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People v. Glenn





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. CARL H. BECKER, Judge, presiding.


Defendants-appellants Jasper Glenn and Ronnie Lee Cunningham were indicted in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County (along with Carl Wayne Wilson, who is not involved in this appeal) *fn1 for the offenses of murder, armed robbery, and two counts of aggravated battery. Both defendants were found guilty of all four charges and sentenced to 100 to 150 years for murder, 10 to 25 years for armed robbery, and 3 to 9 years for each aggravated battery. The sentences for armed robbery and aggravated battery were ordered to run concurrently with each other, and consecutive to the sentence for murder.

On appeal, defendant Glenn contends that the confession introduced against him at trial should have been suppressed on two grounds: it was the product of an illegal arrest, and the prosecution failed to prove that it was voluntarily made. Both defendants contend that their sentences should be modified to run concurrently, and that the sentences of 100 to 150 years imprisonment for the offense of murder were excessive.

The instant prosecutions followed police investigation of a particularly brutal attack on an elderly couple and their mentally retarded adult son in their home in East St. Louis during the early morning hours of February 13, 1975. A full chronicle of the abuse suffered by the victims during their night of terror would serve no purpose here. Suffice it to say that they were repeatedly beaten and abused while their assailants ransacked their home and reduced it to a shambles. The elderly woman estimated that the ordeal lasted for at least two hours. Her husband died later that morning from the beating.

Both defendants were arrested on February 15. Glenn's arrest occurred at about 9:30 a.m. Shortly after he was taken to police headquarters, advised of his rights by a juvenile officer, and informed that he could be prosecuted as an adult, he submitted to questioning and confessed to his participation in the murder. Several hours later, he signed a written confession.

Glenn was bound over for prosecution as an adult, and probable cause was found after a preliminary hearing. At arraignment he entered a plea of not guilty, and his counsel filed several motions, including a motion to suppress the confession and a motion for change of venue. Venue was subsequently changed to Randolph County. A motion for a hearing into Glenn's fitness to stand trial was also granted, and a hearing held. Two examiners, a psychiatrist and a psychologist, testified that they had concluded from their examination of Glenn that he was fit to stand trial and capable of cooperating with counsel.

After a lengthy hearing, the court denied Glenn's motion to suppress his confession. Glenn then waived his right to trial by jury, and elected to be tried by the court on stipulated evidence. Cunningham was tried by a jury. Both defendants were found guilty, post-trial motions were denied, and the sentences indicated above were imposed. These appeals followed.

Glenn's written motion to suppress alleged that the confession was not made freely and voluntarily; that it was induced by promises of leniency and by physical and psychological coercion, duress, and violence; that he had not been admonished as to his rights; and that he had neither the mental capacity to understand the giving of the confession nor the reading ability to understand the written statement.

When the motion came on to be heard, Glenn's counsel made an oral motion that the court compel the State to divulge the name of the confidential informant mentioned in police reports of the investigation, along with the substance of the information provided by the informant. Counsel argued that the sole basis for the arrest of his client was information provided by the informant, and that without any information as to the reliability or veracity of the informant or the accuracy of his information, there could be no finding of probable cause for arrest. The prosecutor argued that the defendant's request on the eve of trial was not timely, that the question of probable cause for arrest had been waived by failure to raise it in the written motion to suppress, that the informant was not available, that his life would be in jeopardy if his name were revealed, and that his information was in any event not the sole basis for Glenn's arrest. On appeal, the court's denial of defendant's oral motion is raised as error.

• 1 Although the mere unsupported representation by the prosecution that there is reason to fear for an informant's safety is not sufficient to deny disclosure of his identity (see, e.g., People v. Gibson, 54 Ill. App.3d 898, 370 N.E.2d 262 (4th Dist. 1977)), we do not think that the court below erred in finding that there was probable cause for Glenn's arrest. A review of the entire record reveals that the authorities had begun an intensive neighborhood investigation as soon as the offenses were discovered. They had learned of a social gathering which had been held nearby on the previous evening and the names of several people that were present. Information received before the telephone call from the confidential source indicated that one of the people involved was "a tall subject believed to be called Jake or Jason." Other information implicated a black male juvenile residing in the 2300 block north of 23rd and State Streets. Defendant Jasper Glenn, a tall, black male juvenile, lived at 567 North 23rd Street.

• 2 Recently, in People v. Robinson, 62 Ill.2d 273, 276, 342 N.E.2d 356 (1976), our supreme court has summarized the law relating to probable cause for arrest:

"* * * There is probable cause when the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable caution in believing that an offense has been committed and that the person arrested has committed the offense. [Citation.] This court observed in People v. Jones, 31 Ill.2d 42, 47, that * * * reasonable cause means something less than evidence which would result in a conviction, and it is also established that reasonable cause may be founded upon evidence that would not be admissible at trial.'

In considering whether probable cause existed, we stated in People v. Clay, 55 Ill.2d 501, 504-05, `Whether or not probable cause for an arrest exists in a particular case depends upon the totality of the facts and circumstances known to the officers when the arrest was made. [Citations.] In deciding the question of probable cause in a particular case the courts> deal with probabilities and are not disposed to be unduly technical. These probabilities are the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable men, not legal technicians, act. Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 3 L.Ed.2d 327, 79 S.Ct. 329; People v. Fiorito, 19 Ill.2d 246.' Also it is proper to recognize in judging whether there was probable cause that `[p]olice officers often must act upon a quick appraisal of the data before them, and the reasonableness of their conduct must be judged on the basis of their responsibility to prevent crime and to catch criminals.' People v. Watkins, 19 Ill.2d 11, 19."

In light of all the information known to the authorities at the time of Glenn's arrest, we think that they did have ...

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