People v. Boston, 2016 IL 118661 (February 2016) (Episode 144 Duration 6:29)
Sloppy grand jury work does not prejudice the defendant.
A bloody palm print was left above the bathtub where the murdered victim was found. Defendant was in custody on another matter. Authorities had information that Defendant killed his ex girlfriend by stabbing her and drowning her in her bathtub.
A subpoena from the grand jury for palm prints. 725 ILCS 5/112-4(b), Section 112-6(c)(1) & Section 112-6(c)(2) all control the power of the grand jury.
Where physical evidence of an invasive nature is sought, such as hair or blood samples, probable cause must be shown. Additionally, with regard to noninvasive physical evidence, such as palm prints or fingerprints, under the Illinois Constitution, “some showing of individualized suspicion as well as relevance must be made” before a subpoena for such evidence may be issued.
This may be done through affidavit by the State’s Attorney.
Here, the ASA informed the grand jury that:
- the police were investigating a 1997 murder
- defendant was the ex-boyfriend of the victim
- police had received information that defendant may be involved in the killing
- there was an unidentified palm print left on the wall next to where the victim was found
- defendant was currently incarcerated on a life sentence
- and police wished to compare defendant’s print to the one left at the scene.
This was a particularized individualized suspicion and not a rogue dragnet by officers acting on a hunch.
Even the though the prosecution did not follow proper procedures (no affidavit to the grand jury, failure to swear in the officers as agents of the grand jury, failure to return the subpoena to the grand jury, and the records were not shown to the grand jury) there was no prejudice to the defendant.