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The People v. Jackson

SEPTEMBER 29, 1970.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS R. McMILLEN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.


The defendant, Frank Jackson, was indicted for murder. In a jury trial, he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and judgment was entered. After the defendant's written motion for a new trial was denied and a hearing in aggravation and mitigation was held, he was sentenced to fourteen to twenty years in the State Penitentiary. In this appeal the defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress his oral confessions; and (2) the minimum sentence is excessive and should be reduced.

Prior to trial, the defendant presented a written motion to suppress his oral confessions, given to certain police officers, on the grounds that admission of such evidence would "violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois."

Testifying for the State at the hearing, before the court, on the motion to suppress were Sergeant Patrick Ward and Detectives Richard Sandberg and James Griffin, all of the Chicago Police Department. Testifying for the defendant was defendant himself, Louise Garner, Glenda Matute and Detective John Loftus of the Chicago Police Department.

Sergeant Ward stated that on June 28, 1967, at approximately 8:30 a.m., he was on duty at the bonding desk located on the first floor of Central Police Headquarters in Chicago when the defendant came in alone and told him: "I want to give myself up; I killed my girl friend on the West side." The defendant also stated that he was no longer armed. Ward searched him, found no weapon and directed him to sit in a chair behind the bonding desk. The accused was never handcuffed.

Continuing, Ward testified that the defendant then told him he had shot the deceased in his car while they were parked in an alley. He left her in the car and discarded the weapon in a garbage can located near his parked vehicle. This information was then verified by the Police Department. Ward stated that he then placed the defendant under arrest and gave him the Miranda warnings; namely, he had the right to remain silent; anything he said could be used against him in court; he had the right to have an attorney present during any questioning; and if he had no funds to hire an attorney, the State would obtain one for him. The defendant replied that he understood these rights.

In conclusion, Ward stated that at approximately 9 a.m. on June 28, 1967, Homicide/Sex Detectives Sandberg and Griffin arrived at Central Police Headquarters, and he told them that he had given the Miranda warnings to the defendant. The detectives then took the defendant from Central Police Headquarters. Ward testified that he never struck the defendant and neither he nor anyone else in his presence ever made any promises or threats.

On cross-examination, Ward denied that when the defendant approached him he said that he merely wanted to report an accident nor that he ever said later that he wanted a lawyer and would say nothing further until he talked to an attorney.

Detective Sandberg testified that when he and his partner, Detective Griffin, met Sergeant Ward at approximately 9 a.m. on June 28, 1967, at Central Police Headquarters, they also met the accused who told them in response to their questions, that Sergeant Ward had explained his constitutional rights to him. Sandberg stated that he and Griffin then took the defendant out to their unmarked police vehicle, never handcuffed him, and drove to the homicide scene arriving there in about fifteen minutes. Continuing, Sandberg testified that, on the way to the homicide scene, he too gave the four Miranda warnings to the defendant who replied that he understood them. The accused never asked for an attorney but rather, on the way to the West side, told Sandberg what had happened in his car earlier that morning. Sandberg was told this only after he had advised the defendant of his constitutional rights.

After arriving at the homicide scene and remaining there for about fifteen minutes, the defendant stated that he wanted to be taken to St. Leonard's House in Chicago, which is a halfway house operated by the Episcopal Church for parolees. The accused wanted to go there to pick up his bankbook, his money, and tell the people he was in trouble.

Sandberg stated that at St. Leonard's House, Detective Griffin remained in the police car while he and the defendant met a woman behind the desk on the second floor. Sandberg testified that he heard the accused tell her that he wanted his bankbook and money as: "I'm in trouble; I killed Sally." From St. Leonard's House, they went to Area 4 Homicide. There in a room on the second floor, Sandberg testified that Griffin again gave the defendant the Miranda warnings and the accused responded that he understood them. Thereafter, the accused gave them a detailed oral statement of the events preceding the homicide and when he was asked if he wanted to give a written statement to an assistant State's Attorney in the presence of a court reporter, the defendant responded by saying he would first like to speak with an Episcopal minister from St. Leonard's House. The police located Reverend Robert Taylor who arrived at the police station in about twenty minutes and spoke with the accused in private. The defendant thereafter refused to say anything further until he had talked to an attorney.

The testimony of Detective Griffin was essentially a corroboration of Sandberg's testimony.

For the defense, the defendant testified that he was fifty-three years of age at time of trial and when he spoke to Sergeant Ward on June 28, 1967, he told him that he wanted to report an accident as his girl friend was in his car and she had been shot. When Ward asked him who had shot her, the defendant said he replied that he would like to talk to an attorney before he made any further statements. Ward then told him he was under arrest, searched him and asked if he had a record. The accused said he was on parole at the present time.

Continuing, the defendant stated that neither Ward nor Sandberg nor Griffin ever gave him the Miranda warnings, and he was taken to St. Leonard's House after telling Sandberg and Griffin that he wanted to go there so he could obtain his bankbook and thereafter hire an attorney to defend him. While at St. Leonard's House he had a conversation with Louise Garner and Glenda Matute in the presence of both Sandberg and Griffin, but the defendant denied that he ever told either or both of the women that he had shot and killed his girl friend, Sally Strickland.

The defendant went on to testify that at Area 4 Homicide the two detectives asked him to tell them what happened that morning, but he allegedly said that he wanted to talk to a lawyer first. The detectives responded that he could speak to an attorney after he gave them his oral statement. They ...

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