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People v. Hall

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 1, 1980.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

FREEMAN HALL ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PAUL A. O'MALLEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a jury trial, Freeman Hall and Louis Walker were found guilty of burglary and sentenced to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendants appeal.

On appeal, Hall and Walker argue that (1) the trial court erred in denying defendants' motion to quash the arrests and suppress the evidence, and (2) the court erred in admitting hearsay evidence.

We affirm.

At the hearing on defendants' motion to quash the arrests and suppress the evidence, Officer Terence Hart testified that he and his partner went to 1421 West Farwell after receiving a radio dispatch regarding two suspicious persons at that address. The officers entered the front foyer of the building, and through the locked door to the hallway, saw defendants enter the hall from a door at the opposite end. Hart motioned to defendants to come to the foyer and stopped them because they fit the descriptions of the persons in the police radio call.

Upon questioning by Officer Hart, defendants gave their names and addresses. One of the defendants stated that they were in the building seeking employment. After noticing that the name on one of the apartment bells was Hall, Hart asked Hall if he was related to the tenant. Hall responded that the tenant was his sister and that they were visiting her. Walker repeatedly nudged Hall as he spoke and finally said, "Shut up, dummy."

Investigator Sullivan, who had met Hart and his partner in front of the building, arrived at the foyer with Gordon Berg, the maintenance man. Berg identified defendants as the persons he had seen in the basement. After searching Hall, Sullivan recovered a set of keys which Berg identified. Defendants were subsequently arrested.

At trial, Gordon Berg testified that the basement and front and rear entrances were locked at all times. Tenants did not have keys to the basement. A locked room in the basement contained keys to all of the apartments. On each key was a white tag indicating the building address and apartment number.

While working in the building on the day in question, Berg saw defendants attempting to enter apartment 209. He knew they were not tenants and questioned their presence in the building. Defendants replied that they were looking for a friend and had the wrong apartment. Their friend lived in apartment 203. However, Berg knew the 80-year-old woman who lived in 203. Over defendants' objection, Berg testified that after defendants knocked on apartment 203's door, the tenant stated, "You don't belong here. Get away from my door. I don't know who you are."

Berg then called the police and reported suspicious persons in the building. He described them as two black men, approximately 6'1" tall. One was wearing a blue trench coat, the other a green one.

Berg next saw defendants in the basement. The door to the basement which was normally locked, was unlocked. Defendants told Berg that someone in the building had work for them. Berg further testified that he hired all persons who worked in the building and that he had not indicated by advertisements or signs that he was hiring.

When Investigator Sullivan arrived, he and Berg went to the basement where they found the keyroom door open. The door had been locked prior to this time. The only other person besides Berg to have a key to the room was not working in the building that day. When Sullivan later searched Hall, he recovered keys labeled 1421 West Farwell, apartment 201.

Paul Haisch testified that in the course of installing a phone in the building, he went into the basement and saw the keyroom unlocked. On prior occasions, the door was always locked. He saw defendants leave apartment 201 and then spoke to them. Defendants reentered apartment 201 using a key with a white tag, but left immediately after entering.

Laura Metcalf testified that she resided at 1421 West Farwell apartment 201, on the day in question. She did not know defendants, did not give them permission to enter the apartment, and did not offer them employment. Oscar Zeff, the manager and part owner of the building, testified that he did not give defendants permission to enter the building. He also confirmed Berg's testimony regarding the ...


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