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People v. Groleau

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 16, 1976.

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

v.

DAVID GROLEAU, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



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

MR. JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On June 22, 1972 the dead body of a teenage girl was found in a field in Streamwood, Illinois. A 7-year-old boy's description of a youth seen fighting with a girl in the area where the victim's body was found and a name found in a notebook in the victim's purse led the police to defendant's home. Police officers questioned the defendant both at his home and later that same day while defendant was in custody at the police station. After a hearing pursuant to defendant's motion to suppress statements and confessions, the trial court ordered as follows: (1) that defendant's statements made at his home were admissible; but (2) that defendant's statements made while in custody at the police station were involuntary and therefore inadmissible. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 604(a)(1)), the State now appeals from that part of the trial court's order suppressing statements made by defendant while in custody at the police station.

The State contends on appeal that the trial court erred in ordering the above statements suppressed and argues that the trial court's ruling was premised on a faulty principle of law.

We affirm.

The first witness to testify at the hearing on the motion to suppress was Officer LaPlagia, a member of the Streamwood Police Department. Officer LaPlagia testified that on June 22, 1972, he arrived at a vacant area near Route 59 and Schaumburg Road and observed the body of a young female, lying face down on the ground. At this time the victim was dead. Officer LaPlagia then talked to a 7-year-old boy who stated that he had seen a young boy fighting with a girl in that area the same day. The seven-year-old then gave a description of the victim's attacker. Shortly thereafter Officer LaPlagia related this conversation to juvenile officers Schoening and Adams.

Officer Louis Schoening, also a member of the Streamwood Police Department, testified that he proceeded to the scene of the occurrence where he and Officer Adams met Officer LaPlagia. After meeting with Officer LaPlagia and finding defendant's name in a notebook in the victim's purse, Officers Schoening and Adams along with detectives Smith and Keating proceeded to the defendant's residence.

Upon arriving at defendant's home, Officer Schoening asked the defendant if he had seen the victim that day. After defendant told the police officers that he had accompanied the victim as she collected for a "Walk on Hunger" and had showed her how to leave Streamwood, the officers brought defendant to the Streamwood Police Station for further questioning.

When the officers arrived at the station, Officer Schoening accompanied detectives Keating and Smith and the defendant into the Youth Bureau Office. After detective Smith advised defendant orally of his rights, Officers Keating and Smith, Volker and Schoening became involved in a conversation with defendant. Defendant stated that he took the victim to various houses where she collected money. When questioned about some scratches on his chest, defendant stated that he and the victim had been scuffling and that she had scratched him. The defendant further stated that as he was showing the victim out of town they stopped at defendant's cousin's house on Bartlett Road. During this period of questioning nobody physically abused the defendant.

After questioning the defendant, the police brought in various people to identify the defendant, took photographs and interrogated several witnesses. The defendant then slept for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Officer Schoening went on to testify that at approximately 2 a.m., he and Officers Volker and Keating initiated another conversation with the defendant. At this second conversation, the defendant said that he argued with and hit the victim and, contrary to his earlier statement, indicated that he went up Schaumburg Road where he left the victim. Defendant then stated that he was tired, would answer no further questions and wanted to see his lawyer. The police then stopped their interrogation and gave the defendant something to eat. During this second period of questioning which lasted about an hour, no one hit the defendant.

Officer Schoening further testified that he did not recall the defendant being alone in the room with one police officer. Schoening never talked to the defendant's father at the station and first saw him at around 2 a.m. Officer Schoening stated that neither he nor any of the other police officers in his presence ever told the defendant that the victim was in the hospital or that she had accused him of hitting her. Officer Schoening further stated that the defendant never replied in Schoening's presence that somebody is pulling your leg and that she had better tell the truth.

Officer Adams, a juvenile officer in the Streamwood Police Department, testified that he was present at the defendant's residence when defendant was asked to come to the police station. Officer Adams did not recall Officers Schoening or Smith telling the defendant at that time that the victim was in the hospital or that the victim had said defendant had hit her in the head with a rock.

Shortly after arriving at the police station with the defendant, Officer Adams saw Mr. Groleau, the defendant's father, sitting in the front hallway but did not recall whether he saw him in the Youth Bureau Office. Officer Adams was not present during the initial stages of the first interrogation period and did not recall that Mr. Groleau was told to leave the Youth Bureau Office nor any statement by Mr. Groleau that he wished to obtain the services of a lawyer. Officer Adams never talked to Mr. Groleau.

Officer Adams went on to testify that Officer Smith was present during the latter portion of the first interrogation period and was doing most of the questioning. In response to Officer Smith's questions, defendant stated that he had been with the victim, that they had been fooling around and that she scratched him. Later, the defendant changed his story and stated that his mother had ...


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