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In Re Members





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES P. PIRAGINE, Judge, presiding.


On November 12, 1975, a petition for adjudication of wardship was filed in the Juvenile Division of the circuit court of Cook County, alleging that the minor respondent, Hollis Members, was delinquent in that he had committed a robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 18-1). Respondent's motion to quash the arrest and to suppress the identification evidence was denied. In February 1976, following adjudicatory and dispositional hearings, respondent was found delinquent, adjudged a ward of the court and placed on probation for one year.

On February 14, 1976, the State petitioned for supplemental relief, alleging that respondent had violated his probation by committing the offense of attempt robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 18-1). At the conclusion of a hearing on the petition, the trial court found that respondent had violated his probation and committed him to the Department of Corrections.

Respondent appeals and first challenges the trial court's adjudication of delinquency, contending: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash the arrest and to suppress the identification evidence; (2) the trial court's order denying the motion to quash and suppress is devoid of findings of fact and conclusions of law in violation of section 114-12(e) of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 114-12(e)); (3) the State failed to prove he committed the robbery offense prior to his 17th birthday; and (4) the trial court acted arbitrarily in refusing to allow three defense witnesses to testify on the basis that they had violated an exclusion order.

Respondent also challenges the trial court's finding that he violated his probation, contending: (1) that if the adjudication of delinquency is reversed, the probation violation finding cannot stand; (2) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay testimony at the probation violation hearing; and (3) the State failed to prove he violated his probation.

We affirm the trial court.

Motion to Suppress Hearing

In connection with the State's delinquency petition, respondent filed a motion to quash the arrest and to suppress the identification evidence. At the suppression hearing, the complainant, Debra Smith, testified that on November 8, 1975, at approximately 9:45 p.m., she and her girlfriend, Kathy Carey, were walking along Parkside Street near Chicago Avenue when two boys ran up behind them. One of the boys grabbed the complainant around the neck, "held something" against her back, and said: "Hand the purse back." After the complainant failed to comply, the boy released his neckhold and jerked the purse from her grasp. As the boy began to back away, the complainant turned and looked him in the face. The two boys then fled.

The complainant immediately ran home, told her mother what had happened, and complainant's mother called the police. Shortly thereafter, a police officer arrived at the home and elicited a general description of the two offenders from the complainant. The boy who stole complainant's purse was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and 15 to 16 years old. His male companion was 5 feet 1 inch tall and 11 years old.

Later that same night, complainant saw these same two boys "[w]here one of the boys lives." She went straight to the police station and gave the police this information.

Respondent testified that on November 12, 1975, at approximately 6 p.m., he was "walking the streets" with Earl Bidell and two other friends. As they approached the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Walton Street, an unmarked police car pulled up to the curb. Two police officers emerged from the car and walked toward the three boys. One of the officers asked respondent his name. Respondent answered: "Joe Members." When the officer asked if there was a Hollis Members in the group, respondent stated "yea, that's me."

The police officers grabbed respondent and another boy, named Earl Bidell, and told them to get in the car. When respondent asked why, one of the officers replied: "For armed robbery."

The police officers drove respondent and Earl Bidell to the complainant's house. While the two boys waited in the car with one of the police officers, the second officer entered the complainant's house and returned a few seconds later. The two boys were then transported to the police station. A short time thereafter, both the complainant and her girlfriend, Kathy Carey, arrived at the station and identified respondent as the robber.

Police Officer Thomas Butterfield testified that at 4 p.m. roll call on November 12, 1975, he and his partner were informed by Investigator Jones that the respondent, Hollis Members, was named as an offender in a purse snatching. At about 6:45 p.m. that same night, Officer Butterfield and his partner were driving in the vicinity of Chicago Avenue and Walton Street when they spotted a group of boys walking down the street. The police officers parked their unmarked car and approached the boys.

Officer Butterfield asked if one of the boys in the group was named Hollis Members. The respondent replied that it was his name. The police officers also ascertained that one of the other boys in the group was named Earl Bidell and was respondent's close friend. The two youths were placed in the unmarked police car where they were informed of their Miranda rights and told that they were under investigation for a purse snatching.

The police officers then drove to the complainant's home where one of the officers informed the complainant that they had "the juveniles named" in the car. When asked if the complainant or anyone in her family walked out to the car, Officer Butterfield stated: "No, sir * * *. No, I went into the home." The police officers then transported the two boys to the station. Shortly thereafter, the complainant and Kathy Carey separately identified respondent from a lineup as the purse snatcher.

On cross-examination, Officer Butterfield testified that when he asked the respondent and Earl Bidell to get into the unmarked police car he grabbed them both by the arm. The officer was questioned further on this point:

"Would you have let him [the respondent] walk away from you at that time?

The Witness: No, I don't believe I would have."

At the close of all the evidence, the trial court denied respondent's motion to quash the arrest and to suppress the identification evidence. A hearing was then held on the delinquency petition.

Delinquency Petition Hearing

At the delinquency petition hearing, the complainant corroborated the testimony she gave at the earlier motion to suppress hearing. However, several additional facts were also disclosed. After the respondent had come up from behind and ripped the purse from complainant's grasp, the complainant turned, looked respondent in the face, and said: "Check [the purse] for money or whatever you want, but can I have the purse back and my I.D.'s." Respondent fled with the purse.

Complainant testified that she looked at respondent's face for approximately 20 seconds. While it was late at night, light was furnished by street lamps and a nearby gas station. She testified that at the time of the incident, respondent had a 3-inch "afro" and was wearing high shoes, maroon pants, and a white shirt with a diamond-shaped design on the back. Complainant identified respondent in court as the purse snatcher. She also stated that she had never seen respondent prior to the purse snatching incident.

Shortly following the robbery, the complainant's family and some friends began driving around the neighborhood searching for complainant's purse. At one point during the search, they chased two boys, who matched the description of the offenders, into a home owned by respondent's family. They knew it belonged to the Members family because the complainant's sister knew Jimmy Members, the respondent's younger brother, from school.

As the complainant sat in a car across from the Members' house, she saw the respondent and a male companion standing on the porch. She identified them as the two boys who had been involved in the robbery. The complainant and her parents then ...

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