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12/03/87 In Re J.C.

December 3, 1987



Petitioner-Appellee, v.

J.C., Respondent-Appellant)

516 N.E.2d 1326, 163 Ill. App. 3d 877, 114 Ill. Dec. 932 1987.IL.1780

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kendall County; the Hon. Wilson D. Burnell, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE HOPF delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and WOODWARD, JJ., concur.


Respondent now appeals, contending that: (1) the trial court erred in denying respondent's motion to quash arrest as the police lacked probable cause to arrest the respondent; (2) the trial court abused its discretion in committing the respondent to the Department of Corrections; (3) the trial court committed plain error by conducting a joint Dispositional hearing wherein both respondent and co-respondent were evaluated; and (4) the respondent was denied effective assistance of counsel due to a conflict of interest created by counsel's dual representation of respondent and co-respondent.

That testimony at the hearing on respondent's motions to quash arrest and suppress statements and on the petition for adjudication of wardship showed that on June 28, 1986, at about 6 p.m., Fred Rippo of 18 Sedgewick, Oswego, Illinois, observed two male youths running through an open field behind his residence. At about 6:15 p.m., Rippo saw the same two youths walking back through the field. One youth was carrying a "large electronical object" which he laid down and then picked up again, carrying it another 20 or 30 feet, before Rippo heard the other youth say, "Drop it, we'll come back later to pick it up." The youth carrying the object dropped it, and both youths left, going northbound down Boulder Hill Pass. At the same time Rippo observed a couple of patrol cars traveling down Boulder Hill Pass. Rippo kept a watch on the area where he had seen the youths. Eventually, he went into the field to that area and observed a video cassette player lying on the ground. Rippo returned to his house and notified the Oswego police department.

Officer Steven Plock of the Oswego police department testified that at approximately 6 p.m. he was on routine patrol on Boulder Hill Pass going northbound when he noticed a southbound vehicle traveling at a slow pace. The occupants of the car were looking into an open field to the west of the road. Officer Plock finished his patrol and was then proceeding southbound on Boulder Hill Pass when he again observed the same vehicle traveling northbound at a slow pace. The occupants were looking into the open field. At that time, the officer also looked into the field and saw the respondent and either the co-respondent or his twin brother walking towards Boulder Hill Pass. The officer stated that he knew respondent by sight.

Later, at about 7:30 p.m., Officer Plock was dispatched to the residence of Fred Rippo. Rippo told the officer about his observations of the two youths, about overhearing their conversation, and about his subsequent investigation of the field area and discovery of the VCR. Rippo's descriptions of the youths corresponded with Officer Plock's observations of the respondent and the co-respondent. Plock elected to remain in Rippo's backyard and watch the field until he obtained some assistance with his surveillance.

Subsequently, Officer Kenneth Hester was dispatched to the Rippo residence. Officer Plock advised Hester of Rippo's observations and subsequent discovery in the field. It was decided that a stakeout would be set up. At about 9 p.m., Officer Hester proceeded to a nearby location to watch the field while Officer Plock went back to the police department to get a flashlight, radio, and binoculars.

A short time later a black Lincoln Continental pulled up to the area of Boulder Hill Pass. From his stakeout position, Officer Hester observed two male subjects exit the vehicle and walk into the field. The two subjects were walking around in the field for about 30 seconds, and then the officer observed one of the subjects running back to the car with an object in his hands. The subjects got back into the vehicle and started to pull away. After proceeding about 25 to 30 feet, Officer Hester, who was in plain clothes and driving his own unmarked vehicle, pulled in front of the Lincoln and effected a stop.

Officer Hester exited his vehicle with his badge in one hand and his gun in the other. As the occupants got out of the car, Officer Hester ordered them to put their hands on the car. The officer testified that the Lincoln had come to a stop almost directly under a streetlight and that when he looked into the car, he saw a video cassette recorder lying on the floorboard behind the driver's seat. The officer stated that he had no conversation with the subjects at the scene and that he did not place them under arrest but merely detained them for questioning at the Oswego police department.

In the meantime, Officer Plock had obtained the items he had returned to the police department to get and was just entering his squad car when he received a dispatch that Officer Hester needed assistance at Boulder Hill Pass. Officer Plock and another officer, Bill Law, proceeded to that location. Officer Plock testified that he took respondent into custody and that at that time respondent was not under arrest although, due to the officer's own observations, his conversation with Rippo, his conversation with Officer Hester at the scene, and his own observation of the VCR in the Lincoln Continental, he suspected respondent was probably involved in a burglary. The officer transported the respondent to the police department.

At about 10 p.m., Officer Plock was dispatched to 22 Sedgewick, a residence two houses west of Mr. Rippo's residence, in response to a report of a residential burglary. Upon arriving at 22 Sedgewick, the owner of the residence, Sharon Dee, reported to the officer that a VCR and a car AM/FM cassette radio tuner were missing. The serial number, model number, and brand of Ms. Dee's VCR matched those of the VCR found in the black Lincoln.

At the police department, Officer Hester conducted an interview with respondent after reading him his Miranda rights; respondent's mother was present. During that interview, respondent admitted his involvement in the reported burglary and implicated the co-respondent. After the interview, respondent prepared a written statement regarding his involvement.

Respondent testified that although Officer Hester read him his Miranda rights, the officer had refused to obtain an attorney for respondent, although the minor had requested one. On cross-examination, respondent admitted that being taken into custody by the police was not a new experience for him and that he knew he did not have to talk to ...

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