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People v. Buck

JANUARY 25, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. EDWARD E. PLUSDRAK, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.


Defendant, along with two other men, was charged with armed robbery. A motion to suppress evidence was heard and denied. Defendant thereafter waived trial by jury, was found guilty and sentenced to not less than three nor more than six years in the penitentiary. From this judgment defendant appeals.

The only issue presented to this court is that the defendant's arrest without a warrant was without probable cause and that the evidence seized in a search incidental to the arrest should have been suppressed on motion. At the trial of the case all facts were stipulated between the People and defense counsel, including the physical exhibits consisting of a gun and money which were the subject matter of the defendant's motion to suppress evidence.

The facts leading up to the arrest and search are as follows: Detective Ferenzi, while investigating a burglary not related to the present case, saw the car in which the defendant was riding at approximately 12:00 o'clock noon on August 7, 1965, in the vicinity of Walton and Wn.tenaw Streets within the general vicinity of a savings and loan association located at 936 N. Western Avenue. Officer Ferenzi circled the block and a few minutes later again saw the car occupied by the defendant and two other male negroes, all of whom were dark-complected. Upon seeing this automobile for the second time in this predominantly all white, residential area, he became suspicious and wrote down the automobile license number on his clipboard; the number was 532-199, Illinois. A few minutes later Ferenzi heard on his police radio of a robbery at the savings and loan association above mentioned. He immediately went to the scene of the robbery. He learned there that the persons who committed the armed robbery were two darkskinned negroes. No one at the robbery scene mentioned to Ferenzi anything pertaining to an auto being used in the robbery. Ferenzi immediately radioed to Police Communications Center and asked for a check of the license number he had seen on the Pontiac shortly prior to the robbery. The reply was that it was issued for a Chrysler automobile. He then informed the dispatcher the description of the automobile, which was a 1954 to 1956 Pontiac, green and cream in color, license number 532-199, and notified him that it was occupied by three male negroes who were dark-complected. He also notified the Communications Center that the front fenders had a brown primer paint on them. He said that this automobile may have been used in the robbery of the savings and loan association. He also gave a description of the three occupants of the car. The radio dispatcher relayed the message but said that a Chrysler automobile was involved. Ferenzi called him back and said the plates were on a Pontiac and the dispatcher corrected his message over the radio. A short time later Ferenzi heard the radio dispatcher give out a broadcast that the vehicle had been sighted. Ferenzi thereupon proceeded to the vicinity of Roosevelt Road and Union Avenue in the City of Chicago, where the car had been sighted.

Officer John J. McCleod, a Detective in the Robbery Division, was riding in an unmarked police car on Saturday, August 7, 1965, when he received messages from the Police Communications Center relative to an armed robbery that occurred at a savings and loan association located at 936 N. Western Avenue. Descriptions of the car were given over the simo-broadcast system of the police radio. He heard that three men were wanted for an armed robbery. The police radio message stated a 1954 to 1956 Pontiac, containing the license number heretofore mentioned, was being sought in connection with the robbery. The color of the car, white over green, was also given, as well as the fact that the front fenders had a primer paint on them of a brown color. Immediately prior to the time that he saw the automobile he heard another simo-broadcast stating that the vehicle in question was going south on Union from Roosevelt Road. The vehicle was stopped at 14th Place. He had already crossed the intersection. The 1955 Pontiac made a left-hand turn. Officer McCleod made a U-turn and followed the vehicle. The Pontiac went east on 14th Place from Union to Jefferson. McCleod got parallel to the car, drew his revolver and ordered the driver to stop, "Police." He ordered all passengers, three men, out of the vehicle. He was on the left side of the Pontiac. As he got out of his car and ordered the men out of the Pontiac, another vehicle driven by another Detective was standing to the rear of that vehicle. The other detective was Detective Givens. In the front seat of the vehicle there was a brown colored paper bag, open at the top, and a blue steel revolver was also on the front seat. There was no difference between the vehicle described in the broadcast and the vehicle that he stopped relative to license number, color or year model. The three men got out of the Pontiac and were frisked by Detectives McCleod and Givens. A man named Williams was the driver of the car. A search of Williams disclosed nothing. McCleod further testified that his only basis for stopping that car was the fact that he had received the radio message from the Police Communications Center.

Detective Marcus Givens testified that he was employed as a police officer on August 7, 1965; that he arrested the three defendants in the Pontiac automobile. He testified that the automobile and the three defendants were searched. He found money, a wallet and a gun which were seized. Shortly after noon on August 7, 1965, he was alone in an unmarked detective car. Shortly after noon he heard a message broadcast to his vehicle concerning a robbery of a savings and loan association at 936 N. Western Avenue, and the description of the automobile wanted for this offense was broadcast over the air. He also described the model, color and license number of the Pontiac, and that it was occupied by three male negroes, and that the car had primer paint on the front fenders. At the time he heard the message, which also stated that the offense involved was armed robbery, he was at Roosevelt and Canal. He then drove to Roosevelt and Union and parked beside the Dan Ryan Expressway. He was watching for the car described in the radio message on the expressway. He observed the car turn off Roosevelt Road onto Union and it proceeded south on Union Avenue. He noticed the green and cream Pontiac with the license number described and then started following it. He contacted the Police Communications Center and told them he was following a car fitting the description of the one wanted. He radioed for assistance. At Jefferson Street Detective McCleod and he (Givens) went on either side of the car, stopped it and ordered the three men out. Williams was driving the car. Jackson was in the front seat beside him, and Buck, the defendant here, was in the rear seat. After the occupants had left the car the three were searched. Under the shirt of Jackson they found a large quantity of money. Buck was wearing coveralls and there was a wallet in the back pocket of the coveralls. The wallet was given to Detective Givens by Buck as they were being taken into the police station. When Buck gave the wallet to Detective Givens he told Detective Givens to take that too, because it was taken from one of the men at the holdup site.

The motion to suppress was filed by the defendant, Leonard Buck, together with Freddie Jackson, who is not a party to this appeal.

The petitioner stated that the search and seizure of the proceeds of the armed robbery were in violation of sections 6 and 10 of Article II of the Constitution of the State of Illinois. Section 6 of Article II of the Constitution of Illinois, 1870, is as follows:

"Sec. 6. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue without probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Section 10 of Article II of the Constitution of Illinois is as follows:

"Sec. 10. No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to give evidence against himself, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense."

The officers at the hearing on the motion to suppress testified that they had no search warrants at the time of the arrest.

As was heretofore mentioned, the defendant Buck contended that his arrest without a warrant was without probable cause, and that the evidence seized in a search incidental to the arrest should have been suppressed pursuant to his motion.

In People v. Jones, 31 Ill.2d 42, 47, 198 N.E.2d 821, it was stated that reasonable cause means something less than evidence which would result in a conviction, and it is also established that reasonable cause may be founded upon evidence that would not be admissible at the trial. It was also stated in that case that the existence of reasonable cause which would justify an arrest without a warrant depends upon "the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which ...

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