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02/25/87 the People of the State of v. Darryl James

February 25, 1987





505 N.E.2d 1118, 153 Ill. App. 3d 131, 106 Ill. Dec. 327 1987.IL.230

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. R. Eugene Pincham, Judge, presiding.


Presiding Justice McNamara delivered the opinion of the court. Rizzi and White, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Darryl James, was convicted after a jury trial of murder and attempted murder and the court sentenced him to concurrent terms of 30 years for murder and 15 years for attempted murder. On appeal, defendant, who was 15 years old at the time of the offense, contends that his fourth amendment rights were violated when the trial court admitted defendant's previously suppressed statement to impeach the testimony of a defense witness when defendant did not testify at trial.

On August 30, 1982, at approximately 11 p.m., police officers arrived at the scene of a shooting. They found Geliria Boyd and Delbert Collins shot and lying in the grass. Boyd, who was shot in the head, died shortly thereafter. Several eyewitnesses volunteered information to the police officers. The five witnesses to the crime who testified for the State at trial were all friends and members of a group called "the B Boys."

The victims and all of their friends, eight or nine in total, were returning from visiting a friend when they passed a group of three persons. One of the three individuals asked the larger group if anyone had money, and when his demand was not met, pulled a handgun and fired shots into the larger group. One witness heard four or five shots.

The five State witnesses described two of the offenders as being 6 feet 1 inch and the other offender as being about 5 feet 4 inches. They described the taller individuals as wearing dark jackets, while the shorter offender, who fired the gun, wore a striped ski jacket. All three were wearing baseball caps. One of the witnesses gave police the name of a person he thought was one of the offenders. Police arrested this suspect and questioned him, but later released him when the same witness said this was not the person he thought.

The five witnesses who testified for the State all made in-court identifications of defendant, who was taken into custody the day after the occurrence. At trial, defendant was wearing his hair in a natural style and it was black. All witnesses testified that the person responsible for the shooting had reddish hair and wore it in a slicked-back butter style and also wore an earring. When giving descriptions of the offenders to the police, none of the witnesses said anything about the hair color or style of the person who shot the victims. One witness stated he did tell detectives at the police station that the person responsible for the shooting had red hair and a light complexion. The witnesses testified that they recalled seeing defendant a few weeks before the shooting at the Bud Billiken Parade and that they remembered his appearance because of his red butter hairstyle and the earring in his left ear.

Jewel Henderson, a friend of defendant's family, testified for defendant that on the day of the shooting, she took defendant to register for high school and on that day his hair was black. Defendant did not testify at trial.

To rebut Henderson's testimony, the State sought to introduce a previously suppressed statement of defendant. After a hearing on the voluntariness of defendant's suppressed statement, the trial court, over defendant's objection, permitted the State to introduce the statement.

The suppressed testimony which the trial court allowed in revealed that while in police custody on August 31, defendant stated that on the evening of August 30, his hair was long and combed back straight and reddish brown. He added that he had gone to the beauty parlor to have his hair dyed and curled to change his appearance. The trial court previously suppressed the statement after finding that there was not probable cause to arrest defendant, and thus the statement was the fruit of an unlawful arrest.

Following the police officer's testimony regarding the suppressed statement, the trial court told the jury that such evidence was offered for the purpose of impeaching and rebutting Henderson's testimony. The trial court, however, refused defendant's proffered jury instruction, explaining that defendant's statement could be considered only for ...

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