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11/25/87 the People of the State of v. Dimitru Stoica

November 25, 1987





516 N.E.2d 909, 163 Ill. App. 3d 660, 114 Ill. Dec. 754 1987.IL.1753

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James Heyda, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA, P.J., and RIZZI, J., concur.


Defendant Dimitru Stoica was charged by indictment with armed robbery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 18-2(a)), unlawful restraint (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 10-3(a)), four counts of aggravated kidnapping (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 10-2(a)(3), (a)(5)), burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 19-1(a)), attempted murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 9-1), three counts of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), three counts of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, pars. 12-4(a), (b)(8)), and conspiracy (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 8-2). After a bench trial defendant was found guilty of two counts of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 33A-2), all three counts of aggravated battery, conspiracy, and armed robbery. The trial court sentenced defendant to two concurrent nine-year sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the armed robbery and armed violence offenses.

Defendant appeals and contends that he was denied a fair trial and his right to prepare his defense where the trial court denied his motion to produce the State's informant. Additionally, defendant contends that the trial court erroneously denied his motions to quash arrest and suppress evidence, as the police lacked probable cause to arrest and the evidence obtained after defendant's arrest was the fruit of the unlawful arrest.

For the reasons stated below, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

At trial the victim, Felix Ruiz, an off-duty Chicago policeman, testified that he was driving home from a reunion party at about 3:30 a.m. on June 9, 1984. He became fatigued and pulled his car to the curb near St. Louis Street and Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, and went to sleep. While he slept, a man entered the car on the passenger side and sat next to Ruiz. The man awakened Ruiz and said, "Pal, this is a rough neighborhood. I would like to drive you home." Ruiz said, "No, don't worry about it."

The man then directed Ruiz to drive into a nearby alley. When they were in the alley, the man displayed a white automatic pistol, placed it in the area of Ruiz' stomach, and said, "Give me your money." Ruiz reached into his pocket, pulled out about $15, and threw the money out of the driver's-side window. The offender exited the car from the passenger side. Ruiz opened the driver's-side door and was about to exit the car when he was struck on the side of the face with a steel pipe or baseball bat. He was hit four or five times on the head and a couple of times on his left hand. Ruiz saw three individuals standing nearby. One of them held a gun to Ruiz' left temple. Another said, "Don't kill him." Ruiz then reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet containing his badge, and said, "I'm a police officer." The offenders grabbed Ruiz' wallet and badge and fled. Ruiz described the offenders to police as three or four white males, 15 to 18 years old. Ruiz also gave a brief description of what the offenders were wearing.

Chicago police officer Thomas Byrne testified that on June 9, 1984, a police officer called him at home to tell him there was a person at the police station who wanted to talk to him about the robbery of an off-duty officer. Byrne spoke briefly over the telephone with the informant, and then met the informant at the station. Byrne testified that "numerous times" before, he had spoken to the same informant regarding cases. Further, Byrne testified that the police had made arrests as the result of the information given by the informant in three different cases involving narcotics.

With regard to the instant case, the informant told Byrne that he (the informant) was with the four robbers, whom he named as Chino, Greg, Soto or Paradise, and Danny, a couple of hours after the offense. The robbers told the informant that they had been driving down the street and began following a car that soon pulled over to the curb. Danny, Chino, and Greg decided to rob the driver. Greg got out of the car, approached Ruiz' car and entered it through the passenger side. Greg "stuck a gun on" Ruiz and asked him to pull into an alley near St. Louis Street. Greg then took Ruiz out of the car and pointed a gun at him. Danny and Chino approached. Danny said, "[No], don't kill him, let's just get out of here." Some or all of the four individuals kicked Ruiz and hit him in the head. Then they took Ruiz' wallet, at which time they discovered he was a police officer. The four then fled. They told the informant that they used a silver Chevy Chevette automobile. The automobile was parked near the intersection of Leland and Monticello Streets.

After speaking with the informer, Byrne confirmed that a police officer had been robbed and obtained the police report of the robbery of Ruiz. The report stated that there were four offenders, that a white metal automatic gun and a baseball bat had been used during the robbery, and that the robbery occurred at or near 2424 North St. Louis Street.

Byrne and two other police officers then drove to the area of Leland and Monticello, where they saw a silver Chevette parked. The officers got out of their car. Byrne heard a noise coming from the first-floor apartment at 4656 North Monticello. They looked up and saw Soto or Paradise, and another person, who was the defendant. Byrne stated that the first-floor apartment window was about 30 feet from the police car. Byrne knew who Soto or Paradise was, since he had seen him on prior occasions and since the police were looking for him with regard to an investigation of a shooting which had occurred several days before. The police also were looking for a white steel automatic gun reportedly used in that prior shooting. Officer Tarara, who accompanied Byrne, told Byrne at that time that he knew Soto as a "gang banger." Byrne and the other officers approached ...

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