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People v. Byrd





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS B. GARIPPO, Judge, presiding.


The defendant was arrested for armed robbery and for the murder of Allen Chester. He confessed to the crime, was found guilty and was sentenced to serve 14 years in the penitentiary. He has appealed, contending that the trial court erred in refusing to suppress his statement made to an assistant state's attorney on the grounds the statement was involuntary. We affirm.

The defendant, William Byrd, and a companion, Sharyn Nelson, were arrested at about 2:30 p.m. on December 15, 1977, because they fit the descriptions of two people wanted in connection with the homicide of Allen Chester four days earlier. Early the next morning, Delphine Nelson was also arrested. All three made formal statements; all three sought to have the statements suppressed as involuntary mainly on the grounds they had been suffering from drug withdrawal at the time they were made.

At the hearing on the motion Officer Radigan testified that he and his partner arrested the defendant at about 2:30 p.m., December 15, 1977. The defendant was transported to the police station where Officer Radigan advised him of his Miranda (Miranda v. Arizona (1966), 384 U.S. 436, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, 86 S.Ct. 1602) rights. The defendant indicated that he understood those rights. He made no statement to the officer.

Officer Hickey testified that he first saw the defendant at about 4 p.m., December 15, 1977, in an interview room at the police station. He read the defendant his rights. The defendant did not indicate that he wanted a lawyer. Defendant told him that that [murder] was not "his thing"; he was a "con man"; he did not kill people. Officer Hickey denied that either he or anyone in his presence caused any physical harm to the defendant. He also testified that he did not make any promises of leniency to the defendant.

Defendant was taken to his cell in the lockup by 5 p.m. He was there until 2:30 the next morning. Hickey did not see or talk to the defendant during that time.

Hickey next saw defendant at about 2:30 a.m., December 16, 1977, in an interview room at the station. He again read the defendant his rights. Defendant asked Hickey for "a fix." Hickey told defendant they could not oblige him. Hickey did not seek any medical aid for defendant. At that time defendant appeared alert. He was not shaking. Hickey had no knowledge of defendant's sweating. He also could not recall noticing any needlemarks on the defendant's hands or arms. Defendant did not make a second request for "a fix."

Hickey also testified that between 5 p.m. on December 15 and 2:30 a.m. on December 16 he had no occasion to bring food or drink to the defendant or see him eat or drink. He also did not know if defendant made any phone calls during that time period. He was not handcuffed during that period. At the beginning of the 2:30 a.m. conversation, Hickey informed the defendant that two of his companions who had also been arrested had made oral statements implicating him.

There was a third conversation at about 5:55 that morning, at which time defendant made his statement to the court reporter. The assistant state's attorney present read him his rights. Officer Hickey also testified that for a person to appear in court on a particular morning, the police must finish processing the person by 3 or 4 a.m.

Officer John Byrne testified that he was present during both December 16 conversations with the defendant. Defendant did not appear to be in any distress, and he did not make any complaint. Byrne did not recall defendant sniffing. He was not shaking or sweating during the 2:30 a.m. interview. Likewise Byrne did not notice anything irregular or any needlemarks or trackmarks on defendant's hands. At no time in Byrne's presence did defendant ask for "a fix."

Byrne was one of the officers who escorted defendant from the lockup to the interview room for that first morning interview. While going to the interview room defendant did not indicate to him or to anyone else that he wanted a lawyer. He was advised of his rights at both interviews. Byrne stated he did not see any water or liquid to drink in the interview room. He also did not know if defendant was advised that he was entitled to make a phone call.

Officer Davies testified that he saw the defendant on December 15 and was present at the interviews on December 16. Officer Davies did not notice whether any food was offered to the defendant in the interview room; he also did not notice if there was anything for him to drink in the interview room. Davies did not know whether defendant made any phone calls. He did not notice any trackmarks or needlemarks on defendant's hands or arms.

Officer Davies further testified that after he was arrested the defendant did not ask the witness or any other officer for an attorney. At the 2:30 a.m. interview Officer Davies advised defendant of his rights. At the second interview the assistant state's attorney advised him of his rights.

It was stipulated that assistant state's attorney Hyman read the defendant and his companions their constitutional rights before he took statements from them and that they understood those rights. It was further stipulated that they made no complaints and that in his opinion they were not ...

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