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People v. Keath

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 6, 1981.

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

v.

STEVEN ALLEN KEATH, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. JAMES A. KNECHT, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE TRAPP DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The prosecution appeals from the order of the trial court which suppressed evidence in the form of various controlled substances seized during the "booking procedures" at the county jail following defendant's arrest upon the authority of a valid warrant.

The initial issue concerns the jurisdiction of this court within the context of Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (73 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1)) as developed in People v. Young (1980), 82 Ill.2d 234, 412 N.E.2d 501.

On April 28, 1980, defendant filed a written motion to suppress evidence alleged to be in violation of his rights under the fourth amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and section 6 of article I of the Constitution of Illinois. At a hearing on October 23, 1980, the trial court ordered the evidence suppressed following his statement into the record of findings of fact and conclusions of law.

At the same time the court stated into the record that he would "not contemplate filing any written order unless the People indicate a desire to appeal. If they do, I will prepare a written order." The State's Attorney responded that he would advise the court on that day, but his response does not appear in the record, and no written order was prepared by the trial judge. The prosecution filed a notice of appeal on October 31, 1980.

On April 20, 1981, the prosecution filed, in this court, a certificate that the order of suppression substantially impaired its ability to prosecute the case. On the same date the State's Attorney filed, in the circuit court, a written order of that date memorializing the judge's oral ruling of October 23 signed by the trial judge. A notice of appeal from that order was filed on April 20. The latter appeal is docketed in this court as our No. 17140. Neither record suggests that a certificate as required in People v. Young (1980), 82 Ill.2d 234, 412 N.E.2d 501, was presented to the trial court before either notice of appeal was filed in the circuit court.

Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) states that in criminal cases the State may appeal from an order or judgment suppressing evidence. The trial court's order at issue had the effect of suppressing evidence upon the constitutional grounds of illegal search as distinguished from evidence excluded for statutory reasons, or under the rules of evidence.

• 1, 2 We consider this record in the context of the colloquy concerning the entry of a written order by the trial court. Section 114-12(e) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 114-12(e)) provides:

"The order or judgment granting or denying the motion shall state the findings of facts and conclusions of law upon which the order or judgment is based."

The language of the statute does not state that a written order of suppression is required. As noted, the court stated findings of facts and conclusions of law into the report of the proceedings of the hearing, and thus effectively complied with the purposes of the statutory provision.

The trial court minute in the docket stated "Motion to suppress allowed. See the common law record." There was no express direction that a written judgment order be prepared and filed. The colloquy of the court with the State's Attorney and the contents of his minute suggest that the trial judge did not deem a written order to be required unless requested for the purposes of appeal.

In People v. Deaton (1974), 16 Ill. App.3d 748, 306 N.E.2d 695, and People v. Eddington (1978), 64 Ill. App.3d 650, 381 N.E.2d 835, the respective courts> did not have occasion to discuss the requirement of section 114-12(e) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 114-12(e)) in the context of a statement into the record of proceedings of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In the absence of such consideration, it appears to have been assumed that the statute required that a written order be prepared. It is reasonable to conclude here that the trial court was acting upon that assumption. It is unnecessary to review those opinions where a written order was expressly required in the announcement of the court.

In People v. Young (1980), 82 Ill.2d 234, 412 N.E.2d 501, the supreme court further examined its constitutional authority to define the scope and the procedures for interlocutory appeals in criminal cases, saying:

"We hold, therefore, that Rule 604(a)(1) allows an interlocutory appeal by the State of a pretrial suppression order whenever the prosecutor certifies to the trial court that the suppression substantially impairs the State's ability to prosecute the case. Our intention in requiring this certification is not to formulate a standard by which courts> may determine the appealability of a particular order." 82 Ill.2d 234, 247, 412 N.E.2d 501, 507.

• 3 As we read that opinion, the rationale for requiring certification by the State's Attorney is that the procedure of certification will in itself serve to deter improvident interlocutory appeals taken as an incident of courtroom tensions and the hurly-burly of advocacy. The merits of such determination by the prosecutor are not a matter for the trial court's consideration.

The opinion in Young makes the requirement of certification applicable immediately, but waives certification as to "any case currently in the appellate process." The opinion was announced on October 17, 1980, the order filed in this cause was entered on October 23, 1980, and the notice of appeal was filed October 31, 1980. As a practical matter, this appeal may be said to fall between the interstices of the requirement announced ...


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