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People v. Hicks

OPINION FILED MAY 26, 1977.

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

v.

JOHN R. HICKS ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN M. BREEN, JR., Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The State appeals from a judgment of the circuit court quashing a search warrant and suppressing evidence seized pursuant thereto. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110A, par. 604(a)(1).) The State contends that the affidavit for the search warrant contained sufficient information to establish probable cause, that the warrant itself described the place with sufficient particularity and that the failure by the police to return the warrant after execution or file an inventory with the return did not void the search warrant.

We reverse.

• 1 It is noted that defendants have not filed a brief as appellees. However, in accord with First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill.2d 128, 345 N.E.2d 493, we will consider the merits of the State's position.

On November 8, 1974, Police Detective Ronald C. Van Raalte swore out a complaint for a search warrant for the occupants and rooms 102, 104, and 108 at the Arlington Park Towers Hotel in order to seize "playing cards, dice, poker chips, monies and any and all other gambling paraphanelia [sic]" found therein. Detective Van Raalte's affidavit in support of the complaint may be summarized as follows:

On October 11, 1974, Van Raalte spoke with a police informant who had previously furnished information leading to four arrests for gambling and four convictions. The informant had no criminal record and was not involved in the activities described in the affidavit. The informant told Van Raalte that on various occasions on a regular basis certain male and female blacks gathered in the Arlington Park Towers Hotel for the purpose of gambling. They would conduct the gambling in one or more of the first floor suites of the hotel for periods of two to three days. The group members were primarily from the south and west sides of Chicago.

That same day Van Raalte and other police officers began surveillance of the hotel. They learned that a black male rented room 114 at the hotel on October 11 and stayed there until October 15. During that time numerous other blacks with car license plates registered to addresses on the south and west sides of Chicago entered and left the room. This pattern was repeated from October 18 through October 21, with many of the same people coming and going.

On October 28 a black male rented rooms 102, 104, 106, and 108 at the hotel, remaining until October 31. Again numerous blacks with car license plates registered to addresses on the south and west sides of Chicago entered and left the rooms. One woman arrived in a car registered to a woman who had been arrested twice and charged with gambling and being the patron of a gambling establishment by the Chicago Police Department in 1971. On October 30 at about 1 a.m. Van Raalte, using night binoculars, looked through the window of room 104. The room was crowded with male and female blacks. Some of them were playing cards at tables on which there appeared to be United States currency.

Finally, on November 8, 1974, at 7 p.m., a black man rented rooms 102, 104, and 108. The rooms were observed to be set up with tables in the same manner as they had been when gambling was observed. Based on all this information Van Raalte stated that he had reasonable grounds to believe that gambling would be and was being conducted in those rooms and that the evidence sought to be seized would be found in them.

That same day a search warrant based on this complaint was issued. It authorized the search of occupants and rooms 102, 104, 108, Arlington Park Towers Hotel, Euclid and Rowhling Roads, Arlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois, and the seizure of playing cards, dice, poker chips, monies and any and all gambling paraphernalia. The search was carried out on November 9. Playing cards, dice, United States currency, and an automatic pistol were seized. The five defendants were thereupon charged with gambling and certain other charges stemming from the search were brought against two of them. Despite the claim by the defendants that the search warrant was overbroad, there is no evidence in the record indicating that it was not rooms 102, 104 and 108 of the Arlington Park Towers Hotel which were searched or that the five defendants were not in those rooms when they were searched.

On April 24, 1975, the court granted the defendants' motion to suppress the evidence seized. Unfortunately the court did not make any findings of fact or state any conclusions of law as required by the Code of Criminal Procedure. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 114-12(e).) The State has appealed.

It would appear from the defendants' motion in the trial court that basically three issues were raised: (1) whether the facts contained in the affidavit established probable cause for the issuance of the warrant; (2) whether the warrant described with sufficient particularity the place and persons to be searched and the things to be seized; (3) whether any failure by the police to comply with statutory requirements concerning the steps to be taken after the warrant has been served renders the search warrant void. We will consider each of these issues in turn.

I.

• 2 As stated in People v. Thomas (1975), 62 Ill.2d 375, ...


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