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03/18/87 the People of the State of v. Ediberto Rodriquez

March 18, 1987





505 N.E.2d 1314, 153 Ill. App. 3d 652, 106 Ill. Dec. 523 1987.IL.335

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Edward W. Kowal, Judge, presiding.


Justice Reinhard delivered the opinion of the court. Inglis and Unverzagt, JJ., concur.


Following a bench trial, defendant, Ediberto Rodriquez, was found guilty of possession of burglary tools (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 19-2(a)) and misdemeanor theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 16-1(d)(1)) and found not guilty of burglary. He was sentenced to a two-year term of probation and a $100 fine on the former offense and was sentenced to a concurrent one-year term of probation for the latter offense.

On appeal defendant contends (1) that his statements and certain physical evidence obtained as a direct result of his arrest without probable cause should have been suppressed, and (2) that he was not proved guilty of possession of burglary tools beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress his confessions, alleging that after his arrest he gave oral statements to the arresting officer without being given the Miranda warnings and later gave a written statement which was the direct result of the improper oral statements. He sought suppression of both his oral and written statements. Defendant also filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, both asserting he was arrested without probable cause and seeking the suppression of his oral and written statements as well as other physical evidence taken as a result of his arrest.

At a pretrial hearing on both motions, Elmhurst police officer Stanley Ciochon testified that he was on patrol at approximately 2 a.m. on September 3, 1984, when he noticed a yellow van making a U-turn in the Churchville Junior High School parking lot. He saw the van, unoccupied, about 45 minutes later, parked in an alley behind a shopping center. He checked the license registration by radio and found out that the van was registered to defendant at a Chicago address. A city of Chicago vehicle sticker was in the window. Ciochon shined his flashlight inside the van, revealing two bicycles and one pair of bolt cutters. A fence separated the alley from a residential neighborhood, and a gate in the fence was open. The neighborhood lately had been plagued by a rash of garage burglaries where bicycles, snowmobiles, and toolboxes were taken. His suspicion aroused, Ciochon radioed for assistance, and four more squad cars arrived at the scene and began a search of the area. About 15 minutes later, Ciochon received a radio message that an attendant at a nearby gasoline station had reported seeing three Mexican-American males running through nearby backyards. Ciochon hid in a parking lot across the street from the shopping center. Five minutes later he observed defendant coming from the area of the backyards and walking towards the van. The uniformed officer yelled for defendant to stop. Defendant then changed direction and began walking briskly on York Road toward a nearby Holiday Inn. Ciochon eventually grabbed defendant by the arm in the middle of York Road and escorted him to where the van was parked. Ciochon questioned defendant, both while returning to the van and while standing near the van, about what defendant was doing in the area. Defendant stated that he was looking for a friend's house, that he was the owner of the van, and that the van had broken down and was leaking water. Defendant stated that he then had gone to find a friend who lived nearby, but could not remember the friend's name or exactly where he lived. Ciochon did not observe any water leaking from the van onto the pavement.

Ciochon's commander, Sergeant Leonard Wright, also arrived, and defendant was given Miranda warnings and then handcuffed and placed in the rear of Ciochon's squad car. Defendant was willing to talk and was questioned about the bicycles. Defendant stated that he was driving his van for his friends, who were out to burglarize garages, but that he had nothing to do with the burglaries. He said the bicycles in the van were his. At the station, defendant was turned over to Detective Gary Fuller. Defendant subsequently made additional inculpatory statements which were later reduced to writing. Defendant showed Fuller and Ciochon the garage from which a bicycle was taken immediately before Ciochon initially saw the van.

Defendant testified that after he was stopped by Ciochon he was taken back to the van and slammed against a wall and questioned. He was then placed in the squad car, handcuffed, and driven around the area looking for the other persons with him. He was questioned while in the squad car, but was never advised of his right to an attorney. Later, at the station, he gave a written statement, but again was never advised of his right to an attorney.

Sergeant Wright testified that he saw Ciochon grab defendant by the arm, bring him to the van, and briefly question defendant about what he was doing in the area. He heard Ciochon advise defendant of the Miranda warnings, after which defendant was handcuffed and placed in the squad car. Defendant was not told he was under arrest, but Wright felt defendant was not free to leave.

The trial court denied the motion to suppress the confessions. The court, however, quashed the arrest, finding that while the stopping of defendant was proper, the detention and questioning while walking to the van and near the van was "beyond the scope of where this stop occurred" and was without probable cause for defendant's arrest. The court further determined that Ciochon's prior observations inside the van would not be suppressed, as that occurred prior to the arrest. In a later ruling, the court refused to suppress evidence of the identification of the stolen bicycle by the owner, apparently finding that the connecting up of this evidence would have resulted from further investigation anyway, and refused to suppress the oral and written statements, as they had been given after defendant was properly advised of his Miranda rights.

At trial, it was stipulated that the testimony of Ciochon and Wright at the suppression hearing could be used in evidence without further testimony from them. It was also stipulated that the bolt cutters were recovered from the van. Officer Gary Fuller testified that he questioned defendant at the police station and that defendant gave a written statement admitting both to driving the van for his friends and to seeing one of them coming back to the van with a bicycle and placing it in the van. He knew the friends were going to get something, but he didn't know what. Defendant showed him the garage from where the bicycle had been taken. The garage was found to be owned by Mr. and Mrs. Puchalski. Mrs. Puchalski testified that on the date in question, after being notified by the police, she discovered that a bicycle ordinarily in the ...

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