APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
509 N.E.2d 563, 156 Ill. App. 3d 459, 108 Ill. Dec. 867 1987.IL.652
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Romie J. Palmer, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW, P.J., and JIGANTI, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
This cause is before us on remandment from the United States Supreme Court, that court having vacated the conviction of Norman Bonds and remanded the case for our further consideration in light of Lee v. Illinois (1986), 476 U.S. 530, 90 L. Ed. 2d 514, 106 S. Ct. 2056. Gibson v. Illinois (1986), 476 U.S. 1167, 90 L. Ed. 2d 974, 106 S. Ct. 2886.
On October 3, 1985 we affirmed the convictions of Sammy Gibson, James Burdine, and Norman Bonds. (People v. Gibson (1985), 137 Ill. App. 3d 330, 484 N.E.2d 858, appeal denied (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 573.) All three were convicted of armed robbery and home invasion, and Gibson and Bonds were also convicted of rape and deviate sexual assault. The circumstances of the crimes are fully set forth in that opinion, and we will include herein only those facts that may be necessary for a full understanding of the issues raised.
Following the Illinois Supreme Court's denial of defendant's appeal from our decision, defendants Gibson and Bonds petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari. The court denied Gibson's petition but granted that of Norman Bonds, the only defendant whose conviction was vacated and remanded to us for further consideration.
Counsel for the State and for Bonds have filed supplemental briefs and both agree that the central issue posed by Lee v. Illinois is whether the introduction of Gibson's and Burdine's statements at trial constituted harmless error beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the United States Supreme Court's decision in Bruton v. United States (1968), 391 U.S. 123, 20 L. Ed. 2d 476, 88 S. Ct. 1620, the court held that, in the context of a joint trial, the use of a nontestifying codefendant's confession which inculpates another defendant violates that defendant's rights under the confrontation clause of the Federal Constitution. Even if the jury is instructed to use the codefendant's confession only against that defendant, the possible prejudice to the second defendant is considered too great to justify the admission of the codefendant's confession.
In Parker v. Randolph (1979), 442 U.S. 62, 60 L. Ed. 2d 713, 99 S. Ct. 2132, the Bruton rule was modified to the limited extent that a codefendant's inculpatory statement may be admitted into evidence if defendant has also confessed and his confession sufficiently "interlocks" with that of the second defendant. In addition, the jury must be instructed to consider a particular confession against the defendant who gave the confession only.
In Lee v. Illinois (1986), 476 U.S. 530, 545, 90 L. Ed. 2d 514, 529, 106 S. Ct. 2056, 2064-65, the Supreme Court had this to say about the "interlocking confessions" exception to Bruton : "confession is not necessarily rendered reliable simply because some of the facts it contains 'interlock' with the facts in the defendant's statement. . . . The true danger inherent in this type of hearsay is, in fact, its selective reliability. As we have consistently recognized, a codefendant's confession is presumptively unreliable as to the passages detailing the defendant's conduct or culpability because those passages may well be the product of the codefendant's desire to shift or spread blame, curry favor, avenge himself, or divert attention to another. If those portions of the codefendant's purportedly 'interlocking' statement which bear to any significant degree on the defendant's participation in the crime are not thoroughly substantiated by the defendant's own confession, the admission of ...