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People v. Grigsby





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas J. Maloney, Judge, presiding.


Defendant George Grigsby was charged by information with 10 counts of armed robbery and eight counts of unlawful restraint. On October 30, 1980, a jury found defendant guilty of two counts of armed robbery and three counts of unlawful restraint. He was sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections for 16 years on each of the armed robbery convictions and three years on one conviction of unlawful restraint; all terms were to run concurrently. The trial court vacated the two remaining convictions of unlawful restraint.

Defendant appeals and contends that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence allegedly derived from an illegal search and an illegal detention. Defendant also contends that he was denied a fair trial when the prosecutor made allegedly prejudicial comments during closing arguments. For the reasons hereinafter stated, we affirm.

The following is a summary of the significant facts derived from both the trial and the suppression hearing.

April 17, 1980, at approximately 10 a.m.:

Two men, one of whom was identified at trial as defendant, entered and robbed a liquor store at 1365 West Fullerton Avenue in Chicago. The owner, Frank Reed (Reed), gave defendant approximately $2350 and a gun which was kept in the store. After turning over the money and the gun, Reed was tied up by the robbers and made to lie down on the floor. The two robbers then picked Reed up and took him to his office in the rear of the store and tried to use his keys to open the safe. Being unsuccessful in opening the safe, the two robbers brought Reed back to the store area, put him down on the floor again and left the store.

Defendant's mother and cousin testified that defendant never left his apartment on April 17 until two hours after the Fullerton store robbery took place. Defendant's mother averred that defendant had a large amount of money in his possession on April 17.

Chicago Police Officer John Sullivan initially investigated the Fullerton store robbery immediately after the robbery's occurrence. At the liquor store, Officer Sullivan was told that one of the robbers had a dark complexion. None of the descriptions received by Sullivan included a reference to pimples or a pock-marked face.

April 18, 1980, at approximately 12:30 a.m.:

Chicago Police Officers Joseph Hartford (Hartford) and John Allanson were on patrol in the vicinity of Chicago Avenue and Sedgwick in Chicago when they observed a car with no license plates. They stopped the car which contained four occupants. Defendant got out of the car on the driver's side but told Officer Hartford that he (defendant) was not the driver of the car. Defendant, however, did correctly identify himself. *fn1 Officer Hartford then arrested defendant because he failed to produce a driver's license, there were no State license plates on the car, and there was no city vehicle sticker on the car. After searching defendant for weapons, Officers Hartford and Allanson placed defendant in the back seat of the patrol car. Once the officers had searched the other occupants of the car, the officers then without his consent, searched defendant's car and found approximately $600 in currency in the unlocked glove compartment. Defendant claimed the money belonged to him, so the officers gave him the money. Possession of the car was given to one of defendant's passengers.

The officers then took defendant to the 18th District police station for processing on the traffic violations. Following normal procedures, Officer Hartford made an identification check on defendant to determine if there were any outstanding warrants against him. He discovered that there was a traffic warrant outstanding against defendant with a $3,000 bond.

Between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on April 18, 1980:

Officer Hartford telephoned several "units" to see if there had been any recent robberies because he was suspicious about the large amount of money defendant claimed as his property. Officer Hartford called "Area 6 Robbery" and told Investigator Richard Cauble (Cauble) about the circumstances of defendant's arrest. Hartford described defendant as a "Male Negro, about 160, 170 pounds" with "a pock-marked face." He also told Investigator Cauble that when the police had checked out defendant's statement as to the source of the money, the statement appeared to be false.

After his conversation with Officer Hartford, Investigator Cauble checked the "Major Robbery Board" for any recent robberies where the assailant matched defendant's description. Noticing that there had been a robbery at 1365 West Fullerton and that defendant matched one of the robber's description, i.e., "Male Negro; 25 to 30; 6 foot 1, 150 pounds; light complexion, pimples; mustache," Cauble went to the 18th District police station for further investigation.

April 18, 1980, at approximately 1:30 a.m.:

Officer Hartford asked his watch commander to fingerprint defendant for positive identification because defendant had no identification in his possession when arrested.

April 18, 1980, at approximately 2 a.m.:

Investigator Cauble arrived at the 18th District police station. He placed "hold papers" on defendant to keep him for a lineup that would take place as soon as the witnesses to the Fullerton store robbery became available. Defendant was given his Miranda warnings and questioned by Cauble as to the source of the money found in the glove compartment. Defendant claimed that the money came from two back paychecks issued by his employer, the Lake Shore Racket Ball Club (Racket Ball Club) and a bond refund check. Investigator Cauble was informed by the police, however, that the manager of the Racket Ball Club denied knowing ...

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