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People v. Hampton

MAY 8, 1972.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

STEPHEN K. HAMPTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. DONALD W. MORTHLAND, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SIMKINS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On July 9, 1970, Defendant-Appellant, Stephen K. Hampton, was indicted for burglary of the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Norman White. The Public Defender was appointed as counsel for defendant. Trial before the jury was commenced August 17, 1970, and resulted in a verdict of guilty. Defendant was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 8 to 24 years.

On returning to their home on the evening of July 2, 1970, Mr. and Mrs. White discovered that a burglary had occurred and the Sheriff of Macon County was called. Missing was a combination stereo AM-FM radio, Mrs. White's purse, some antique jewelry and Mr. White's wedding ring. The ring was engraved with the couples' initials and the date of their wedding.

Shortly before noon, on July 2, 1970, Trooper Rogers observed the defendant operating his automobile in the City of Decatur with no license plates, stopped the defendant and asked to see his driver's license. Defendant produced a license which had expired, and was then arrested for driving with the expired license. The Trooper told defendant that he would have to post bond and escorted him to the Court House. Defendant parked his car, locked it and went to the Clerk's office with Trooper Rogers. The defendant, in the presence of Rogers, had taken several rolls of coins from his car for use in posting bond, and had asked Rogers if he would like to purchase any of the coins, mentioning that he had some Jefferson nickels. Rogers declined.

While defendant was arranging to post bond, Trooper Rogers talked to Detective Davis of the Decatur Police Department who had been engaged in investigating a series of burglaries which had occurred in the Decatur area. Among those burglaries was one committed at the residence of an army officer, Lt. Blank, and one committed at the residence of a Mr. Dollahan. In the Dollahan burglary a coin collection had been stolen, included in which was a complete set of Jefferson nickels. Trooper Rogers was apparently aware of Davis' investigation of the Dollahan burglary, and with some of the details of that offense, because he advised Davis of Hampton's possession and intended use of the several rolls of coins, and of the defendant's offer to sell him some Jefferson nickels, and also told Davis that some of the coins which Hampton had were similar to those taken from the Dollahan residence. Davis was aware that Hampton resided in an apartment building owned by Dollahan, was familiar with his police record and that he was a suspect in that crime.

Davis then went to the Clerk's office and asked defendant to accompany him to headquarters to discuss the coins which the defendant had posted as bond. The defendant testified that Davis told him that he had some questions about burglaries and that he went with Davis willingly. Upon arrival at headquarters Detective Davis advised defendant of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436. As evidence of this, during the hearing to suppress the evidence and defendant's confession, People's Exhibit 7 was admitted. This was a written acknowledgment and waiver of the warnings, it was dated July 2, 1970, at 1:00 P.M. After each warning defendant affixed his initials and also signed the instrument at the bottom of the page. Davis told defendant he was a suspect in several burglaries and requested permission to search his car. Defendant denied knowledge of any burglaries and consented to the search of the car and executed a written consent (Peoples' Exhibit 8) dated July 2, 1970, at the hour of 1:15 P.M., and gave the keys to Davis.

Detective Davis and Officer Myers then searched the car and discovered four rings in the pocket of a pair of jeans which were lying on the back seat. One of the rings was that of Mr. White, engraved as above indicated. They also found a lighter upon which was engraved "Lt. Blank" plus a date, a company and battalion designation. Defendant was then booked for the Blank burglary.

On the afternoon of same day, defendant was asked to consent to a search of his apartment, and again executed a written consent which was introduced into evidence during the hearing on the motion to suppress, as Peoples' Exhibit 10. The consent was dated July 2, 1970, at the hour of 4:35 P.M., and was signed by the defendant. The defendant accompanied Officers Stoltz, Applegate, Brown and McMinn to his apartment. The search yielded the stereo radio taken from the White residence, plus Mrs. White's purse which contained her Social Security identification card, her driver's license, and the balance of the jewelry taken from the White residence was also found. The search also yielded many other items subsequently identified as having been taken during the course of other burglaries.

At 9:00 o'clock P.M., defendant was again questioned, was granted permission to call an attorney and did so. He then, according to the police confessed to some 14 burglaries but did not mention the White burglary. The following day defendant was again advised of his rights under Miranda, executed another acknowledgment and waiver of those rights and this document was introduced as Peoples' Exhibit 11, dated July 3, 1970, at 11:10 P.M. At 11:30 P.M., defendant signed a confession, made in his own handwriting. In the confession, Peoples' Exhibit 12, defendant admitted only the White burglary, the taking of the stereo radio and Mrs. White's purse but denied taking anything else and stated that Hampton was alone at the time.

During the hearing on the Motion to Suppress the officers testified that the defendant was not mistreated, no promises or threats made to him and that the acknowledgments, waivers, consents and confession were given freely and with no compulsion or inducements. The defendant testified that he had read all of the documents before signing them, that his consent to search the car was voluntary, that he was never mistreated. He also testified that he was threatened with a beating, that he was frightened and that some of the documents were executed at an hour different than indicated on the exhibit; the officers testified that the time shown was correct. The trial judge denied the motion to suppress the physical evidence and the confession.

During the trial the defendant testified that he had purchased the stereo-radio on June 28, 1970, from a stranger whom he met in a bar; that the man said his name was Wikoff. That Wikoff had refused to tell the defendant where he lived, and had delivered the stereo in a pickup truck which had the words "Decatur, Illinois" painted on the side, but no person's name was painted on the truck. He denied telling the police he had stolen the stereo-radio. Defendant testified that he found the White ring and Mrs. White's purse in the radio where records were kept. That he assumed the initials "W" referred to Wikoff and had put the ring in his pants pocket and had been trying to find Wikoff to return it to him. That he had looked at Mrs. White's driver's license, which was in the purse and had looked in the phone book but found no telephone listed in the name of Mrs. Nancy White. He denied burglarizing the White residence. The defendant was the only witness in his own behalf.

In rebuttal the People offered in evidence the record of defendant's conviction, on a plea of guilty on March 29, 1968, of the crime of theft of "Lawful coinage of the U.S., face value $2700.00 * * *." There was no objection by defendant's counsel, and the evidence was admitted.

• 1 Defendant argues that counsel should have objected to admission of the record of this conviction, and that its admission was error. It is, of course, clear that a previous conviction of a crime, for purpose of impeachment, may be shown only if that conviction was for an infamous crime, (e.g., People v. Helm, 40 Ill.2d 39, 45, 237 N.E.2d 433), and the People do not dispute this well established rule. In Ch. 38, Sec. 124-1, Ill. Rev. Stats., 1969, the legislature has designated those crimes which fall into this category including "* * * theft if the punishment imposed is imprisonment in the penitentiary." Defendant now argues that since defendant was admitted to probation following his conviction for theft over $150.00 and not sentenced to the penitentiary, the conviction was not for an infamous crime. The defendant cites no case which supports his position on this point.

In People v. Andrae, 295 Ill. 445, 129 N.E. 178, the Court held that release on probation did not set aside the defendant's conviction nor preclude admission of the record for the purpose of his impeachment in a subsequent trial. In People v. Rave, 364 Ill. 72, 3 N.E.2d 972, the Court held that admission to probation does not, in any way, vitiate the conviction, and in People v. Rave, 392 Ill. ...


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