important search and seizure opinion with just one sentence. Understand this sentence and you’ll instantly understand every court opinion on search and seizure issues.
The federal and Illinois constitution say nothing specific about
- Car searches
- Home searches
- Pat downs
- Reasonable suspicion or
- Probable Cause.
It’s all made up!
All of it. All the treatises and all the cases made up the entire body of search and seizure law in an effort to define and explain one thing. Did the police act reasonably when the arrested, searched or detained the defendant in the case before them.
That’s the only goal in any federal or Illinois search and seizure case.
The Federal Constitution Fourth Amendment
Here is the exact language of in the federal constitution in the fourth Amendment.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
U.S. Const., amend. IV.
The Illinois Search & Seizure Clause
The search and seizure clause of our constitution appear substantially similar to the federal fourth amendment.
The Illinois constitution says:
“The people shall have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, invasions of privacy or interceptions of communications by eavesdropping devices or other means. No warrant shall issue without probable cause, supported by affidavit particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”
Federal Court Sets The Guidelines
Generally, when it comes to search and seizure issues the federal Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) sets the basic outline for how the state courts should proceed on this issue.
Each of the state court system then has to decide its own state cases in a manner consistent with the significant federal opinions on the issue.
Significant Illinois Search And Seizure Principals
In Illinois Significant Search And Seizure Principals can always be traced back to a SCOTUS decision. For example,[insert something on reasonable suspicion, probable cause and terry stops, ects. black letter law type stuff and catch all general principles]
In Illinois Some Search And Seizure Principles Are Codified
Illinois Code Of Criminal Procedure says, that
Warrantless Arrest In General
It is well-settled that the fourth amendment allows for warrantless arrests outside the home as long as the police have probable cause to arrest the suspect. See United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, 417 (1976); People v. Tisler, 103 Ill. 2d 226, 237 (1984) (federal and state constitutions differ in this area differ in form only and not substance).
Additionally, other exceptions to the warrant requirement include:
- When officers are confronted with “the need to render emergency assistance,
- The ‘hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect,’ and
- The need to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.”
People v. Harrison, 2016 IL App (5th) 150048, ¶ 17 (quoting Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. 452, 460 (2011)).
3 Types Of Police Encounters
“It is well settled that not every encounter between the police and a private citizen results in a seizure.” People v. Luedemann, 222 Ill. 2d 530, 544, 857 N.E.2d 187, 196 (2006).
“Police-citizen encounters are divided into three tiers:
(1) arrests, which must be supported by probable cause;
(2) brief investigative detentions, commonly referred to as ‘Terry stops,’ which must be supported by reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity; and
(3) consensual encounters, which involve no coercion or detention and thus do not implicate the fourth amendment.”
When Is There Probable Cause To Arrest?
“Probable cause to arrest exists when the facts known to the officer at the time of the arrest are sufficient to lead a reasonably cautious person to believe that the arrestee has committed a crime.” People v. Grant, 2013 IL 112734, ¶ 11, 983 N.E.2d 1009.
“Whether probable cause exists is governed by commonsense considerations, and the calculation concerns the probability of criminal activity, rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id.
“Indeed, probable cause does not even demand a showing that the belief that the suspect has committed a crime be more likely true than false.” People v. Wear, 229 Ill. 2d 545, 564, 893 N.E.2d 631, 643 (2008).
What Is An Investigatory Stop? What Is Reasonable Suspicion?
“In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the Supreme Court provided an exception to the warrant and probable cause requirements.” People v. Walker, 2013 IL App (4th) 120118, ¶ 33, 995 N.E.2d 351.
“Pursuant to Terry, a police officer may conduct a brief, investigatory stop of a person where the officer reasonably believes that the person has committed, or is about to commit, a crime.” People v. Timmsen, 2016 IL 118181, ¶ 9, 50 N.E.3d 1092.
A Terry stop “must be justified at its inception, and the police officer must be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.” People v. Colyar, 2013 IL 111835, ¶ 40, 996 N.E.2d 575.
