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People v. Young

NOVEMBER 18, 1970.




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


Defendant was convicted after a jury trial of the offense of armed robbery. Judgment was entered and he was sentenced to twelve to twenty years. On appeal defendant contends that his armed robbery confession and his in-court identification should have been suppressed.

The defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. The facts may be briefly summarized. On November 30, 1966, Rita Kooistra was at the office of her employer when a man, whom she identified in court as the defendant, entered and inquired about a loan. The man then pointed a gun at her and requested the money in the cash drawer. She complied with his request and handed him approximately $200. The robbery took about three or four minutes. After the defendant left the office she ran to the front of the building and asked a gas company man who was working outside if he had seen the man who just robbed the office.

John Tooher, the gas company employee, had just finished pouring concrete on the sidewalk when a man whom he identified as the defendant came out of the loan company's office door and stepped right into the fresh concrete. Tooher looked right at the defendant who stopped for a moment and then kept going. Mrs. Kooistra then ran out of the door and told him she had just been robbed by the man (defendant) who came out a minute before. Mr. Tooher ran down to the corner just in time to see the defendant enter a car. The police were notified, and Mrs. Kooistra gave Officer Benkovich a description of her robber which was sent out over the police radio.

Officer Clarence Domanski testified as to the oral confession given by the defendant concerning the robbery.

The defendant did not testify in his own behalf.


Defendant first contends that his oral confession for robbery should have been suppressed as the fruit of a prior improper police interrogation. At the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress the robbery confession there was testimony that at approximately 7:00 A.M. on December 5, 1966, the defendant was arrested as a suspect in the murder of a tavern owner and transported to Area 6, Homicide Station. Chicago police detectives questioned the defendant and elicited from him a statement in which he implicated himself in the murder of the tavern owner. This first statement was concluded at about 8:00 A.M. The defendant then led the detectives to a weapon which he had abandoned in some bushes near the murder scene. Defendant was returned to Area 6, Homicide, and questioned further. He gave the detectives two more statements about the murder. The last statement was given at 9:50 A.M.

The defendant was then taken from Area 6, Homicide, to the Area 2, Robbery, 19th District Station some time around 10:00 A.M. Neither police detective who had been questioning the defendant at Area 6 had any further contact with him. Both officers denied that any physical abuse or mental coercion had been used on defendant during the taking of the murder statements. The trial judge, however, suppressed the murder statements on the ground that inadequate Miranda warnings (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436) were given to the defendant and that there was no showing that he knowingly and intelligently waived his constitutional rights.

The defendant was not questioned concerning his alleged participation in the loan company robbery until 11:30 A.M. on December 5, 1966, when Officer Clarence Domanski arrived at the 19th District. When Officer Domanski entered the lockup he recognized the defendant as a person he had known before. The defendant also acknowledged that he knew Officer Domanski. The officer told the defendant that he was a suspect in an armed robbery which occurred at 3717 East 106th Street and advised the defendant of his constitutional rights. The defendant said that he understood these rights. He told Officer Domanski that he might as well tell about the robbery since "You are going to find out about it anyway." Officer Domanski took the defendant upstairs to a more comfortable room and once again explained to the defendant his rights. The defendant told the officer of the planning and execution of the loan company robbery. Domanski's written report made no mention of the Miranda warnings being given.

The defendant testified that he was struck and kicked by the police during the taking of the murder statements and that no one told him about his constitutional rights. On his arrival at the 19th District he was questioned by two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents prior to being questioned by Officer Domanski. Domanski "never laid a hand" on him or abused him in any way. He did not tell Domanski that he understood his rights.

The trial judge denied defendant's motion to suppress the robbery confession. The court held that the doctrine of Westover v. United States (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 494-497 did not require suppression of the robbery confession.

In Westover, supra, the defendant was arrested by local police and interrogated on the night of his arrest. The next day local officers interrogated him again throughout the morning. The court found that there was nothing in the record to indicate that he was ever given any warning as to his rights by the local police. Immediately following defendant's interrogation by local police the F.B.I. began questioning him. After two or two and one-half hours the defendant signed separate confessions to each of two bank robberies. The Supreme Court reversed defendant's conviction holding that the federal authorities were the beneficiaries of the pressure applied by the local police's in-custody interrogation. At page 495 the court states:

"At the time the FBI agents began questioning Westover, he had been in custody for over 14 hours and had been interrogated at length during that period. The FBI interrogation began immediately upon the conclusion of the interrogation by Kansas City police and was conducted in local police headquarters. Although the two law enforcement authorities are legally distinct and the crimes for which they interrogated Westover were different, the impact on him was that of a continuous period of questioning. There is no evidence of any warning given prior to the FBI interrogation nor is there any evidence of an articulated waiver of rights after the FBI commenced ...

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