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The People v. Ikerd





WRIT OF ERROR to the Criminal Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL A. COVELLI, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, John Lee Ikerd, was found guilty of the crime of armed robbery by a jury. He was convicted and sentenced by the criminal court of Cook County to a term of 20 years to life in the State Penitentiary. On this writ of error he contends that the conviction should be reversed on the grounds that the admission of his oral confession was in violation of the Criminal Code; that his guilt was not established beyond a reasonable doubt by the induced and uncertain identification; and that the weapon admitted in evidence was procured by an unlawful search and seizure.

From the record it appears that shortly before 8 P.M. on March 5, 1960, as Fred Lux, the complaining witness, went toward his automobile, two men walked past him, and he was struck on the head from behind. One man grabbed him from the front and the other from behind, and they dragged him into a small 5' x 5' vestibule in the nearby building. The man in front held a gun on Lux, while the man in the rear removed his billfold, watch, and cigarette lighter. Lux at no time could see the man behind him, although, according to his testimony, he was able to get a good look at the man facing him, who was, in Lux's words, "standing right next to me." The man in front told the other one to leave, and that he would "watch him [Lux] so he can't follow us." The man in back left, and was followed thirty seconds later by the man with the gun. Lux then telephoned the police from a nearby house. He described the man who stood in front of him to the police as "tall, about 6 feet, slender, colored, and wearing a light colored coat and light tan or brown hat."

Lux and officers Lenz and McLaughlin drove around the area of 12th St. and Albany St. in the police car. They saw two men crossing the street, one of whom fitted the description given by Lux. When the police car was about 25 to 30 feet from the men, they began walking in the opposite direction, and then ran when the officers ordered them to halt. The officers gave chase, but only one of the men was apprehended. Since Lux could not identify him, the man was released. He was later identified as James Stuckey, a co-defendant in this case. The taller man, wearing the light tan coat and brown fedora, fled.

On March 8, 1960, in the course of the investigation of the Lux robbery, to which officers Parks, Preston and Cooper were assigned, they arrested three men in a pool room. After interrogating them, the police went to the home of defendant's mother, and then to a Roosevelt Road address, where they waited in an apartment through the night of March 8 for the defendant John Lee Ikerd. Although he did not appear, at about 2 A.M. they heard the witness Nelson open the door with a key. Nelson at first denied knowing defendant Ikerd, but after interrogation, involving some alleged brutality, Nelson gave the police an address on Whipple Street where defendant was staying.

Five policemen in plain clothes accompanied Nelson to that apartment. They waited in the doorway as Nelson knocked and identified himself. Defendant opened the door slightly and then tried to shut it when the officers shouted "Police!" and pushed the door open. A scuffle followed, during which defendant resisted arrest. In the course of that arrest, officer Parks found a loaded .45 automatic pistol on top of a metal cabinet in the apartment. That weapon was subsequently identified by Lux at the trial as having the "same size, shape and color" as the weapon used at the time of the robbery.

At about 8 P.M. that same day, March 9, a police line-up was held at the police station, with some seven men participating, including defendant Ikerd, his co-defendant Stuckey, and the witnesses Nelson and Hampton, and four others who were under arrest. Defendant Ikerd wore a tan coat and hat, which he later removed. During the course of the line-up, which lasted between 25 and 30 minutes, Lux identified and pointed out defendant Ikerd as the man who had robbed him.

The evidence is controverted as to whether this identification was before or after defendant was handed the gun taken from the apartment. Lux and police officer Lenz claim it was afterward, and defendant's witnesses Nelson and Hampton testified that it was before. The testimony is also conflicting between the police and defendant's witnesses as to whether defendant admitted that it was his gun when it was handed to him. In connection with Lux's identification of Ikerd, defendant Stuckey and the witnesses Nelson and Hampton all testified that Lux had visited the police lockup earlier in the day and was then unable to identify any of the men as the one who held him up. They claimed that he had said that the man who held him up was older. Hampton also claimed that Lux made a second unsuccessful attempt to identify the men at 4:30 that afternoon. Lux denied such visits to the lockup, and the People offered in rebuttal Lux's employment time card showing that he was at work at the time of both alleged afternoon visits.

After the line-up, the police escorted the men out, and Lux signed a complaint. About a half hour or an hour later in the detective room, officers Cooper, Preston, Anderson and Lenz questioned defendants Stuckey and Ikerd, and the others arrested. Ikerd would not make a written statement, but gave an oral account of his part in the robbery, as did the others. According to the testimony of the witness Lenz, defendant Ikerd admitted that he had the .45 calibre revolver; that Stuckey was the second man; that after robbing Lux, Stuckey left and Ikerd remained to cover him. Ikerd also recalled the two officers approaching them on the corner of Albany Street and Roosevelt Road on March 5, and said that he refused to halt when ordered because he had the gun on him. After Ikerd told his part, Stuckey admitted his participation and explained that he had denied it on his previous arrest right after the robbery because the man (Lux) couldn't identify him.

Defendant's oral confession was attested to by detective Lenz and the other officers present, with the exception of Anderson, who was on furlough at the time of the trial. They claimed that when defendant Ikerd said, "Stuckey, we were together on that job," Stuckey agreed. At the trial, however, Stuckey denied robbing Lux.

In urging the reversal of the conviction, defendant contends that the admission of evidence relating to his oral confession violated section I of division XIII of the Criminal Code, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1959, chap. 38, par. 729). The relevant portion of said section provides: "Whenever a written or oral confession shall have been made before any law enforcement officer or agency in this State by any person charged with any crime, a copy of such confession, if written, together with a list of the names and addresses of all persons present at the time such confession was made shall be given to the defendant. * * * If such confession was not reduced to writing, then a list of the names and addresses of all persons present at the time the confession was made shall be furnished. * * * No confession shall be admitted as evidence in any case unless the confession and/or list of names and addresses of persons present at the time the confession was made is furnished."

In the instant case, the names and addresses given to defendant included the police officers Cooper, Preston, Anderson and Lenz. It did not include the names of the co-defendant, Stuckey, or the suspects Nelson, Hampton and Slater, who were being interrogated there at the time. Defendant insists, therefore, that under a literal interpretation of the statute, defendant's oral confession is inadmissible.

It is axiomatic that a statute must be construed in its entirety and in the light of its objectives. This particular section of the Criminal Code applies to confessions "before any law enforcement officer" — not before co-defendants and friends — and endeavors to make certain that defendant knows in advance of trial the names of those law enforcement officers, or their agents or employees, before whom he confessed. The statutory purpose, as set forth in People v. Pelkola, 19 Ill.2d 156, relied upon by defendant, is to give the accused "protection against surprise, unfairness and inadequate preparation."

Neither that case, however, nor its construction of the statute, in any way support defendant's position. There it was held that since the accused was not given the name of the officer before whom he confessed, the officer could not testify to that oral confession, either in chief or in rebuttal. The court reasoned that without the officer's name, the accused was denied the protection ...

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