People v. Gutierrez, 2016 IL App (3d) 130619 (December). Episode 273 (Duration 9:35)
Appellate court disagrees with trial court; defendant was arrested before he was transported to Kendall County thus the case is remanded for an attenuation hearing to see if the confession is out.
Gist of The Case
In this murder trial, defendant argued he was arrested in his home at approximately 5:20 a.m., without a warrant or without probable cause.
He argued for the suppression of his statements made while in police custody following his arrest.
This was an intense murder investigation involving a Kendall County task force with elements from the Chicago Police Department and the secret service.
The victim was shot in a parking lot near a Meijer gas station in Plainfield. Police quickly used cell phone records and pinging technology to track down the victim’s ex-girlfriend. She was in a home in Chicago with defendant.
At that point, Defendant was not a suspect to the murder.
They Find The House
Defendant and the victim’s ex-girlfriend are eventually tracked down in a house in Chicago.
The ex and defendant are first transported to Chicago then driven to Kendall County for interrogations.
The Transport & Trial Court’s Findings
The trial court found that defendant agreed to leave the residence, was not under arrest or in custody, and that his interaction with the police was entirely consensual.
The trial court found that the Chicago officers handcuffed defendant during the 10-minute drive to the Chicago police station without direction from any other officer “solely because of the policy of the Chicago police that they handcuff any unknown individual who is transported in their vehicle.”
The trial court found “there [was] no evidence that the presence alone of the police at the residence had any adverse affect on defendant’s decision to agree to accompany the police particularly because he did not have contact with the majority of the officers.”
Alternatively, the trial court found that the officers had probable cause to arrest defendant because he was on parole and occupying a room that contained ammunition.
On the way to Kendall county the ex says they shot the defendant.
An arrest without probable cause or a warrant violates the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., amend. IV. For fourth amendment purposes, a “seizure” is synonymous with an “arrest.”
A person has been arrested when his freedom of movement has been restrained by means of physical force or a show of authority. In determining whether an arrest has occurred, we consider whether “ ‘the circumstances are such that a reasonable person, innocent of any crime, would conclude that he was not free to leave.’ ” People v. Lopez, 229 Ill. 2d 322, 346 (2008) (quoting In re D.G., 144 Ill. 2d 404, 409 (1991)). 18 ¶ 55
In Mendenhall, the United States Supreme Court articulated four factors that may be indicative of a seizure, including:
(1) “the threatening presence of several officers”;
(2) “the display of a weapon by an officer”;
(3) “some physical touching of the person of the citizen”; and
(4) “the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer’s request might be compelled.”
Mendenhall, 446 U.S. at 554; see also People v. Murray, 137 Ill. 2d 382, 390-91 (1990), abrogated on other grounds by People v. Luedemann, 222 Ill. 2d 530 (2006).
The Mendenhall factors “are not exhaustive and that a seizure can be found on the basis of other coercive police behavior that is similar to the Mendenhall factors.” Luedemann, 222 Ill. 2d at 557. ¶ 56 Additionally, Illinois courts have considered the following factors in determining whether a defendant was under arrest:
“(1) the time, place, length, mood, and mode of the encounter between the defendant and the police;
(2) the number of police officers present;
(3) any indicia of formal arrest or restraint, such as the use of handcuffs or drawing of guns;
(4) the intention of the officers;
(5) the subjective belief or understanding of the defendant;
(6) whether the defendant was told he could refuse to accompany the police;
(7) whether the defendant was transported in a police car;
(8) whether the defendant was told he was free to leave;
(9) whether the defendant was told he was under arrest; and
(10) the language used by officers.”
People v. Washington, 363 Ill. App. 3d 13, 24 (2006). In this case, defendant was arrested at his residence prior to leaving for the Chicago police station. First, a significant number of police officers entered the residence.
First, the testimony of the State’s witnesses established that approximately 6 to 10 armed police officers entered defendant’s residence.
Second, as to the time, place, and mood of defendant’s encounter with the police, the officers entered defendant’s residence shortly after 5 a.m., after being let in by other occupants.
The officers knocked on defendant’s bedroom door and woke him up. The early hour of the encounter and the fact that it occurred in the privacy of defendant’s residence while he was sleeping render it particularly intrusive.
Third, there was no evidence at the hearing that defendant was ever told that he could refuse to accompany the police officers or that he was free to leave. Defendant was transported in the back of a police car.
Fourth, the officers’ use of handcuffs when defendant was transported to the Chicago police station is particularly significant.
While not dispositive, use of handcuffs is generally indicative of an arrest.
While the ride to the Chicago police station may have lasted only a few minutes and defendant’s handcuffs were removed before he was driven to Plainfield, the court found that a reasonably innocent person in defendant’s position would not have felt free to leave at that point in light of the prior use of handcuffs.
The reviewing court concluded that a reasonable innocent person in defendant’s position would not have felt free to leave.
The facts indicate that the defendant was under arrest:
(1) the encounter occurred at defendant’s residence in the early hours of the morning;
(2) the police awoke defendant from his sleep in his bedroom;
(3) the number of police officers at the residence;
(4) the officers searched defendant’s bedroom;
(5) defendant was not told he was free to leave; and
(6) defendant was handcuffed when transported in a police car to the Chicago police station.
While none of the foregoing facts standing alone would establish that defendant was under arrest, the cumulative effect of these facts is that a reasonable innocent person in defendant’s position would not have felt free to leave.
The State does not dispute that the officers lacked probable cause to arrest defendant for his involvement in the death of the victim at the time he was handcuffed and placed in the Chicago officers’ police car.
What about the bullet they found in the bedroom?
The trial court found that the officers had probable cause to arrest defendant because he was on parole and was occupying a room that contained ammunition. A police officer need not subjectively rely on the correct offense for an arrest to be valid and the officer’s subjective reliance on the wrong offense does not foreclose the State from later justifying the arrest by proving probable cause on another basis.
However, the law is also clear that a court, judging the propriety of an arrest after the fact, cannot validate an unconstitutional arrest on the theory that probable cause existed for another offense which was not contemplated by the police at the time of the arrest.
The trial court’s factual finding that the officers knew defendant was on parole before they arrived at the residence was not supported by the record and was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The evidence at the hearing on the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence did not establish that the officers had identified defendant or learned of his parole status prior to leaving for Chicago.
Remanded for an attenuation hearing to determine what effect the ex-girlfriend’s confession will have on this case.
When determining whether a confession was sufficiently attenuated from the unlawful arrest, courts consider the following factors:
“(1) the proximity in time between the arrest and the confession;
(2) the presence of intervening circumstances;
(3) the purpose and flagrancy of the police misconduct; and
(4) whether the defendant received Miranda warnings.”
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- Episode 199 Recorded Interrogation Justifies Holding Defendant More Than 98 Hours Before Seeing a Judge
- Episode 158 Taint From A Bad Confession Still Stunk Up The Place
- Episode 030 Right to Remain Silent: “No” Means “No” But This is Not a Rape Case
- Episode 185 Sotomayor Told A Big Fat Lie (SCOTUS Extends Attenuation Doctrine)
- Episode 075 The Exclusionary Rule and The Good Faith Exception
- More About Voluntary Confessions In Illinois Cases