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People v. Bryant





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. FRANCIS J. MAHON, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Paul Bryant, was indicted for murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 9-1) and burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 19-1). After a jury trial, he was found guilty of both offenses and sentenced to 6 2/3 to 20 years for burglary and 500 to 1500 years for murder, the sentences to be served consecutively. Defendant raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the delay in taking him before a judge on approved charges at the first scheduled court date contributed to an involuntary confession; (2) whether the trial court's rulings on the use of prior convictions to impeach him and his offer of proof deprived him of his constitutional right to present a defense, and whether this combination of errors requires reversal; and (3) whether his sentence for murder was excessive and vindictive.

We affirm.

Testimony at the hearing to suppress statements made by defendant established the following.

James Jones, James Biebel and Michael Atkins, investigators for the Chicago police department, arrested defendant Bryant on August 9, 1979, at about 5:15 a.m. in the area of 535 West Addison Street, in Chicago. Jones advised defendant of his right to remain silent. Defendant was driven to an address on North Pine Grove where he was identified by a rape victim as her assailant.

Defendant was then taken to police headquarters. While in the police car, Jones gave defendant Miranda warnings by reading from a preprinted card. After reading each right, Jones asked defendant whether he understood the right, and defendant said that he did. Defendant was taken to an interview room and handcuffed to a security hook on the wall. Jones and Biebel talked with defendant for approximately 2 hours.

At about 9 a.m., one of the policemen contacted the State's Attorney's felony review section. At 10 a.m., an assistant State's Attorney, Michael Robbins, came to the station and advised defendant of his constitutional rights. Robbins did not observe any physical injuries on defendant nor did he observe anyone strike, abuse, make a promise to, or threaten defendant. When asked by Robbins whether anyone had threatened or mistreated him, defendant said no one had.

Between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., defendant was placed in several lineups. That afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30, Jones and Biebel talked with defendant. At 5 p.m., Jones, Biebel and Atkins took defendant to a restaurant for dinner. They also drove defendant to places, which he wanted to point out to them, where he had committed other crimes. The officers returned defendant to the interview room about 8 p.m. when he was allowed to see his stepfather and other members of his family. At 10:30 p.m., defendant was taken to the lockup.

At 12:30 p.m. on August 10, 1979, defendant was returned to the interview room. Jones gave defendant Miranda warnings, reading from a preprinted card. Officers Jones and Biebel talked with defendant for about 2 hours. At 5:30 p.m., defendant was introduced to homicide investigators John Philbin and Thomas Stevens. Philbin read Miranda warnings to defendant. The officers' conversation with defendant lasted approximately 1 1/2 hours after which the officers left to eat. When they returned around 8 p.m., they brought food for defendant. Members of defendant's family again visited with him for 2 hours.

At 10 p.m., defendant stated that he wished to continue to tell the police about the crimes he had committed. Defendant was taken to two addresses on North Kenmore and then returned to the interview room where he was again advised of his constitutional rights. Defendant said that he was still willing to talk. Investigator Philbin called the felony review section of the State's Attorney's office and Nicholas Faklis, an assistant State's Attorney, came to police headquarters. At about 1 a.m. on August 11, 1979, Faklis gave Miranda warnings to defendant and summoned a court reporter. In the presence of the court reporter, Investigators Jones and Philbin, and assistant State's Attorney Faklis, defendant made two statements. Before each statement, defendant was given Miranda warnings. Defendant read each statement and signed them.

The police officers testified that they did not see anyone strike defendant nor did they themselves strike him. No threats, promises or misrepresentations were made to defendant, and there was no mention made of psychiatrists. Faklis testified that he observed no mistreatment, heard no promises, threats or mention of psychiatrists.

A police report indicated that defendant was scheduled to go to court on August 10, 1979, at 11 a.m. but that the police put a "hold" on defendant because he had informed them of numerous serious crimes he had committed. During the evening of August 9, accompanied by policemen, defendant pointed out places where he had committed those crimes.

At the hearing, defendant said that on the way to the police station he was told to keep his mouth shut. He did not remember seeing assistant State's Attorney Robbins on the morning of August 9. He saw his stepfather for 30 minutes and told him he wanted a lawyer. Later, defendant also saw his girlfriend and their son. When defendant was taken back to the interview room after appearing in lineups, Officer Biebel came in with a folder containing photographs of a dead person. Biebel said that sooner or later defendant would have to tell the truth and that defendant would get psychiatric help if he cooperated. Defendant was told he would "get no more than 2 or 3 years in a mental institution."

According to defendant, Officer Biebel threatened, slapped, and kicked him while Officer Jones was out of the room. Biebel also promised to secure help for defendant if defendant would cooperate. When Biebel left the room, Jones would come in and tell defendant he "could keep Biebel off" defendant only if defendant ...

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