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People v. Hoffman

OCTOBER 16, 1975.

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

v.

JOHN PHILLIP HOFFMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. WAYNE C. TOWNLEY, JR., Judge, presiding.

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

The State is appealing the trial court's suppression of statements made by defendant. We reverse.

One evening defendant appeared at the McLean County sheriff's department in an intoxicated condition and announced that he had committed a certain robbery. He was held overnight and questioned the next morning. The responses to that questioning were the statements suppressed.

At the hearing on the motion to suppress both the detectives present at the questioning testified. Detective Woith testified that he first informed the defendant that

"You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of Law; you have the right to have an attorney present before any questions are asked; and if you can't afford one the court has to appoint one for you; you can exercise any and all of these rights at any time that you wish."

Detective Woith also testified defendant responded "yes" when asked whether he understood these rights. Detective Brown testified that defendant was advised of his constitutional rights and appeared to understand them.

After the rights were given, defendant was questioned, and his statement, on a form which included printed Miranda warnings, was typed up, and then signed by him.

Defendant, during this time, did not ask for an attorney and did not refuse to answer any questions. Defendant did not testify at the hearing on the motion to suppress.

The trial judge suppressed the statements on the grounds that, one, the material witness rule was not complied with, and two, the Miranda warnings were insufficient.

The trial judge found that the failure of Detective Brown to testify concerning the actual wording of the warnings given by Detective Woith amounted to failure to call all material witnesses.

• 1, 2 When a defendant challenges the voluntariness of a confession, the burden is on the State to prove that the confession was voluntary by a preponderance of the evidence. The State must call all material witnesses to testify at the hearing on the motion to suppress. (People v. Armstrong, 51 Ill.2d 471, 282 N.E.2d 712.) The rationale of the rule is to make all witnesses available for cross-examination by the defendant. See People v. Hicks, 35 Ill.2d 390, 220 N.E.2d 461, where the court rejected defendant's argument that the material witness rule had been violated when a State's Attorney, a material witness, announced at the hearing on the motion to suppress that he was available for cross-examination, but such was not done.

Since, in the case at bar, all material witnesses testified and were available for any cross-examination defendant desired, there was no violation of the material witness rule.

• 3 The trial court also held that the Miranda warnings given by Detective Woith were insufficient because they did not adequately inform the defendant of his right to an attorney before questioning and that the warnings as given seemed to put the burden of obtaining an attorney on defendant.

In People v. Prim, 53 Ill.2d 62, 289 N.E.2d 601, the Illinois Supreme Court considered the sufficiency of ...


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