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People v. Demorrow





Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Vermilion County; the Hon. Paul M. Wright, Judge, presiding.


This case arises from the trial in the circuit court of Vermilion County of the defendant and James Brandys, who is not a party to this appeal, on charges of aggravated kidnapping, unlawful restraint, rape, and indecent liberties with a child. The court directed verdicts in favor of the defendants on the charges of rape and indecent liberties at the end of the prosecution's case. The jury found the defendants to be guilty of aggravated kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Judgment was entered on the verdict, and the appellant was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in the penitentiary on the aggravated-kidnapping conviction. The appellate court affirmed (17 Ill. App.3d 901), and we granted leave to appeal.

The appellant raises only three issues in this court: that the courts below erred in concluding that evidence discovered in the defendant's home in the State of Michigan was the result of a valid consent search; that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and that the sentence was excessive. The appellate court was of the opinion that the Supreme Court of Michigan would require that a person be given a Miranda type of warning before consent to a search without a warrant could be valid. The appellate court relied on the case of People v. Zeigler (1960), 358 Mich. 355, 100 N.W.2d 456, and ended its discussion with the following statement at 17 Ill. App.3d 901, 908:

"That is, the Michigan court said that both the fourth and fifth amendments involve the protection of privacy and guard against the compulsory production of incriminating evidence so to assure a waiver of such fundamental constitutional rights is voluntary, a warning of the protection provided and the right not to waive it is required.

The Supreme Court of Michigan, in People v. Zeigler, 358 Mich. 355, 100 N.W.2d 456, after first discussing the interplay of the fourth and fifth amendments, stated:

"And so, with respect to incriminating evidence, other than confessions, obtained by search and seizure, under a conceivable showing of facts, such as, inter alia, that the accused was first advised of his rights, informed that he need not submit to a search and that, if he did, the fruits thereof would be used in evidence against him, his consenting to the search and seizure may well, in the absence of contrary indications, be held to be voluntary, not an involuntary act secured under coercion, and, hence, a waiver of his constitutional rights, rendering such evidence admissible." 358 Mich. at 364-365, 100 N.W.2d at 461.

In Zeigler, the Michigan court was deciding what safeguards were required by the fourth and fifth amendments to the United States Constitution, and not the safeguards required by the Constitution of the State of Michigan. The Supreme Court of Michigan has also stated that:

"It is beyond all question that the United States supreme court is the sole authoritative interpreter of the United States Constitution; and that it speaks only through opinions adopted by the majority of the court. People v. Gonzales (1959), 356 Mich. 247, 262-263, 97 N.W.2d 16, 24.

Therefore, whether or not any given search and seizure is unconstitutional, as violative of the fourth and fifth amendments, as a matter of substantive law, is to be decided by the pronouncements of the United States Supreme Court. If a search and seizure is valid according to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court, the decision of a State court cannot make it invalid as a matter of Federal constitutional law. The decision of what State courts deem to be admissible in their systems according to their laws of evidence is an entirely separate question.

The United States Supreme Court considered this question of the characterization of exclusionary rules in the State courts in the case of Salsburg v. Maryland (1954), 346 U.S. 545, 98 L.Ed. 281, 74 S.Ct. 280, and the court stated:

"Rules of evidence, being procedural in their nature, are peculiarly discretionary with the law-making authority, one of whose primary responsibilities is to prescribe procedures for enforcing its laws. Several states have followed diametrically opposite policies as to the admission of illegally seized evidence. [Citations.]" 346 U.S. at 550, 98 L.Ed. at 287.

Inasmuch as the question raised by the defendant is one of evidence, the law of Illinois, the forum State, is applicable. People v. Saiken (1971), 49 Ill.2d 504, 509; People v. Kirkpatrick (1953), 413 Ill. 595, 597.

We look then to the question of whether the search and seizure in this case meets constitutional standards as set forth by the United States Supreme Court. The witnesses do not agree on the events which led to the search. At the hearing on the defendant's motion to suppress, contradictory testimony was given. Thomas Mannin, a Sergeant on the Hoopeston, Illinois, police force, who was present when the defendant was arrested in his home in Michigan, testified in pertinent part as follows:

"[Direct examination:]

Q. State your name please.

A. Thomas Franklin Mannin.

Q. And what is your occupation?

A. I am a sergeant on the police force in Hoopeston, Illinois.

Q. That is in Vermilion County, Illinois?

A. Yes it is."

The following testimony was from the cross-examination of Thomas F. Mannin:

"Q. When you went in the house where did you see Mr. DeMorrow?

A. He was coming out of one of the bedrooms with Trooper Den Houten.

Q. With the Trooper?

A. Yes.

Q. What did Trooper Den Houten say?

A. He informed him of his rights, told him he was under arrest for an alleged incident in Illinois and violation of his parole.

Q. What were you doing at that time?

A. I was standing along side.

Q. Then what did you do at ...

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