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People v. Rimmer

OPINION FILED MARCH 26, 1985.

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

v.

RODNEY RIMMER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Lawrence A. Passarella, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE HARTMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The State appeals from a circuit court order which sustained defendant's motion to suppress certain identification testimony and evidence of their post-arrest statements. (87 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1).) The issues raised are whether: (1) the State's appeal was timely filed; (2) an arrest took place in one defendant's apartment; (3) defendants' arrests were valid; and (4) the suppressed evidence was admissible.

On October 18, 1982, Marion Johnson was shot to death in front of a building in the Cabrini-Green housing project. Defendants, who were arrested shortly after the shooting, were identified as the perpetrators by eyewitnesses and subsequently made certain exculpatory and inculpatory statements. They were then charged with murder and armed violence.

Defendants moved separately to quash their arrests and suppress evidence. One hearing pursuant to these motions was conducted on June 13, 1983. Graves testified that at 9:30 p.m. on October 18, 1982, he was watching television in the bedroom of defendant Rimmer's apartment at 1159 North Larrabee. A police officer entered the bedroom, asked him his name, searched and handcuffed him, and searched the room. Two officers then took him and Rimmer downstairs to their car, telling them they were going to the police station. Graves did not agree to go with them. The officers showed them no search or arrest warrants.

Ivory Rimmer, defendant Rimmer's mother, testified that she was in bed at home at 1159 North Larrabee at about 9:45 p.m. on October 18, 1982, when her son called out that the police wanted to talk to her. Two plainclothes officers, one male and one female, in the apartment hallway, told her that Rodney had been involved in a shooting. The male officer entered Rodney's bedroom and closed the door. Ten minutes later, he came out, preceded by Charles Graves, to whom he later said, "Let's go, buddy." Graves asked what he was wanted for and said he didn't do anything. The officer said, "You'll see," and told the female officer to take Rodney. They all left the apartment. Mrs. Rimmer was not asked, but told, that her son was being taken to the station. Although the officers did not say that defendants were under arrest, Rodney was not permitted to move around the apartment. She was not sure whether Graves was handcuffed, as his hands were behind him.

Rimmer, age 17, testified that while at home at about 9:55 p.m. on October 18, 1982, he opened his door to a knock and police asked if he was Rodney Rimmer and told him to get his mother. When he tried to go to her bedroom, they told him not to "go anywhere," but to "call her," which he did. Officer Davis, whom he knew by name, went into her room, and came out with her. Officer Davis then went into another room and came out with Graves. The officers told defendants they were going to the police station. When Rimmer asked what for, they said, "Just come down." They handcuffed him as they left the apartment, outside his mother's presence.

Officer Joyce Gordon of the Chicago police department testified that on October 18, 1982, she and her partner, Officer Davis, were patrolling the Cabrini-Green area. At 9 p.m., they heard a police broadcast of a "man shot" at 1158 North Cleveland. They arrived at that location and asked people gathered there what had happened. About five to six "kids" came up to their car. One said that Rodney Rimmer had been in the area, "a few minutes" or "a half an hour or so" before the officers arrived. Officer Gordon knew Rimmer. Rimmer was described by the kids as wearing a beige jacket and a black hat and was with another male wearing a brown jacket and purple pants. The officers began looking for Rimmer and his companion. They then heard a police broadcast which described "two possible suspects wanted for the shooting" — black male teenagers: one wearing a beige jacket and black hat and possibly named "Rodney Reynolds," and the other wearing a brown jacket and purple pants. The officers proceeded to Rimmer's house to talk to him. Mrs. Rimmer answered the apartment door. They explained to her what had happened and her partner asked if he could talk to Rodney. She said, "Okay." Officer Davis went to the back of the apartment and returned with both defendants. Rimmer wore a beige jacket; Graves wore a brown jacket and purple pants. Officer Gordon told Mrs. Rimmer they "just wanted to interview" Rodney at the Cabrini-Green substation. Mrs. Rimmer said, "Okay." They told her she could come along, but she did not do so. When they left the apartment, defendants had not been handcuffed or placed under arrest. As they came out of the building, Officer Thomas Northfeld pulled up and two "kids" in the car said, "Yes, those were the two that did it." Defendants were thereupon placed under arrest, advised of their rights, and taken to the substation. Defendants subsequently made certain oral and written statements.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court found that defendants were arrested in the apartment, and that probable cause to arrest arose when defendants were identified by witnesses outside the apartment. The court denied defendants' motion to quash and suppress.

At a hearing on August 17, 1983, on Rimmer's motion to reopen the motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, the court determined it had earlier misapplied the law; ordered that the identifications and statements be suppressed; and allowed Graves' oral motion to join Rimmer's motion.

On September 15, 1983, a hearing was conducted on the State's motion to reopen the hearing on the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. Police Officer Thomas Northfeld testified that on October 18, 1982, he and his partner responded to a call of a "boy shot" at 1158 North Cleveland, where they found a fatally wounded young black male sprawled on the sidewalk. They called for an ambulance and other police. They attempted to find witnesses in the crowd that had gathered. Terrance Davis and Dennis Nelson said they had seen the shooting and described the offenders: two black male youths, one with a black hat and beige jacket, the other with a brown jacket and purple pants. The witnesses said the former offender was named Rodney and his last name "sounded like Reynolds." The officers and witnesses toured the immediate area, searching for the suspects. The witnesses' descriptions of the suspects were broadcast over the police radio.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court again found that there was no probable cause to arrest defendants in the apartment. Defendants' motion to suppress evidence was accordingly sustained.

At a hearing on October 5, 1983, the court denied the State's petition for admission of defendants' statements based on attenuating circumstances. This appeal followed.

I

• 1 We consider first defendants' motion to dismiss the State's appeal on the grounds that it was not timely filed. This motion was taken with the case and is denied in a separate order filed concurrently with this opinion. The circuit court initially sustained defendants' motion to suppress on August 17, 1983; at a hearing on September 15, 1983, pursuant to the State's motion to reopen the suppression hearing, the court again sustained defendants' motion. The State then filed a petition for admission of defendants' statements, heard and denied on October 5, 1983. The State's notice of ...


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