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People v. Santana

OPINION FILED JANUARY 27, 1984.

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

v.

TRACY SANTANA, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. C. Andrew Hayton, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE NASH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The State appeals from an order of the circuit court of Du Page County granting a motion by defendant, Tracy Santana, to quash his arrest and suppress all evidence of his conduct after the warrantless entry of defendant's apartment by police officers.

Defendant was arrested on June 26, 1982, and charged with the offenses of resisting a peace officer (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 31-1) and battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-3). He filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress "all statements and reports of gestures and responses by defendant during the detention which followed the arrest" together with all other "knowledge and the fruit thereof which is the direct or indirect product of the arrest." After a hearing, the trial court granted defendant's motion and the State appeals, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (87 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1)), after filing its certificate of impairment.

Officers William Andrewski and Edward Krause and Sergeant Carl Schnibben of the village of Woodridge police department testified that at 2:50 a.m. on June 26, 1982, they received a radio dispatch advising there was a domestic disturbance with a woman hurt and a possible weapon involved at 8111 Route 53, apartment 24. The officers, who were in uniform, went to the third floor of the building at that address and learned there was no apartment 24. They then called the dispatcher by radio for confirmation, subsequently learning the correct apartment number was 21 and that the call had come from that apartment. While waiting for the dispatcher's call, the officers heard sounds of a dish breaking, a baby crying and an argument coming from apartment 21. Officer Andrewski approached the door of the apartment and noticed damage to its frame, as though a locked door had been kicked in. Sergeant Schnibben testified he observed a footprint on the door. The officers then knocked on the door and twice announced they were police officers.

Defendant opened the door of his apartment and Sergeant Schnibben inquired whether there was a problem. The officers described defendant as looking wild-eyed and extremely agitated and they noticed blood on his hand and on the face and blouse of a woman behind him who appeared to have been crying; defendant then slammed the door shut. Sergeant Schnibben thereupon kicked the door open and the officers entered the apartment. Defendant shouted obscenities at Sergeant Schnibben and spit in his face. A scuffle ensued between defendant and the sergeant and, with the assistance of another officer, defendant was handcuffed and placed under arrest for battery and resisting a peace officer.

Officers Krause and Andrewski testified further that on entering the apartment they observed an altercation between defendant and Sergeant Schnibben; they announced the police were there to check out a domestic disturbance and wanted to make sure the woman was alright. A woman with blood on her face and blouse stated there was no problem. The officers also observed a man sitting on the couch and a small child.

Defendant testified at the suppression hearing that he and his wife, Debbie Santana, were having a family discussion before the officers arrived which he said was loud, but should not have bothered anyone. He responded to a knock on the door and saw police officers who requested admission to the apartment. Defendant testified both he and his wife, who was standing behind him, told the officers "no" and he closed the door. As he was leaving the door, it was kicked open and officers threw him into the hallway and handcuffed him. Defendant also testified he had cut his hand at work and it had reopened that night.

Debbie Santana testified that she and her husband were having an argument during which there had been loud talking, but no yelling or screaming. She was behind her husband when he answered the door and both told the officers they could not enter. When the officers did enter, she told them there was no problem and asked them to leave. Mrs. Santana also stated a plate had dropped out of the refrigerator and broke upon the floor shortly before the officers entered.

Paula Dirks, a neighbor called as a witness by defendant, testified she watched the officers in the hall through a peep hole in her door. She heard a glass break in defendant's apartment, the officer knock and announce they were police and the slam of a door. One of the officers then kicked in the door and she heard the police yelling and Mrs. Santana repeating "leave us alone" and "get out of here."

It was undisputed that at the time they entered defendant's apartment the officers had neither an arrest or search warrant and that no one had consented to the entry. The trial court determined defendant's arrest was illegal, as the officers lacked probable cause, and suppressed all evidence relating to defendant's conduct after the officers entered the apartment.

We cannot determine from the ruling of the trial court whether it found the officers lacked probable cause prior to their entry of defendant's apartment or whether that finding was directed to the circumstances existing after they had forced open the door and entered. In either event, we conclude the trial court erred and that its judgment must be reversed.

Section 107-2(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides:

"A peace officer may arrest a person when * * * [h]e has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is committing or has committed an offense." (Ill. ...


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