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People v. Peterson

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 4, 1978.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

CHARLES W. PETERSON, APPELLANT. — IN RE DOUGLAS MCMILLAN, A MINOR, APPELLEE. — (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT.)



No. 49935. — Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Second District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County, the Hon. James H. Cooney, Judge, presiding.

No. 50067. — Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Knox County, the Hon. William K. Richardson, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE CLARK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 25, 1979.

William J. Scott, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Carl E. Hawkinson, State's Attorney, of Galesburg (Donald B. Mackay and Philip Weber, of Springfield, and Melbourne A. Noel, of Chicago, Assistant Attorneys General, and James E. Hinterlong and Linda M. Vodar, of the Illinois State's Attorneys Association Prosecutors' Appellate Service, of Ottawa, of counsel), for the People.

Robert Agostinelli, Deputy Defender, and Michael J. Pelletier, Assistant Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, of Ottawa, for appellee.

These consolidated cases involve the admissibility, in probation revocation proceedings, of the accused probation violator's allegedly involuntary confession and its fruits. We hold that the involuntary confession of an accused probation violator and the fruits of such a confession are inadmissible in a proceeding to revoke his probation. Accordingly, in cause No. 49935, People v. Peterson (1977), 50 Ill. App.3d 853, we modify the judgment of the appellate court, vacate the judgment of the circuit court and remand the cause to the circuit court with directions to reconsider its decision revoking probation in light of the remaining evidence; in cause No. 50067, In re McMillan (1977), 51 Ill. App.3d 940, we vacate the judgments of the appellate and circuit courts>, and remand the cause to the circuit court with directions to determine whether McMillan's confession was voluntary.

Although these consolidated cases share a common question of law, their procedural histories differ substantially and require separate treatment. In cause No. 49935, the probationer, Charles W. Peterson, was arrested by Crystal Lake police officers at about 12:10 a.m. on June 22, 1973, on the the charge of possession of a hypodermic syringe. They transported him to the Crystal Lake police station, where he was given Miranda warnings, though he was not told that he could stop the questioning at any time.

Two officers began to question Peterson in an interrogation room. They had received a tip from an unnamed informant that Peterson (along with two other men known to the informant only as "Mike" and "Eddie") had burglarized a gas station on June 22, 1973, and the officers' questions quickly focused on this incident. Peterson denied participating in the crime, and claimed that he had been in Chicago with his girlfriend on the night in question. Peterson refused to reveal his girlfriend's name, however, claiming that he did not want to get her involved in the investigation. When the interrogating officers then indicated that they already knew her identity through information they had found in Peterson's wallet, and that they intended to contact her, Peterson confessed the crimes, naming Eddie Crittendon as one of his accomplices.

At Peterson's trial on the underlying criminal charges, the circuit court suppressed Peterson's confession, finding it to have been the result of "psychological coercion" and of the failure to warn defendant of his right to discontinue the questioning at any time. Nonetheless, relying upon People v. Dowery (1975), 62 Ill.2d 200, 206, the court held that same confession (along with the testimony of Eddie Crittendon) admissible at Peterson's probation revocation hearing. The court eventually revoked Peterson's probation, basing its decision in part upon the aforementioned evidence. The Appellate Court, Second District, modified in part, affirmed in part, and remanded (People v. Peterson (1977), 50 Ill. App.3d 853), finding certain other defects in the judgment of the circuit court, and we granted Peterson's petition for leave to appeal.

Peterson contends that the voluntariness of his confession was an issue of ultimate fact in the court's ruling on the motion to suppress the confession in the trial on the underlying criminal charge, that the circuit court found that statement to have been involuntary, and that the State therefore was collaterally estopped from challenging that finding in the subsequent probation revocation proceeding. We agree.

Voluntariness, and not just the existence of a technical Miranda violation, was an ultimate issue of fact subsumed in the circuit court's ruling on Peterson's motion to suppress his confession, because an involuntary confession may not be used to impeach the defendant's testimony, whereas a mere technical Miranda violation does not foreclose such use of the confession. (Harris v. New York (1971), 401 U.S. 222, 224-25, 28 L.Ed.2d 1, 4, 91 S.Ct. 643, 645. See also People v. Moore (1973), 54 Ill.2d 33, 37; cert. denied (1973), 412 U.S. 943, 37 L.Ed.2d 404, 93 S.Ct. 2787.) There can be no doubt that, in finding the defendant's confession to have been the result of "psychological coercion" and of failure to warn of the right to discontinue questioning, the trial court found Peterson's confession to have been involuntary. (Cf., e.g., Garrity v. New Jersey (1967), 385 U.S. 493, 496, 17 L.Ed.2d 562, 565, 87 S.Ct. 616, 618 (mental coercion renders statement involuntary).) The State did not appeal this finding, and, accordingly, was collaterally estopped from challenging it in any subsequent proceeding (People v. Williams (1975), 59 Ill.2d 557, 560-62), including a subsequent probation revocation hearing (People v. Grayson (1974), 58 Ill.2d 260, 264-65).

People v. Dowery (1975), 62 Ill.2d 200, 206, contrary to the State's position, does not govern this case. In Dowery, this court held that, because the normal fourth amendment exclusionary rule does not apply to probation revocation proceedings, the suppression of evidence by virtue of that rule in a criminal trial did not preclude the State from seeking admission of such evidence in a subsequent probation revocation proceeding. Dowery thus did not hold that collateral estoppel did not attach to the prior finding of a fourth amendment violation. Rather, Dowery held only that even if such a violation had occurred, it was irrelevant, in the absence of a showing of "harassment." 62 Ill.2d 200, 206.

Thus, in this case, there is no question that the State has been collaterally estopped from challenging the circuit court's finding that defendant's confession was involuntary. The question remains, however, whether that involuntariness makes any difference in terms of the admissibility of that confession and its fruits at ...


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