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People v. Prude

SEPTEMBER 15, 1975.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. JOHN J. HOBAN, Judge, presiding.


This is an appeal by the State, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110A, par. 604), from an order entered by the circuit court of St. Clair County granting the defendants', Charles E. Prude's and Maurice C. McGuire's, motions to suppress evidence.

On January 7, 1974, defendant Prude and Theodore Wright were arrested between 6 and 6:30 p.m. at Johnny Wong's restaurant as a result of the shooting of Johnny Wong. Defendant Prude was 16 years old at the time of his arrest. The two were taken to a police station, booked by a juvenile officer, and taken upstairs to the investigative section where they reviewed mug shots for over an hour. The two youths were then questioned by the police; first together and then separately. Defendant Prude was questioned alone for 15 minutes or half an hour the first time and then for two hours the second time. About 10 or 10:30 p.m. police officers went to get two more juveniles, Richard Cooper and defendant McQuire, whom defendant Prude had implicated. It is unclear whether defendant Prude was ever put in a cell.

Sometime between 11 p.m. January 17, 1974, and 2 a.m. January 18, 1974, defendant Prude, after being read the Miranda warnings and after signing a juvenile waiver form, gave the police an inculpatory statement, which was subsequently typed up and signed by defendant Prude. The juvenile waiver form included the following paragraphs:

"2. Any statement that I make will be used against me.

3. Should the Juvenile Court find that I have committed the offense I am alleged to have committed, the Court may, among other things, send me [to] a Correctional school, place me in a public or private institution, place me with another guardian, or supervise me on probation for an indefinite period of time."

While it is undisputed that the police contacted defendant Prude's mother, conflicting testimony was presented concerning precisely what transpired during such communications. According to Mrs. Prude she called the juvenile section and was advised that her son was being held as a witness to a shooting; she was not told her son was a suspect. She further testified that she didn't receive any calls from the police until 2 a.m. when Officer McCaskill called "so that she would not worry." She was allegedly told her son would be home in the morning. When her son failed to return the following morning Mrs. Prude secured permission to leave work and go to the police station. Mrs. Prude testified that upon her arrival at the police station she first learned that her son was a murder suspect.

Defendant Prude was not told by the police or the juvenile officers that he could be certified as an adult and tried for murder, nor was he told that Wong had died. Johnny Wong had died 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital, hours before defendant Prude tendered his inculpatory statement.

Defendant McGuire was arrested at his home between 10 and 11 p.m. on January 17, 1974. Defendant McGuire was 16 years old at the time of his arrest. McGuire's parents were told that McGuire had been involved in a shooting. There was conflicting testimony presented whether defendant McGuire was threatened on his way to the police station. Defendant McGuire was booked in at 11:30 p.m. Defendant McGuire was advised of the Miranda warnings and he signed a juvenile waiver form, including paragraphs two and three quoted above.

Defendant McGuire testified that he understood that he had the right to remain silent, but he did not understand the rest, even though he indicated to the officers that he did understand. He further testified that he did not remember being told that he had a right to counsel or that he could stop the interrogations at any time and get counsel. He allegedly signed the inculpatory statement because he felt threatened.

Defendant McGuire was never told that Wong had died; that he could be certified and tried as an adult; nor that he was being held for murder.

On February 13, 1974, the defendants were certified to be tried as adults. On March 7, 1974, they were indicted for murder. After being arraigned on March 26, they filed the motions to suppress which were subsequently granted by the trial court. The trial court specifically denied all of the allegations contained in the defendants' motions to suppress except paragraph five, which alleged that the failure to advise the defendants that they could be certified and tried as adults denied them their rights to due process as guaranteed by the fifth amendment of the constitution.

The State contends that contrary to the ruling of the trial court "the Constitution does not require an admonition to juvenile offenders prior to questioning that they could be certified as adults and treated as adults for purposes of criminal prosecution." In response to the State's argument in support of the above contention, and in support of the trial court's ruling, the defendants contend that the "waivers of their fifth amendment right to remain silent were not understandingly and intelligently made because they were not advised that criminal consequences could result from such waivers."

While our research fails to reveal any Illinois authority directly on point, we have discovered conflicting views expressed in opinions emanating from other jurisdictions. From review of these authorities there appear to be basically four different approaches to the problem. The first approach is that the Miranda warnings are sufficient and that the voluntariness of a confession is determined by the "totality of the circumstances" notwithstanding the fact that a juvenile is involved. *fn1 A second approach is that a confession by a juvenile is to be scrutinized to ensure that the juvenile procedures did not encourage the confession when, if the juvenile had known that criminal prosecution as an adult could result, he might have exercised his right to remain silent. *fn2 A third approach is that a juvenile must be advised of the possibility that he could be certified as an adult before a confession may ...

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