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People v. Jones

SEPTEMBER 5, 1972.

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

v.

ROBERT JONES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS B. GARIPPO, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial defendant was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to a term of 5 to 10 years in the penitentiary. On appeal defendant contends:

1. Evidence produced by a search incident to his arrest should have been suppressed, because the arrest was made without probable cause;

2. Pretrial identification procedures were unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to mistaken identity; and

3. The prosecutor's closing argument was so prejudicial as to deny him a fair trial.

At the pretrial hearing on defendant's motion to suppress identification, complainant, Dorothy Smith, testified that she was employed by Hollis Cleaners at 6709 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, Illinois, on November 9, 1970. At approximately 1:50 P.M. a man entered the store and announced that it was a "stick-up." She opened the cash register and the man took one five and five one dollar bills. After ascertaining that was all the money available in the store, he departed and ran down an adjacent alley. The lights were on in the store during the occurrence. He was in the store for "a couple of minutes" and stood two to three feet from complainant. She was able to see him well. After his departure, complainant immediately telephoned the police and reported the robbery. She described the robber as a male negro, 5'6" tall, 150 pounds, wearing brown corduroy pants and a furry type hat and coat. About 45 minutes after the occurrence complainant identified defendant at a police line-up of four persons. *fn1 She further testified that she identified defendant's face, not his clothing.

At the pretrial hearing on defendant's motion to suppress physical evidence, police officer Theodore Dixon testified that he and his partner, Roosevelt Allen, were cruising in an unmarked police car on November 9, 1970. It was raining. They observed a man, subsequently identified as defendant, running from the cleaning store at 6709 S. Racine Ave. into an adjacent alley. The witness stated that he and his partner were devoting particular attention to cleaning shops because of a rash robberies of such establishments. Officer Dixon left the police car and pursued defendant for 1 1/2 blocks eastbound through the alley to the east side of May St., the next north-south street east of Racine Ave. Defendant then ran back to the west side of May St. where the witness observed him entering a car occupied by two other men. The engine of the car was running. Defendant was in the sight of Officer Dixon throughout the chase. As Officer Dixon approached the car, Officer Allen drove the police car to a position alongside the automobile to prevent its departure. Officer Dixon ordered the three men from the car. As the men were getting out of the automobile, Officer Allen informed Officer Dixon that he had received a radio message that a robbery had occurred at the store from which defendant had emerged and fled. Defendant was then placed under arrest and searched. One five and five one dollar bills were discovered in the waistband of his trousers. A subsequent search of the car revealed a gun beneath an armrest in the front seat. The currency and gun were admitted into evidence at the trial.

On cross-examination, defendant introduced into evidence a copy of the report of arrest filed by Officers Dixon and Allen, wherein it was indicated that defendant's person was searched prior to receipt of the radio message of the robbery. Officer Dixon testified that the police report may have contained some errors.

Officer Allen's testimony was substantially the same as Officer Dixon's regarding the sighting of defendant running from the cleaning store and the subsequent pursuit by Officer Dixon. Officer Allen further testified that he received a radio message of a robbery at 6709 S. Racine Ave. which he communicated to Officer Dixon before defendant emerged from the automobile.

In overruling defendant's motion to suppress physical evidence the court stated:

"With respect to the motion to suppress the physical exhibits, I find that in view of all the circumstances surrounding, the person running, going to the car, running for the car, made a stop, then the call comes, I certainly believe that there would be probable cause to make an arrest and to make the search of the automobile. So the motion to suppress the physical exhibits and identification will be denied."

At the trial the testimony of the prosecution witnesses was substantially the same as adduced at the suppression hearings. Defendant testified that he had met two of his friends at a lounge and asked them for a ride home. He had known them for at least 3 or 4 years. Enroute the three men stopped to talk with some young ladies. One of his friends stated that he was going to the cleaners and borrowed defendant's hat to protect him from the rain. It was "raining pretty hard." When his friend returned to the car they started to drive away, but their path was blocked by a police car. They were subsequently arrested. Defendant also testified, contrary to the testimony of the police, that he was not immediately searched and that the money was not found until he was removed from the scene to the police station.

Defendant initially contends that evidence produced by the search incident to his arrest — the gun found in the car and the currency taken from his waistband — should have been suppressed because the arrest was made without probable cause.

• 1, 2 Probable cause for arrest exist when the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge warrant a man of reasonable caution in believing that an offense has been committed and that the person arrested has committed it. (People v. Peak, 29 Ill.2d 343.) Whether probable cause for arrest exists depends upon the totality of the facts and circumstances in a given case. (People v. McCrimmon, 37 Ill.2d 40.) While mere suspicion will not afford probable cause for an arrest, it is established that reasonable cause for an arrest does not require the same quantum of evidence necessary to support a conviction and may even be founded on evidence that would not be admissible at trial. (People v. Jones, 31 Ill.2d 42.) Furthermore, the existence of probable cause which will justify an ...


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