APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
505 N.E.2d 1338, 153 Ill. App. 3d 636, 106 Ill. Dec. 547 1987.IL.345
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Barry E. Puklin, Judge, presiding.
Presiding Justice Lindberg delivered the opinion of the court. Unverzagt and Inglis, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINDBERG
Defendant, Mark Langlo, was charged by indictment with one count of arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 20-1(a)) and one count of aggravated arson (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 20-1.1(a)). Following a bench trial, he was convicted on both counts and sentenced to serve 12 years' imprisonment for aggravated arson and an extended term of 9 years for arson. On appeal, defendant raises several issues relating to the aggravated-arson conviction. Given the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in People v. Johnson (1986), 114 Ill. 2d 69, 499 N.E.2d 470, that section 20-1.1(a)(1) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 20-1.1(a)(1)) is unconstitutional, we need not address these issues. The only remaining issue is whether the court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress. We reverse and remand.
The charges against defendant stemmed from a fire on the morning of March 15, 1985, which destroyed a boat mounted on a trailer in the complainant's driveway. The trailer was parked about 3 feet from the complainant's house, which suffered some smoke and heat damage. After the fire was put out, the complainant observed two empty beer glasses and some footprints in the front yard which had not been there the previous evening. The police were alerted to this fact.
Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress statements he made to Carpentersville police officers on the night of March 20 to 21, 1985. The motion asserted that his statement had been elicited subsequent to an illegal arrest without probable cause and, therefore, the statements should be suppressed. At the hearing held on this motion, defendant testified that on the evening of March 20, 1985, he went to P.M. Bentley's, a tavern in Carpentersville. Defendant further testified that throughout the evening he had consumed 18 cans and 2 glasses of beer. Around midnight defendant was approached by Carpentersville police detective, Robert Wiggins, who asked defendant to accompany him to the police station. According to defendant, the officer stated: "If you don't come down now, I will just arrest you right here." Defendant further testified that the officer did not tell him he was under arrest, but that he did not believe that he could refuse to go with the officer, or that he had a choice. Defendant left Bentley's with Officer Wiggins and walked out to the parking lot where they were met by another officer who, unlike Wiggins, was in uniform and was in a squad car. The uniformed officer asked defendant to get into the squad car. According to defendant, he was not given a choice whether he wanted to drive himself to the station. Defendant got into the back seat of the squad car, which automatically locks from the outside. Defendant was driven to the police station, where he was taken to an interrogation room and given his Miranda rights, which he waived. Defendant testified that during the three hours he spent in the interrogation room, he was not left alone at any time and was continuously questioned by two detectives and a uniformed officer. He further testified to the following:
"Q. [Counsel for Defendant]: During the time that you were being asked questions by the officers, did any officer ever tell you that you could leave the police station?
Q. Did you ever ask to leave the police station?
A. I asked if I was under arrest.
Q. When did you ask that?
A. After -- around 20 minutes after they questioned me.
Q. Did anyone give you a response?
Q. Do you know which officer it was?
A. It was the officer that picked me up inside the bar, ...