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08/18/87 In Re N.E.R.

August 18, 1987

IN RE N.E.R., A MINOR (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

Petitioner-Appellee, v.

N.E.R., Respondent-Appellant)

512 N.E.2d 132, 159 Ill. App. 3d 320, 111 Ill. Dec. 228 1987.IL.1201

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. Robert J. Steigmann, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and KNECHT, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SPITZ

Respondent first contends that the trial court erred in failing to suppress his admission because he was "in custody" and the interrogating officer failed to advise him of his Miranda rights; his admission was not voluntary; and he was "unlawfully seized" in violation of the fourth amendment. The State contends that the respondent made a voluntary statement to the police officer while being questioned in a noncustodial setting and, thus, the motion to suppress was properly denied.

The instant record reveals that one witness, Officer Robert Doty, was called to testify at the hearing on respondent's motion to suppress. Doty, an investigator for the Champaign County sheriff's department, testified that on April 15, 1986, he had a conversation with respondent at respondent's home in Champaign. Doty went to the respondent's home that day to inquire about allegations of sexual abuse by the respondent. He was "fairly familiar" with the victim's entire story.

According to Doty, when he got to respondent's home he knocked on the door and first spoke with respondent's mother. Doty then spoke with respondent in the doorway, on the front porch of the home. Doty told respondent that he wanted "to talk" and asked whether respondent would "sit in the car and talk." Doty stated that respondent "said he would be willing to."

Doty testified that he chose to speak with respondent in his car for "privacy [ sic ] sake." The nature of the allegations was such that Doty felt it "would be difficult for [respondent] to be able to speak . . . honestly about if [they] tried to talk in front of [respondent's] family, or in a room in [respondent's] house."

Doty's unmarked squad car was parked in front of respondent's house. Doty did not recall physically touching respondent as respondent entered the right front passenger seat of the squad car. Doty may have locked the door when he shut it but was not certain. Doty testified that once they were seated in the car, he explained to respondent why he wanted to talk to him, but that he did not tell respondent he could leave the car.

When Officer Doty first began questioning respondent about the alleged incident, respondent denied all of Officer Doty's allegations. Doty "didn't think [respondent] was being truthful" and told respondent so. After this, respondent "did then admit to telling [Doty] that he had done some things." Doty testified that he also spoke to respondent about a polygraph test. Doty explained:

"Essentially when you talk to individuals in similar circumstances I asked if they understood what a polygraph examination is or a lie detector test. If he would be willing to take one. They would pass or fail, and if they said they didn't know how they would do, I would say, well, if you ...


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