The officer’s level of suspicion must be more than an inarticulate hunch. “The officer’s conduct is judged by an objective standard, which analyzes whether the facts available to the officer at the moment of the stop justify the action taken.” People v. Hill, 2019 IL App (4th) 180041, ¶ 17, 123 N.E.3d 1236.
Can You Ignore The Police?
Under Terry, when an officer approaches an individual without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, that person “has a right to ignore the police and go about his business.” Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 125 (2000).
Furthermore, “any refusal to cooperate, without more, does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure.” Id.
Unprovoked Flight Is Different
However, “unprovoked flight is simply not a mere refusal to cooperate. Flight, by its very nature, is not ‘going about one’s business’; in fact, it is just the opposite.” Id.
Headlong flight—wherever it occurs—is the consummate act of evasion: It is not necessarily indicative of wrongdoing, but it is certainly suggestive of such.” Id. at 124.
Moreover, the Illinois Supreme Court has concluded that “unprovoked flight in the face of a potential encounter with police may raise enough suspicion to justify the ensuing pursuit and investigatory stop.” People v. Thomas, 198 Ill. 2d 103, 113, 759 N.E.2d 899, 904-05 (2001).
Informant’s Tip To Police
“Where an informant’s tip is received by telephone, it may form the basis for a lawful Terry stop, but the information must bear some indicia of reliability, and the information upon which the police act must establish the requisite quantum of suspicion.” People v. Ledesma, 206 Ill. 2d 571, 583, 795 N.E.2d 253, 262 (2003).
Factors to consider when evaluating the reliability of a tip include
(1) whether the tip provides a sufficient quantity of information so that the officer may be certain that the stopped individual is the one the tipster identified;
(2) the time interval between the officer receiving the tip and locating the suspect;
(3) whether the tip is based upon contemporaneous eyewitness observations;
(4) whether the tip is sufficiently detailed to permit the reasonable inference that the tipster has actually witnessed a crime; and
(5) whether the tip was made to a police emergency number.
People v. Shafer, 372 Ill. App. 3d 1044, 1050, 868 N.E.2d 359, 363 (2007); see also People v. Rollins, 382 Ill. App. 3d 833, 837, 892 N.E.2d 21, 24 (2008).
Furthermore, “a tip providing predictive information and readily observable details will be deemed more reliable if these details are confirmed or corroborated by the police.” People v. Sanders, 2013 IL App (1st) 102696, ¶ 15, 986 N.E.2d 114; see also Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, ___, 134 S. Ct. 1683, 1689 (2014).
How To Challenge A Violation of Search And Seizure Principles
In Illinois a defendant challenges a violation of his 4th amendment rights with a motion to suppress evidence.
A motion to suppress is filed pursuant to section 114-12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A motion must, at a minimum include the following:
(1) The title of the motion should be “Motion to Suppress Evidence”. That title will put both the State and the court on notice of the motion’s purpose.
(2) The motion to suppress must clearly identify the evidence sought to be suppressed. Although this requirement is not set forth explicitly in section 114-12 of the Code, its presence is clearly evident. Before conducting a hearing on the motion, the parties and the court must know what evidence is at issue. Both parties and the court need to know the evidence that is the focus of the motion if for no other reason than to determine the relevancy of the evidence offered at the hearing on the motion.
(3) The motion must state facts showing wherein the search and seizure were unlawful.
See 725 ILCS 5/114-12(b).
A motion to suppress is, in effect, a pleading to the extent that it frames the issues to be determined in a pretrial hearing on the motion. The fundamental role of a pleading is to give an opposing party notice of the pleader’s position concerning the facts and law so that the opposing party can begin to prepare his defense.
There Is No Such Thing As A “Motion To Quash Arrest”
A “Motion to quash arrest” is nowhere recognized in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (see 725 ILCS 5/100-1 through 122-7).
Therefore, a defendant should never title a his motion a “motion to quash arrest.” That is clearly wrong. The relevant section in the code is entitled “Motion to Suppress Evidence Illegally Seized,” and sets forth the procedure to be used when a defendant, who is “aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure,” seeks to suppress the evidence that the police obtained as the result thereof.
That section contains no reference to “quashing arrests.”
Latest Search And Seizure Case Law Updates
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