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People v. Sprovieri

APRIL 10, 1968.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

MARIO T. SPROVIERI, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. JAMES MEDJA, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT. Rehearing denied May 17, 1968.

Prior to trial, defendant, who was indicted for murder, filed a motion to suppress certain evidence, *fn1 and the motion was allowed. The State appealed, *fn2 contending that the trial judge erred in suppressing as evidence articles found in open view in defendant's garage by police officers who had entered without a warrant for the avowed purpose of arresting him.

The only evidence adduced at the hearing was the testimony of Officer William Lenz, one of the policemen present at the garage when the items were discovered and seized. From his testimony, the court made the following statement for the record which we accept as a summary of the evidence:

The Court finds from the evidence that on May 29, 1965, about 3:20 p.m. a body of a victim was found in the trunk of a car at the rear of 2059 Grand Avenue in Chicago without identification. Defendant was present at about 4:15 p.m. and had occasion to view the body and stated he did not know the person but "looked like a cab driver he knew."

Later, on May 30th, 1965, which was the following day at 4:35 a.m. the police did learn the identity of the victim. They spoke to the mother of Judith Blaha and determined that the daughter had lived with the victim and that the defendant had threatened the victim with bodily harm.

The officers also learned from one Carol Stroud the defendant had threatened deceased if he ever caught deceased with Judith Blaha. The officers learned from Judith Blaha's landlord that Judith had left the apartment with a male fitting the description of the defendant and was carrying a red suitcase.

Police also learned that Judith had a white 1959 or a 1960 T Bird convertible and that the evidence further showed that the police spoke to about five people, two of whom stated that the defendant was not in Chicago.

Officer William Lenz on May 30th, 1965, between 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. without an arrest or search warrant went together with other officers to the home of the defendant at 2632 West Superior Street, Chicago, had a conversation with the tenant on the first floor, front apartment, went to the rear apartment of the defendant and received no response.

Officer Lenz then went to the window and received no response. Thereupon he peered through the window and the home appeared empty. He saw a couch with a red suitcase and part of woman's apparel over the back of the couch.

The officers slipped the lock and entered the home through the front door. Nothing whatever was taken from the apartment, at least insofar as the motion is concerned.

The Police Officers Lenz, Barrett, Angelo and Miskula then went to the rear of the lot to a private garage to the south end door and looked into the garage through a hole in the door where the lock had been removed. They saw a white T Bird, tank, and other articles inside and in view through this hole.

The officers then went to the public alley side of the garage, turned the handle of the overhead door which was not locked, lifted the door, entered and seized the items in question and called the Crime Laboratory.

Subsequently after May 30th, 1965, a warrant for the arrest of the defendant was obtained and defendant was taken into custody.

The State argues that since there existed probable cause sufficient to sanction the arrest of defendant without a warrant, then it should be permitted to use the articles taken from the garage for evidentiary purposes. We are constrained to agree with this proposition ...


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