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People v. Chandler

JUNE 1, 1967.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JEFFROE CHANDLER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. IRWIN N. COHEN, Judge, presiding. Cause remanded, with directions.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

The defendant appeals from a conviction of criminal trespass to a vehicle. The defendant had been indicted for the offense of theft and criminal trespass to a vehicle. Thereafter the defendant moved to suppress an alleged confession. After a hearing the motion was denied. At the trial before a jury a verdict of not guilty of theft and guilty of criminal trespass to a vehicle was returned. The defendant was sentenced to one year in the Cook County jail.

The defendant raises only one point in his appeal, namely, the court erred in holding that the defendant could not deny making a statement and also contends that it was involuntarily made.

On May 10, 1965, the defendant was arrested with one Leo Jenkins in connection with an automobile theft. Leo Jenkins was subsequently released by the police when they determined he had no connection with the theft of the automobile. The police officers testified that the defendant was questioned in a squad car at the scene of his arrest and admitted being with the person who stole the car. One police officer denied that the defendant had been abused or threatened.

The defendant and Leo Jenkins testified that the police officer struck the defendant several times and threatened him at the time of his arrest. The defendant denied that he had made any admission at the scene of the arrest; however, he testified that he had made such an admission at the police station after additional physical abuse.

The police officers denied that there was any conversation at the police station regarding the defendant's stealing of the car, since the defendant had already admitted it at the scene of the arrest.

It is argued by the defendant that a defendant in a criminal case is entitled, as a matter of right, to a full hearing on the question of whether a statement which the State intends to introduce against him was given voluntarily, and the hearing should be limited to the voluntary nature of the admission. The defendant further contends that he was denied this right because the judge hearing the motion ruled that a person could not move to suppress a statement which he denied making.

In People v. Hegovic, 348 Ill. 58, 180 N.E. 561, the Supreme Court held that where the defendant denies having made any confession or admission there is no necessity for a preliminary hearing as to its voluntary character. However, in People v. Norfleet, 29 Ill.2d 287, 194 N.E.2d 220, the defendant moved to suppress his confession. In support of his motion the defendant testified that he had been beaten by Officer Turner, both when arrested and at the police station, and further, that although the statement was taken, he did not give the answers shown in the transcript. The trial court denied the motion to suppress on the ground that the defendant denied making any confession. On page 291 of the Norfleet case the court, relying upon the case of Lee v. Mississippi, 332 U.S. 742, 92 L Ed 330, said:

"It is our conclusion that the Lee case has abrogated the Hegovic rule, and the trial court erred in denying defendant Norfleet a full hearing on the voluntary nature of the alleged confession."

People v. Cook, 33 Ill.2d 363, 211 N.E.2d 374, adhered to the rule in People v. Norfleet, supra.

The question which now confronts the court is whether the defendant had a hearing on the voluntariness of the alleged admission. The defendant points out that in five separate instances the judge hearing the motion to suppress indicated by his statements that because the defendant denied the admission he was in no position to make a motion to suppress. The statements alluded to by the defendant are the following:

1. "Well, I don't know what this hearing is about, because the defendant denied making any statement at the scene."

2. "The defendant denies making any statement at the scene. And yet there is a claim that when he got to the station, and he described it, in the toilet, he did make a statement regarding knowledge of the car being stolen. So it is your claim or position in making the motion to suppress a statement which he allegedly did not make."

3. "So that is clear, the State is not going to rely on any alleged admission made at the station. It is only relying ...


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