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04/16/87 the People of the State of v. David Thomas

April 16, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE

v.

DAVID THOMAS, APPELLANT. -- THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

TYRONE PATTERSON, APPELLANT



Before trial, Patterson moved to suppress his statements and Thomas moved to sever his trial from Patterson's. The court denied both motions but later granted Thomas' motion in limine, instructing the State to refrain from using Thomas' name when introducing Patterson's statements and to eliminate all references to Thomas' being in the victim's car.

SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

507 N.E.2d 843, 116 Ill. 2d 290, 107 Ill. Dec. 690 1987.IL.516

Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Jack G. Stein, Judge, presiding

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MORAN

The issues presented for review are: (1) whether the trial court erred in admitting Patterson's uncounseled post-indictment statements to the police and an assistant State's Attorney, and (2) whether the trial court erred in denying Thomas' motion for severance.

On August 21, 1983, at approximately 3 a.m., the defendants and Carl Harmon, all of whom were members of the Vice Lords street gang, and McCune, who belonged to a gang aligned with the Vice Lords, were walking toward the 1623 Club in Evanston. When they arrived, they saw several members of a rival gang, the Black Mobsters, and a fight broke out. After the fight, they ran to Thomas' house. At trial, McCune testified that approximately 10 minutes after they arrived, Jackson, a member of the Black Mobsters, drove past Thomas' house and stopped. Jackson then backed up and stopped near Thomas' house. Words were exchanged, and Thomas punched Jackson in the jaw, opened the driver's door and began hitting Jackson. McCune testified that he ran to the car and started to hit Jackson, while Patterson was in the back seat of the car also hitting Jackson. Harmon pulled Jackson out the passenger side of the car. The defendants kicked and beat Jackson about his head and body as he lay beside the curb. McCune also testified that Patterson struck Jackson with his shoe two or three times, Thomas and Harmon had each kicked and hit Jackson about 10 times and Harmon had "jumped on his head." Patterson and Harmon then lifted Jackson and put him face down into the back seat of the car with them. Thomas sat in the front passenger seat while McCune drove the car approximately 1 1/2 blocks north through a park to a dead end.

When they arrived, Patterson and Harmon pushed Jackson out of the car. Harmon dragged Jackson, striking and hitting him, and threw him face down into a puddle of water. Thomas then suggested that they throw Jackson over the fence into a canal. Harmon instructed McCune to go get a knife, and Patterson told him to go get the knife he had left at Patterson's house earlier. McCune drove away and did not return to the scene of the murder. Police found Jackson's body later that morning.

At approximately 4 o'clock that afternoon, Evanston police arrested McCune pursuant to a warrant for battery and mob action in connection with the fight that occurred near the 1623 Club. Patterson and Thomas were also subjects of the same arrest warrant. While he was in custody, McCune waived his Miranda rights and gave a statement regarding the fight near the 1623 Club. McCune was also questioned about the killing of Jackson and gave a statement implicating Patterson, Thomas, Harmon and himself.

Patterson was arrested pursuant to the warrant at about 7 p.m. that evening. He waived his Miranda rights and gave a statement concerning the fight near the 1623 Club. Officer Michael Gresham then questioned Patterson concerning the killing of Jackson. Patterson indicated that he knew nothing about it. Police arrested Thomas at about 11 p.m. that night pursuant to the warrant on which they had arrested McCune and Patterson.

The next day, Assistant State's Attorney Robert Friedman interviewed Thomas. He informed Thomas that he was assisting the police in the investigation of the homicide of Jackson and was not there to represent him. After Friedman advised him of his Miranda rights, Thomas stated he wished to give a statement. Thomas indicated that the police had treated him fairly while he was in custody. Friedman told Thomas that a witness, Nancy Adams, told police that she had seen him and three other people beating someone on the street in Evanston. He also told Thomas that McCune had given the police a statement placing both himself and Thomas at the canal where police found Jackson's body and describing what had happened there. Friedman then told Thomas that, according to McCune's statement, Thomas remained with the victim at the scene when he left the area. Thomas responded that that was true. When Friedman asked whether McCune had left the area by himself, however, Thomas indicated that he did not wish to answer any further questions and requested counsel. Friedman immediately terminated the interview and proceeded to leave the room. As he approached the door, however, Thomas said: "You know the police took my shoes and prints, but they won't find anything because I wasn't where the body was found." Later that day, McCune gave Friedman a statement which, again, implicated the defendants, Harmon and himself. That evening, police advised Patterson that he had been implicated in a murder and that "charges were either approved or [that the police were] seeking charges at that time."

On August 23, a Cook County grand jury indicted the defendants and McCune for Jackson's murder. Officer Gresham removed Patterson from the lockup to process and transfer him to Cook County jail. When Gresham told Patterson that he had been indicted, Patterson asked how many people had been indicted. Gresham informed Patterson that Thomas and McCune had also been indicted. Patterson then asked why Harmon had not been indicted and told Gresham that "Harmon did everything." Patterson also told Gresham that Harmon said he had told a neighbor that he had killed somebody. At that point, Gresham stopped Patterson and gave him a Miranda waiver form. Gresham read the warnings aloud as Patterson read along with him. After Patterson initialed each warning and signed the waiver, he described how Jackson was attacked and pulled from his car. He admitted having struck the victim several times with his fist and with the victim's shoe during the initial beating that occurred near his house. He told Gresham that McCune and Harmon put Jackson back into his car. Jackson was then driven to the dead end and dragged from his car. He further stated that, after McCune left the dead end, Harmon beat Jackson about the head and face with clay boulders and threw him into a mud puddle.

Later that day, Assistant State's Attorney George Smith, of the felony-review unit, also interviewed Patterson. Patterson verified that he had signed and initialed the Miranda waiver form that Gresham had given him. He indicated that he understood his rights. Smith again advised Patterson of his Miranda rights and explained that he was assisting the police in the investigation of a murder and that he was not representing Patterson. Patterson indicated that he understood. He said that he had been treated well by the police, had been fed and had rested. He also told Smith that he was making the ...


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