APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
520 N.E.2d 1220, 166 Ill. App. 3d 1016, 117 Ill. Dec. 869 1988.IL.333
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Raymond L. Terrell, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN, P.J., and SPITZ, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND
On July 22, 1987, the circuit court of Sangamon County entered an order on the motion to suppress statements made by defendant Michael Davis, finding the statements made were voluntarily given and defendant had been advised of his Miranda rights. Accordingly, the court denied said motion. At the same time, the court held that written statements signed by defendant were not admissible since the court found defendant did not understandingly read the statements before signing them. The State appeals the court's ruling denying the admission of these written statements. We reverse.
Defendant was charged with four counts of murder and one count of armed robbery in violation of sections 9-1 and 18-2 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, pars. 9-1, 18-2). On June 2, 1987, defendant filed a motion to suppress statements, admissions, and/or confessions. The motion alleged that the statements in question should be suppressed because they were not made voluntarily and defendant had not been advised of his Miranda rights.
A hearing was commenced on July 13, 1987. The hearing was directed entirely to the subject of the voluntariness of the statements and whether defendant was advised of his Miranda rights. The statements in question were given on July 30, July 31, August 1, August 15, and August 16, 1986. The last four were reduced to writing and signed by the defendant. The last statement implicated defendant as being involved in the murder and armed robbery. While the evidence introduced at the hearing was extensive, the only testimony recited here will be that pertaining to the question at hand.
Don Kolar, a Springfield city detective, was involved in the taking of all the statements. He testified the procedure was the same each time. As the defendant was interrogated, Kolar would write out the statement. The statement was not a verbatim question-and-answer statement. Kolar would consolidate the statement and use different wording. When the statement was completed, he would give it to defendant to read and show defendant where to sign and initial the statement.
In each case, defendant appeared to read the statements. Kolar testified he asked defendant before defendant signed them if the statements were accurate, and defendant responded affirmatively.
Detective Thomas Mann was present for several of the statements. After one of the earlier statements was written, he asked defendant to read the statement out loud. He stated defendant was a little bit slow but did a pretty good job of reading. He also observed defendant appearing to read the statements before signing them.
Detective Ralph Harris was present for the last incriminating statement. He testified the written statement was six pages long, and defendant reviewed each page and appeared to read it.
Defendant presented the testimony of a school teacher, a special education teacher, and a school psychologist. This testimony showed defendant has an IQ of 55 to 61, which resulted in his being classified as educable mentally handicapped. He also reads at a second-grade level.
Gary Jackson, defendant's stepfather, was present for one of the statements. He stated he "imagined" ...