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People v. Metoxen

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 3, 1983.

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

v.

SHIRLEY METOXEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Fred G. Suria, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied December 7, 1984.

Defendant, Shirley Metoxen, appeals her convictions for murder, home invasion and burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a), 12-11(a)(2), 19-1(a)). After a jury trial, she was sentenced to a term of 38 years for murder, and concurrent terms of 10 years for home invasion and seven years for burglary. Defendant appeals and raises the following issues for review: (1) whether the trial court committed reversible error when it failed to suppress an inculpatory statement she made during a custodial interrogation and (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing her to 38 years in the penitentiary.

We affirm.

On February 10, 1980, Clarence McShane was killed. Defendant Metoxen and Peter Denning were charged with his murder.

On November 13, 1980, a hearing was held on defendant's motion to suppress statement. Jasper Romano, a Chicago policeman, testified that on February 10, 1980, at 11:25 p.m., he was at 4735 North Malden in Chicago, Illinois. He arrested defendant Metoxen and advised her of her Miranda rights. She responded, "We don't do that in there." She appeared to have been drinking.

Other officers took defendant to the police station. Romano saw defendant again around midnight and re-advised her of her rights. She said, "I know my rights," and swore at Romano and other police personnel. According to Romano, defendant never said she did not want to talk without a lawyer, she never requested a lawyer, and no one told her that she had been implicated in the homicide of Clarence McShane, that her confession would result in leniency, or that police would intercede on her behalf. Nick Stasibopoulos, a Chicago policeman, corroborated Romano's testimony.

Samuel Greiner, a Chicago policeman and homicide investigator, talked with defendant at 1 a.m. on February 11, 1980, after advising her of her Miranda rights. Defendant said she understood her rights. She was alert and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Investigator Hart McQuinn was also present. Between 3 and 4 a.m., an attorney, whose name Greiner did not know, spoke with Denning and then with Metoxen. Later the attorney told Greiner that he would represent Denning but not Metoxen. Hart McQuinn corroborated Greiner's testimony.

At 3:30 p.m. on February 11, 1980, Greiner was present when Assistant State's Attorney Elaine Geer had a conversation with defendant. Geer first advised defendant of her rights, which she said she understood. Defendant appeared to be alert and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to Greiner, during the 1 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. conversations, defendant never said she wanted a lawyer or wanted to remain silent. She was not told that she had been implicated in the homicide of McShane, that confession would result in leniency, or that the police would intercede on her behalf.

Elaine Geer, an assistant State's Attorney, corroborated Greiner's account of her afternoon meeting with defendant.

Thomas Keane, a Chicago policeman, investigated the McShane homicide. At 7:30 p.m. on February 11, 1980, he had a conversation with defendant after advising her of her Miranda rights, which she said she understood. Keane was present during another conversation with defendant at 9:30 p.m. Also present were police officer Kenneth Spink and Assistant State's Attorney Schulgasser. Again, defendant was advised of her Miranda rights, which she said she understood. During both conversations, defendant made no complaints. She did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She did not ask for a lawyer or say that she had previously asked for a lawyer. She did not say she wished to remain silent or say she had previously asked to remain silent. Nothing was said to induce defendant to confess. Keane's testimony was corroborated by Kenneth Spink.

Henry Schulgasser, an assistant State's Attorney, corroborated Keane's account of the 9:30 p.m. conversation with defendant. During that conversation, Schulgasser told defendant that he knew an attorney had been to see her. He asked her whether that attorney was representing her. She responded that he was not, that she did not know where he was from, and that she did not need an attorney.

Schulgasser, Spink, Keane and a court reporter were present during a conversation with defendant at 10:15 p.m. on February 11, 1980. When advised of her rights, defendant said she understood. In response to the question, "Have you requested a lawyer at any time?" defendant said, "Before I did, but they would not give me one." After the court reporter typed the statement, defendant read, initialed and signed it.

After the State rested, the defense called Thomas Prendergast as its first witness. Prendergast, an attorney, testified that he was informed about the McShane homicide on the morning of February 11, 1980. He arrived at the police station at Belmont and Western at 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon. He spoke to Denning and Metoxen, told them not to answer any questions and to ask for an attorney if questioned, and informed the police that he had so advised the suspects. Prendergast also told the police that he was going to represent Denning and possibly Metoxen. He discussed fees with Denning's family but not Metoxen because she had no money.

On cross-examination, Prendergast said that Metoxen asked, "Will you represent me?" He said, "Yes, but there may be a conflict. If there is, of course, I won't be able to represent both of you." Prendergast admitted that he never made any court appearances on behalf of either "client" because Denning's family was unable to pay. Prendergast also stated that he ...


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