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People v. Henderson

OPINION FILED APRIL 23, 1981.

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

v.

RONALD HENDERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT J. SULSKI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

At the conclusion of a jury trial, defendant, Ronald Henderson, was found guilty of armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 18-2). He was sentenced to a term of 12 years.

On appeal, defendant contends: (1) the police lacked probable cause to arrest him; and (2) assuming the police had probable cause, no exigent circumstances existed for the police to arrest him in his home without a warrant.

We affirm.

From the evidence presented at a preliminary hearing concerning defendant's arrest, the trial court could have found the following facts to exist.

On October 4, 1976, a homicide investigator, Michael Fleming, was carrying on a continuous investigation into a homicide that had occurred during an attempted armed robbery in a tavern on the west side of Chicago. (This attempted robbery was not the offense for which defendant was convicted in this case.)

On October 4, Fleming met with an unidentified informer in the general neighborhood in which the homicide had occurred. Fleming had never met or used this informer before this meeting. Upon questioning, the informer told Fleming he knew of a "stick-up crew" that had been involved in a series of recent armed robberies in the neighborhood. He said he knew the members of the "stick-up crew" personally and one of them had told him the "stick-up crew" had been involved in the incident Fleming was investigating. He said he had been told that a patron had been shot in the incident and the perpetrators had failed to gain any proceeds from that crime. This information verified Fleming's knowledge of the facts of the incident. The informer told Fleming the names of five individuals who were members of the "stick-up crew." Included among the individuals named were defendant, Sam Willis, and James Dean.

The informer told Fleming that defendant lived in an apartment located in an apartment complex containing at least 100 units. The informer told Fleming the address of the apartment complex but did not tell him in which apartment defendant lived.

The informer also told Fleming that one of the members of the crew had told him about a recent robbery of a tavern located on North Cicero Avenue several blocks north of Madison Street. (This also was not the robbery for which defendant was convicted in this case.) The informer said that he knew a chrome revolver had been taken in that robbery, and he had recently seen this revolver in defendant's apartment.

On the next day, October 5, Fleming met with the informer again at the police station. At this time, Fleming had a crime analysis pattern report which had been prepared by the police robbery division. This report listed the results of investigations into three recent armed robberies of taverns. Included in the report was the robbery mentioned by the informer which occurred on North Cicero, and a robbery which had occurred on September 30, 1976, in the 3800 block of West Huron. (This latter robbery is the one for which defendant was convicted in this case.)

The report also contained a general description of the robbers involved in each incident. Fleming elicited from the informer descriptions of the five individuals who were members of the "stick-up crew." It appears that the descriptions given by the informer generally matched the descriptions in the report.

At 1 a.m. on October 6, Fleming arrested James Dean, one of the individuals whose name had been given to Fleming by the informer. Dean, who was arrested on a public sidewalk, denied any involvement in any crime. However, Dean told Fleming the apartment number in which defendant lived and told Fleming that Sam Willis, another individual mentioned by the informer, also lived there.

While Dean was being transported to the police station by another officer, Fleming proceeded to the location of defendant's apartment. Outside, he was met by two other police officers. One officer went around to the rear entrance to the apartment while Fleming and the other officer went to the front door. Fleming knocked and a person inside asked who was there. Fleming said it was the police and the door was then opened by defendant.

As the door opened, Fleming looked into the apartment and saw Willis eight feet away sitting on a couch. At that moment, Fleming saw Willis raise up his arm. Willis was holding a chrome revolver in his hand. Apparently, as Fleming rushed in through the doorway, Willis threw the revolver out a nearby window. ...


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