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People v. Sanchez

OPINION FILED JUNE 4, 1982.

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

v.

ANGELO SANCHEZ, A/K/A ANGEL SANCHEZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. CROWLEY, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WILSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied July 21, 1982.

Following a jury trial, defendant Angel Sanchez was found guilty of murder, felony murder, and armed robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 9-1, 18-2.) He was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment for murder and 30 years for armed robbery, both sentences to run concurrently. On appeal he argues that (1) his arrest was illegal because it lacked probable cause and therefore all evidence seized from his person and apartment should have been suppressed; (2) the consent to search form he signed was not voluntarily executed because of his inability to understand English; and (3) his right to a fair trial was unduly prejudiced by the prosecution's inflammatory comments during closing arguments. We affirm.

On April 26, 1978, Linda Tremaine's corpse was discovered in her apartment on North Sheridan Road in Chicago. Defendant Angel Sanchez was arrested on April 27, 1978, at 10 p.m. and charged with felony murder, murder, and armed robbery.

Defense counsel filed two motions to suppress on May 16, 1979. One motion was to suppress illegally seized evidence and the other motion was to suppress Angel Sanchez' statement pertaining to the crime.

Motion to Suppress Evidence

On June 21, 1979, the trial court heard evidence and arguments on defendant's first motion. The following testimony was given.

Investigator Chris Grogman of the Chicago Police Department was the first witness called by the defense. He testified that when he arrested defendant at 2452 West Belmont at 10 p.m. on April 27, 1978, he had no warrant and defendant was not acting in violation of any statutes. Grogman also admitted that certain items of property were taken from Sanchez and from his home after his arrest.

The State then called Investigator Grogman as its witness. He had been assigned to the Tremaine case at 8:30 p.m. on April 26, 1978. First he went to the victim's apartment and viewed the body and the premises. The apartment was in total disarray. The victim was nude and partially covered with a sheet on the bed. She had been stabbed numerous times in the chest and a telephone cord was wrapped around her neck. A knife was on the floor next to the bed. A saucer with red wine in it was also next to the bed. Fingerprints were taken from the scene.

After they left the apartment, Grogman and his partner, Investigator John Durkin, spoke with Linda Turney at 8 p.m. on April 27. She told them that she had observed Linda Tremaine with Angel Sanchez during the late evening hours of April 25, 1978, at the Peanut Barrel Tavern near Sheridan and Leland. Turney saw that defendant was accompanied by four male Latinos, but he left the bar with Linda alone. Linda Turney identified defendant by name. She also told Grogman that she saw the deceased with defendant at 2 a.m. on April 26 at the Paradise Lounge, which is located in the same building as Linda Tremaine's apartment at 4826 North Sheridan.

Grogman and his partner next interviewed Cindy Madison, an employee of the Paradise Lounge. They spoke to her at 9:15 p.m. on April 27, 1978. She said that when Linda Tremaine's male companion attempted to buy wine, Madison would not sell it to him because he had no identification. Linda Tremaine then paid for the wine and gave it to him. Cindy Madison gave the investigators a general description of the man who had accompanied Linda Tremaine but did not know his name.

Investigator Grogman further testified that after he had talked to Cindy Madison, he returned to the Peanut Barrel, where Linda Turney came up and pointed out a man who stood nearby at the corner of Sheridan and Leland. She said "That's Angel Sanchez." Grogman walked over to the man, identified himself as a police officer and asked his name. He replied, "Angelo Sanchez." Grogman asked him for identification, which he did not have, and then told him he was investigating a murder and would like to talk to him further. Sanchez was wearing a woman's wristwatch and ring, later identified as belonging to Linda Tremaine.

Subsequently, Grogman and his partner read him the Miranda warnings and took him to the police station. Sanchez told Grogman that he understood his constitutional rights before agreeing to answer some questions.

During cross-examination, Grogman testified that when he first visited Tremaine's apartment, before apprehending the defendant, he did not know who had been in the apartment during the murder. At the time of Sanchez' arrest the police were not yet aware that fingerprints lifted at the murder site belonged to defendant.

On June 22, 1979, Investigator Thomas Stevens testified for the prosecution. He had been assigned to the case on April 28, 1978. Stevens identified a "permission to search" form which had been signed by Angelo Sanchez, Tony Torrez, and Investigator Walter Kline. Stevens testified that Sanchez read the form and indicated that he understood. Afterward, Torrez, a civilian detention aide, orally translated the form into Spanish and defendant reiterated that he understood it before signing. Torrez went off duty and another Spanish-speaking civilian aide, Alicia Rivera, wrote a summary of the consent form in Spanish. Sanchez read and signed the summary, which gave the police permission to enter his apartment. Stevens then went to defendant's apartment and removed some items. He also testified that he and defendant had spoken in English.

On cross-examination Officer Stevens testified that he and his partner decided to use interpreters. Stevens did not understand Spanish or know what Torrez said to defendant.

The final witness to appear for the motion to suppress evidence was defendant, who spoke through an interpreter. *fn1 According to Sanchez, he was arrested by two officers who only asked him if his name was "Richard." He said his name was Angel Sanchez and was handcuffed, put in a squad car and taken to "a big building" where police officers asked him questions. He said he was not informed of his right to remain silent or to have a lawyer present. He further testified that he was not allowed to sleep, nor was he given food or water from the night he was arrested until the morning of his second day in the lockup.

Defendant further testified that he signed the consent form because he was told that he could not go home if he did not sign it. He did not understand it because it was in English. As to the interpreters, Sanchez testified that he did not understand them because he spoke "different" Spanish than they did. Defendant further stated that he had been in the United States for approximately two years at the time of his arrest and did not speak English at work because his boss speaks Spanish.

On cross-examination Sanchez read the Spanish summary of the consent form. He said that he understood the summary as giving police permission to search his apartment and he knowingly signed it, although he said he was not told that anything would be taken from his apartment. He also said he did not know that he had the right to refuse to sign the documents.

Following Sanchez' testimony and counsels' arguments the court ruled that the police officers had probable cause to take defendant into custody and remove items from his person and that defendant freely and knowingly consented to the search of his home. ...


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