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People v. Williams

JANUARY 18, 1974.

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

v.

JAMES WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EARL E. STRAYHORN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of the offenses of burglary and robbery and sentenced to a term of four to nine years on each charge, to run concurrently.

Defendant and Gilbert Reese were originally charged in Indictment No. 71-2535 with burglary and robbery of the apartment and person of Estelle Knyzer, and in Indictment No. 71-2536 with the burglary and armed robbery of the dwelling and person of Ziggie Tamoliunas. Reese entered a plea of guilty to both indictments. In case No. 71-2535, after an evidentiary hearing, defendant's pretrial motion to suppress certain oral statements was granted following which, on the State's motion, the charges against defendant in No. 71-2535 were dismissed with leave to reinstate. Subsequently, during the trial of the case here, No. 71-2536, his motion to suppress oral statements, allegedly the same statements, was denied by the same trial judge.

On appeal defendant argues, (1) the court improperly denied his motion to suppress oral statements in case No. 71-2536, and (2) his sentences are in violation of the Unified Code of Corrections.

It is contended by defendant that the oral statements allowed here were the same statements suppressed in case No. 71-2535. There, Officer Zalas, Reese and defendant were the only persons who testified concerning the statements. The testimony of Officer Zalas, in pertinent part, was as follows:

"A. First I questioned the defendant Gilbert Reese.

Q. Where did you question Mr. Williams?

A. In the interrogation room.

Q. Was Mr. Reese in the room?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. You questioned them both together, is that right?

A. Yes, later I did.

Q. When you say `later,' what do you mean, later on that afternoon?

A. At the time that Mr. Williams was brought into the room I had Gilbert Reese repeat a statement to me so Mr. Williams could confront the factual or `infactual.'

Q. What did Mr. Williams say when he heard that statement.

A. I asked him if it was true or not.

Q. What did he say?

A. He said `just what he said is what happened,' he said what Gilbert Reese said is what happened.

Q. He said yes it happened?

A. I don't remember his exact words but he agreed with the statement made by Gilbert Reese."

Reese testified that defendant was not with him when he stole the property and Reese was not asked, at this hearing, whether he made an oral statement implicating defendant. Defendant testified at the hearing that Reese made no statement in his presence which implicated him but he answered certain questions as follows:

"A. Well, he [police officer] told me when I came in and saw [sic] down that Gilbert Reese confessed to everything ...


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