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People v. Levendoski

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 30, 1981.

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

v.

GREG P. LEVENDOSKI, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. ANGELO F. PISTILLI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied October 30, 1981.

This is an appeal by the State from a judgment of the circuit court of Will County suppressing confessions of the defendant, Greg Levendoski. On June 4, 1980, the defendant was indicted for armed robbery. On September 8, 1980, the defendant moved to suppress his confession. Following a hearing, the defendant's motion was granted and the State appeals.

At the hearing three witnesses testified for the State. James Montesanto, a detective employed by the Du Page County sheriff, was the State's first witness. Montesanto testified that on the morning of May 14, 1980, a Du Page County jailer came to the detective bureau and said that an inmate wished to talk to a detective. Montesanto went to the prisoner section of the jail complex and the defendant was brought to him. Montesanto asked what the defendant wished to talk about and the defendant said an armed robbery. Montesanto asked for more details, and the defendant replied that it took place at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Bolingbrook. Montesanto determined that it was outside his jurisdiction and told the defendant that he would contact the Bolingbrook police department. The defendant agreed that Montesanto should do so. When Montesanto asked the defendant why he was disclosing the information, the defendant replied that he had a drug problem that he wanted to straighten out and that he wanted to get back in the army. Following the conversation, the defendant was returned to his cell. Montesanto denied that he had any conversation with the defendant regarding a "deal." The defendant returned to his cell and Montesanto called the Bolingbrook police department and requested the two officers for whom the defendant had asked.

One of the two officers was Detective Wilkerson, who was the second witness for the State. Wilkerson testified as follows. On May 14, he and Detective Ranum went to the Du Page County jail. Prior to speaking with the defendant, they talked with Montesanto. Montesanto told them he had spoken with the defendant earlier and that, in his opinion, the defendant wanted to make a deal. Montesanto also told them that he had not discussed any deals with the defendant nor made any promises to him.

Wilkerson, Ranum and Montesanto then went to see the defendant. The defendant was taken to a small interview room, and Montesanto left. Wilkerson told the defendant that he understood the defendant wanted to talk to them, and the defendant replied that he did. Wilkerson then read the defendant his Miranda rights, and the defendant said that he understood these rights. The defendant then was asked if he had been promised anything prior to talking to Wilkerson and the defendant stated he had not. The defendant's replies to these questions were written on a form, and the defendant initialed his responses on the form.

After completing the form, Wilkerson told the defendant that he understood that the defendant wanted to discuss the armed robbery. The defendant replied that he did and proceeded to state the part he had played in it. The defendant also discussed his drug problem with Wilkerson. He told Wilkerson he was not addicted but was afraid he might become addicted. The defendant asked what was going to happen to him, and Wilkerson informed him that armed robbery was a nonprobationable, Class X felony with a minimum sentence of six years and a maximum sentence of 30 years. The defendant stated he might be able to get drug treatment in prison, and Wilkerson told him the adult program did not have the same programs available as the juvenile system.

Wilkerson then said he wished to return to the facts of the robbery, and the defendant consented to let Wilkerson tape record his statement about the armed robbery. The tape was admitted into evidence and was played. On the tape, the defendant stated that he understood his Miranda warnings, repeated the story of the armed robbery, and denied that anyone had promised him anything. The defendant also stated his confession was voluntary, without coercion, threats or promises.

Detective Ranum of the Bolingbrook Police Department was the State's final witness. He testified that on May 14, 1980, he accompanied Wilkerson to interview the defendant. His testimony was substantially the same as Wilkerson's.

After Ranum's testimony, defense counsel orally expanded his motion to suppress to include the defendant's statement to Montesanto on the basis that the defendant was not advised of his Miranda warnings prior to talking to Montesanto. The defendant then testified on his own behalf. He testified that on May 14, 1980, he was incarcerated at the Du Page County jail. He told the jailer he would like to turn State's evidence on an armed robbery. The jailer took him to see Montesanto, and the defendant told Montesanto he would like to turn State's evidence in the armed robbery. The defendant testified he told Montesanto he would like immunity or probation, and Montesanto told him it was not his jurisdiction but that he would contact the Bolingbrook Police Department.

Approximately 45 minutes later Wilkerson and Ranum came to the jail. The defendant testified that he was taken to an interrogation room where Wilkerson agreed to try to work a deal out for the defendant. Defendant testified that he signed the questionnaire indicating no promises had been made because Wilkerson told him it would be best to do so. He further testified he was never told that armed robbery was a Class X felony with a minimum mandatory sentence of six years. He thought he would get probation and drug treatment.

Five days later the defendant's custody was transferred to the Bolingbrook Police Department. The next day he was brought to the Will County courthouse by Wilkerson. When he appeared in court, he told the judge he wanted to plead guilty and get it over with, meaning get probation and drug treatment. The judge to whom the case was referred refused to accept the defendant's plea without counsel. Thereafter, a suppression motion was filed and heard by a different judge.

After the testimony of another witness, the defense rested. The State had two rebuttal witnesses. Following lengthy oral arguments by counsel, the judge held that both the confession to Montesanto and the confession to Wilkerson should be suppressed.

On appeal, the State raises two issues: (1) whether or not the judge erred in suppressing the defendant's statement to Montesanto; and (2) whether or not the judge erred in suppressing the defendant's ...


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