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People v. Hulet

DECEMBER 30, 1965.




Writ of error to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. THOMAS H. FITZGERALD, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


After a bench trial, defendant was convicted of burglary and sentenced to a term of two-to-four years. His co-defendant, Young, was found not guilty. In this appeal defendant contends that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence his alleged confession; that there was no competent evidence of the corpus delicti in corroboration of the alleged confession; and that the trial court erred in failing to consider testimony of the co-defendant.

The record shows that defendant began drinking at the Hi-Fi Lounge at about 9:00 p.m. on March 21, 1963. Defendant testified that he drank gin, wine and beer, and that the total consumption was "over my normal, what I could drink." Defendant and an unidentified friend departed the Hi-Fi Lounge before midnight and went to a bar known as Sam's located at 24th and State Streets. While at Sam's, defendant and one or two friends consumed a half-pint of gin. Of subsequent occurrences defendant testified that the last thing he remembered prior to awakening in jail at 6:30 the next morning was a crowd of people and getting hit on the side of his head. Defendant stated that he was "very intoxicated" that night. In corroboration of this contention, A.D. Williams testified that he was with defendant at the Hi-Fi Lounge and that when defendant left the premises "he wasn't sober" but was "quite intoxicated."

Testimony of co-defendant Young sheds some light on defendant's activity between midnight and 6:30 on the morning of March 22. Young testified that at about 9:00 p.m. he was in the Hi-Fi Lounge where he saw defendant but did not speak to him; that he (Young) left there before midnight and went to a bar located at 23rd and Cottage Grove, where he had a conversation with defendant and gave him money for a drink. Young further testified that he then went to the washroom and when he returned defendant was gone; that the bartender told him defendant had been ejected because of a fight. Young said that shortly thereafter he saw a crowd of people across the street at a General Tire store; that he saw defendant lying on the floor inside the store; that defendant appeared to be asleep; that he joined the crowd of people who were trying to attract defendant's attention so that defendant would leave the store. At this point of the direct examination of Young by his own counsel, the trial judge called a short recess and inquired as to whether defendant Hulet's counsel wished to have certain parts of Young's testimony deleted from the record. Upon appropriate motion by defendant Hulet's counsel, the court then expunged the testimony of Young beginning with all questions and answers from the time he recited leaving the Hi-Fi Lounge. Subsequent to this recess, Young testified that while he was walking around the General Tire store, located at 2249 S. Cottage Grove, he observed a police car. The police arrested Young at the corner of 22nd Street and Prairie Avenue.

A more detailed explanation of what transpired in the early morning of March 22 was offered by witnesses for the State. Officer Gibson testified that, while on patrol with his partner, Green, at about 12:45 a.m., northbound on Cottage Grove Avenue near 23rd Street, they saw defendant fall to the floor in the brightly lit General Tire store; that immediately he and Green left their police car and went around to the Prairie Avenue side of the store; that as they rounded the corner they observed Young standing a few feet from the double door garage of the store where a window had been broken; that they arrested Young and entered the premises; that defendant was inside, standing up and holding his arms in the air in the process of surrendering. On further examination, Gibson stated that he observed another broken window leading from the garage part of the premises to the office; that there were three typewriters and three adding machines stacked on the tables and on the floor; that he then placed defendant under arrest and took both defendant and Young to an interrogation room at the First District Police Station. Officers Gibson, Rice, Sundstrom and Green were in the interrogation room with defendant and Young when, according to Gibson, defendant admitted that he had broken into the General Tire premises. On cross-examination, Gibson stated that in his opinion defendant was coherent at the time of his arrest.

Officer Sundstrom testified that he interrogated defendant and Young in the presence of Officers Rice, Gibson and Green; that defendant signed a statement or confession recording some questions and answers which had been made in the interrogation room and Young signed the document in the capacity of a witness. Sundstrom further testified that Young stated defendant had been drinking and had asked Young if he would want to burglarize the place across the street; that Young admitted he had acquiesced in the proposal and had stationed himself on the corner across the street from the General Tire store to watch for the police. On cross-examination, Sundstrom said that in his opinion defendant was "slightly intoxicated" at the police station.

Officer Rice testified that, upon interrogation, defendant admitted that he had decided to break into the premises; that defendant recounted how he had met Young at a tavern and asked him if he wanted to make some money; that Young's reply was that his rent was due and he needed $40 to pay it; that after some further conversation Young agreed to help him. Rice also testified that defendant's statement was reduced to writing and that after defendant read it he signed it. The statement, which was received in evidence, included the following questions and answers:

Q. What is your social security number?

A. 489 29 5700.

Q. At the time you obtained this number, where were you living?

A. 2910 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill.

Q. What is the extent of your education?

A. Three years of high school.

Q. Do you read and write the ...

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