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05/16/88 the People of the State of v. Keith D. Waln

May 16, 1988







RHOADES, Defendant-Appellant

523 N.E.2d 1318, 169 Ill. App. 3d 264, 120 Ill. Dec. 407 1988.IL.752

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Monroe County; the Hon. Dennis J. Jacobsen, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court. WELCH and CALVO, JJ., concur.


Defendants, Keith Waln and Scott Rhoades, were charged in the circuit court of Monroe County with possession of burglary tools. Waln was also charged with solicitation to commit burglary. A codefendant, Terry Bass, was charged with Waln and Rhoades; however, his case was severed. Waln and Rhoades were tried before a jury and found guilty of possessing burglary tools. Waln was acquitted of solicitation. Defendants brought separate appeals which have been consolidated for review.

At trial, Kevin Sweet, a deputy sheriff of Monroe County, testified that he was on patrol at approximately 9 p.m. on May 5, 1986, when he observed a van with an inoperative license plate light. As Sweet was running a license plate check on the van, it turned, and as it did its left brake light and taillight went out. Sweet activated his lights and stopped the van.

Terry Bass was the driver of the van. Keith Waln was sitting in the front passenger seat and Scott Rhoades was sitting on a five-gallon bucket behind Bass and Waln.

As Sweet approached the van, he observed movement inside. Rhoades was bending over toward his left as if he were "hiding something in the van." Sweet shone his flashlight into the van, then checked the status of the driver's license Bass had produced. The check revealed that Bass' license had been suspended.

Sweet searched the van. In front of Waln, on the dashboard, he found a stocking cap, and wedged between the dashboard and the passenger door, he found a screwdriver approximately 14 inches long. Sweet found a pair of brown gloves in the glovebox and a hand-held programmable radio scanner under Waln's seat. Behind the front seats there was a battery compartment, located in front of Rhoades and to his left. Sweet found a pair of gloves and a blue stocking cap near the compartment. He removed the "loose fitting" cover of the compartment and found two silver penlights inside. Upon initially stopping the van, Sweet had looked in the battery compartment and had noticed that the penlights were lying side by side. Later, during the course of the stop, after Bass had been removed from the vehicle, but while Waln and Rhoades were still in it, Sweet noticed that the penlights had been moved.

Bass was given a ticket for driving with a suspended license and was charged with possession of burglary tools. At the scene of the traffic stop, Bass claimed ownership of everything in the van except the radio scanner. Bass was later interviewed at the police station. In the course of that interview Bass stated that Waln and Rhoades had heard Sweet's radio transmission over Waln's scanner prior to the traffic stop.

Terry Bass testified regarding the events of May 5, 1986. Bass said no offers had been made to him in exchange for his testimony. He stated that he had never been convicted of a crime.

Bass testified that he first saw Rhoades at approximately 4:30 or 5 p.m. on May 5. Rhoades came to Bass' house in Cahokia, Illinois, looking for Bass' brother. Later, Keith Waln arrived. Waln offered Bass $200 to help him pick up a tractor. Bass reluctantly agreed. Bass, Waln and Rhoades got into Bass' van and headed west on Route 157. They eventually got onto Triple Lakes Road and headed toward Columbia. The three engaged in "idle conversation" about how Bass should fix his van. From Triple Lakes Road they turned onto Route 3, travelling toward Waterloo. Waln then instructed Bass to turn onto New Hanover Road.

Waln said their destination was on New Hanover Road. Waln and Rhoades mentioned that there was a "daykeeper" but no "night keeper." Waln said he had checked the mailbox and knew that no one had been picking up the mail. He instructed Bass regarding the procedure they would use when they reached the property. Waln and Rhoades said the tractor was in a barn on the property. Bass was to drop them off, go down the road, turn around, and return when they signaled with their penlights. Bass was then to stop and help them put the lawn tractor in the back of his van. When Bass became nervous, Waln told him not to worry because he had a scanner in case someone called the police. Bass said it was then that he realized he was involved in a burglary.

Waln and Rhoades indicated that the house, with a white picket fence, would be "right around the next curve." At that point in time Bass noticed headlights behind the van. He heard a voice on the scanner saying "I will pull this guy over." Waln turned to Rhoades and told him to "stash everything." Bass then saw red lights on the top of the police car and, as Bass was pulling over to the side of the road, Waln took a long screwdriver and stuck it in the groove between the passenger door and the dashboard. Rhoades took gloves and penlights and hid them. The penlights, which had black tape around the ends when Bass first saw them, were later found in the battery compartment of the van. Bass said the scanner, penlights, screwdriver, stocking caps and brown gloves found in the van did not belong to him.

Bass testified that he was interviewed by Sheriff Daniel Kelley and Deputy Sweet after the the traffic stop and that he told them exactly what had happened. In that interview he described the house to be burglarized as it had been described to him. After Bass was interviewed his nose began to bleed. He admitted telling Rhoades that a police officer had hit him. He also admitted that he later told Rhoades he had told the police "a big fairy tale." Bass said he lied to Rhoades because he was afraid of being harassed by Waln or Rhoades. According to Bass, he was in fact later threatened by Waln's relatives.

Daniel Kelley, sheriff of Monroe County, testified that he interviewed Bass on May 5, 1986, on the night Bass was arrested. Bass gave a voluntary statement and was not harassed or coerced in any way. Bass told Kelley that the vacant house to be burglarized was supposed to have a white picket fence and a shed with a lawn tractor inside. Kelley later located such a house on New Hanover Road. There was no other house with a white picket fence in that area. Kelley found a John Deere riding mower in one of the outbuildings. Kelley testified that Waln's scanner was capable of receiving police frequency. He said the screwdriver found in the van could be used ...

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