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People v. Cavin

MAY 13, 1975.




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


Defendant Dwight Cavin (hereinafter defendant) was indicted with four co-defendants, Bradley Greene, Jerome Amos, William Redwine and Bruce Sharp, for the crimes of murder, armed robbery and unlawful use of a weapon. Sharp entered a plea of guilty. Amos, Greene and Redwine were tried by the court without a jury, which trial resulted in an acquittal of Amos and the conviction of the latter two. *fn1 At a subsequent bench trial the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a prison term of 25 to 50 years.

Defendant now appeals from that conviction presenting the following issues for review:

(1) whether the method of selecting grand jurors in Cook County satisfies constitutional requirements;

(2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to suppress defendant's written confession; and

(3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support a finding of guilty.

On June 19, 1970, Officer Kenneth Kaner of the Chicago Police Department died of a shotgun wound while on duty. That same morning, at approximately 1:28 A.M., defendant and four others were stopped for a traffic violation, arrested and later charged with the murder of Officer Kaner, as well as armed robbery and unlawful use of a weapon.

While in police custody following his arrest, defendant was interrogated by a number of police officers and investigators, and a question-and-answer statement was taken and typed by a police officer which he then refused to sign. Defendant was thereafter taken to the office of the assistant State's attorney at the Criminal Courts Building in Chicago where two assistant State's attorneys questioned him. Defendant eventually gave a court-reported statement describing the events leading to the death of Officer Kaner and implicating himself in the crime. Defendant was then given copies of the statements which he reviewed, corrected and signed.

Prior to trial defendant sought to suppress these statements on the grounds that he did not give them voluntarily. In essence, defendant attempted to prove that he had been threatened and physically abused prior to giving the statements, that they were not given voluntarily, and that, indeed, the statements were the result of coercion by the police and assistant State's attorneys. He testified that, at the time of his arrest, a police officer hit him in the eye and on the back of the head with a gun; that, once in the police station, two police officers brought him to a room where they began "jumping" on him; that one officer "slapped" him around; that four or five others then grabbed him, tore his vest, stretched him out on a desk where one hit him in the stomach and the rest "jumped" on him; that a relative of Officer Kaner hit him in the face and kicked him in the stomach; and that assistant State's attorney Robert Beranek handcuffed defendant's arms behind the chair in which he was seated, stood on the handcuffs and slapped him on the head. Defendant further stated that, as a result of these assaults, he was bleeding from the eye and nose, and that his eye was "puffed up" to an extent which caused his vision to become blurred.

The State, on the other hand, called numerous witnesses, defendant and taken statements from him. Each of these witnesses denied threatening or abusing the defendant and testified that the defendant gave the statements voluntarily.

The parties also offered into evidence a number of photographs taken of defendant after his arrest. Defendant introduced a photo of himself and his four co-defendants which had been taken at the police station a few hours after the alleged beatings took place. *fn2 The State introduced two additional photographs: one had been taken by a court reporter after he recorded defendant's statements given to the assistant State's attorney; the other had been taken by a guard in the receiving room at Cook County Jail on June 20, 1970 at approximately 10 A.M. The State further offered into evidence the Cook County Jail physical examination report completed and signed by defendant upon his admission to the jail.

The trial court denied the motion to suppress. In doing so, the judge concluded that, as the facial injuries which defendant claimed the police had inflicted upon him were neither apparent in the photographs nor recorded in the Cook County Jail physical examination report, the testimony of the defense witnesses was not believable.

The bench trial then followed, at which time both parties stipulated that the evidence adduced by the State in the trial of Greene, Amos and Redwine and defendant's statements would be the evidence offered by the State. *fn3 The defendant presented no trial testimony. A brief summary of the significant portions of the trial evidence is appropriate.

At about 1:25 A.M. on June 19, 1970, Officer Kaner, sitting in a marked Chicago police car at the corner of 74th Street and Union Avenue in the City of Chicago, was shot to death. Officer Brown testified that, at approximately 1:28 A.M. on June 19, 1970, he and Officer Malek stopped a Chevy Corvair on Union Street north of 72nd Street in Chicago after they noticed the car had no reflectors or license plates. Redwine exited from the passenger's side of the two-door auto and immediately raised his hands in the air. The driver, Bradley Greene, exited and looked back at the squad car. Three men were seated in the back seat, Sharp behind the driver, the defendant in the middle, and Jerome Amos behind the passenger's seat. After noticing a sticker on the window indicating that a license had been applied for, Officer Brown saw a partially empty quart bottle of beer lying on the floor in the front passenger's side of the Corvair. As he opened the door to retrieve the bottle, defendant bent forward, drawing the officer's attention. At this point Officer Brown noticed the butt of a gun sticking up from between defendant's feet. He then took the gun, ordered the three men in the rear seat from the Corvair, pulled the driver's seat forward, and found a couple of shotgun ...

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