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People v. Rembert





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HOWARD M. MILLER, Judge, presiding.


The State has appealed from an order granting the motions of Melvin Rembert (defendant) to quash his arrest and suppress physical evidence, oral statements and a lineup identification. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 110A, par. 604 (a) (1).

Defendant was charged in an information with armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 18-2), burglary (par. 19-1) and armed violence (par. 33A-2). On February 7, 1979, defendant filed three written motions to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, to suppress defendant's statements and to suppress lineup identification testimony. This evidence was heard:

Joseph Mirus, an investigator for the Chicago Police Department, testified that on July 11, 1978, at 3:30 p.m., he received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as "Louisiana Slim." Mirus did not know Louisiana Slim personally but he had spoken with him by telephone on one previous occasion. Louisiana Slim told Mirus he had information about a robbery at the Mark Twain Hotel. This robbery had in fact occurred at 7 o`clock on the previous night. The informant also stated one of the robbers was in police custody and the other "taller" robber was now in apartment 406 at 1166 North Dearborn. Louisiana Slim said he did not want to come to the police station and did not ask to be paid for this information. Mirus told Sergeant Finnin about this conversation.

Sergeant Finnin testified he had been assigned to the investigation of the robbery. At the time he spoke to Investigator Mirus, one of the two suspects was in custody. A lineup had been set for 6 p.m. that day. A description of the second suspect was contained in the police report. Finnin discussed the case with Investigator Winkie. Finnin showed Winkie the report and gave him the description of the second offender from the report. The description was of a male Negro, 25 years old, 6 feet 1 inch in height, 180 pounds. Items taken in the robbery were some rings, a gold Seiko watch and $200.

Finnin and Winkie then went to 1166 North Dearborn. They had no warrant. Finnin stated he had been in this building on a previous occasion and he knew there were no fire escapes from the individual apartments. The officers proceeded immediately to appartment 406. Winkie heard noises in the apartment. The officers knocked on the door, announced their office and asked to speak to the occupants. There was no response. The officers continued to knock on the door for 15 minutes. There was still no response. Finnin stayed at the door of the apartment while Winkie went to get the janitor. Winkie returned 10 to 15 minutes later with the janitor, who had a pass key.

The janitor told the officers he did not know who lived in the apartment. When the officers asked him if a male Negro over 6 feet tall and 170 to 180 pounds lived there, the janitor "said he thought so." Finnin and the janitor could not open the door to the apartment with the pass key. Finnin continued intermittent knocks on the door. Winkie looked through a crack between the wall and "small icebox door just off the floor." He could see the interior of the apartment through the crack. After being outside the door for 45 minutes, Winkie saw a male Negro, about 25, approximately 6 feet tall, run across the apartment. Winkie yelled, "I see the guy in there. He is in there."

Finnin sent the janitor to call the police station for assistance and then he kicked the door in. Finnin and Winkie entered the apartment with guns drawn. Finnin apprehended two people in the apartment and Winkie arrested defendant. The officers, with assistance from two other policemen who responded to the janitor's call, searched and handcuffed the three occupants. Finnin questioned these people but did not search the apartment. He did not observe "in view" any articles taken in the Mark Twain robbery.

Winkie testified he searched the apartment but did not go into any drawers. He observed on top of a drawer and seized a watch which matched the description of the stolen Seiko watch.

Investigator Robert Royce testified he was assigned to investigate the robbery at the Mark Twain Hotel shortly after it happened on July 10, 1978. Royce interviewed the victim of the robbery. She provided the description of her assailants which was later available to Officer Finnin and Investigator Winkie. The next day at 4:30 p.m., July 11, 1978, Royce saw defendant at headquarters when Finnin and Winkie brought him into the station. At 7:45 p.m., Royce conducted a lineup which the victim and another woman observed separately. Royce did not show a picture of defendant to these witnesses prior to the lineup. He did not tell the women the robber was in the lineup.

Royce then spoke to defendant in a room at the police station. Defendant was handcuffed pursuant to police procedure. Royce first advised defendant of his Miranda rights. Defendant stated he understood his rights. Royce informed defendant he had been identified in the lineup and asked him if he had anything to say about the robbery. The conversation lasted 25 minutes, during which time defendant made a statement to Royce.

Rebecca Jane Davidson, an assistant State's Attorney, testified she interviewed defendant in the presence of Investigator Ralph Sikorski at 8 o'clock that evening. She introduced herself, informed defendant who she was and that she worked with the police. She advised defendant of his rights, which defendant stated he understood. Subsequently defendant made a statement to her. These statements made by defendant are not in the evidence before us.

Evidence on all motions was heard on February 7, 1979. Argument of counsel was heard on February 8, 1979. On February 9, the trial court stated he would grant defendant's motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence seized from the apartment. The judge stated he was denying the motions to suppress the lineup identification and the oral statements by defendant because the lineup was not suggestive and the statements were voluntarily made. However, after further argument, the trial judge stated he would "reserve ruling" on the identification and the statements.

On February 13, 1979, the trial judge held the lineup identification and the statements were suppressed as the product of the illegal arrest. The trial judge expressly excluded any in-court identification from this ruling. On March 14, 1979, the State filed its notice of appeal. The notice of appeal designated ...

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