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06/27/88 the People of the State of v. Alejandro Mata

June 27, 1988





533 N.E.2d 370, 178 Ill. App. 3d 155, 127 Ill. Dec. 498 1988.IL.1004

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


JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. O'CONNOR, J., concurs. JUSTICE MANNING, Dissenting.


The defendant, Alejandro Mata, was arrested on the charge of residential burglary. Following a bench trial, defendant was convicted and subsequently sentenced to a term of 10 years' incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Defendant now appeals his conviction.

At trial, the evidence established that at approximately 2:40 a.m. on March 4, 1985, Chicago police officer James Petrauskas saw the defendant, Mata, walking east on 20th Street toward Halsted, carrying a 19-inch television set on his shoulder. Officer Petrauskas then observed Mata enter a building at 2000 South Halsted. At that point, the officer parked his car and followed Mata up to the third floor of the building, where he entered an apartment. Officer Petrauskas knocked on the door and Mata answered it. Petrauskas identified himself and asked Mata why he had been carrying a television set down the street at that hour. Mata replied that he had been watching a television show at a friend's home and the friend had let him take the television home so that he could finish watching the show. Officer Petrauskas then asked Mata who the friend was and Mata could not remember the friend's name or address, but agreed, voluntarily, to show the officer where the friend lived.

Officer Petrauskas then took the television set and both he and Mata proceeded in the police car to the place Mata directed, 1718 South Newberry Street. At 1718 South Newberry, Officer Petrauskas knocked on both the front and back doors of the house but no one answered. He further noticed that there were no foot tracks, either in the front or the back of the house, in the two inches of snow that had recently fallen. Another officer who had arrived to assist also determined that no one was home when he knocked on the door. At this point, Officer Petrauskas handcuffed Mata and placed him in the police wagon of the assisting officer.

While Mata was in transit to the 12th District police station, a call came over the police radio advising the officers of a residential burglary at 1819 South Peoria, approximately 1 1/2 blocks from where Mata was initially seen carrying the television.

At the police station, Officer Petrauskas inspected the television and noted that the initials "PDS" and a serial number were scratched into the back of the set. Thereafter, a police sergeant advised Officer Petrauskas that the television had been reported stolen from 1819 South Peoria by Paul Sebron, who later that day identified that television as the set which he reported stolen.

At trial, Sebron testified that he knew the defendant by the name of "Jesse." Sebron also stated that the defendant had been in his home the night before the burglary until approximately 1 a.m., when Sebron left to attend church services. He said that he secured all doors and windows when he left. However, when Sebron returned at 3:30 a.m. the front window of his apartment was open, the bedroom window was broken, the lights were on, wood chips were in the snow by the open window, and there were footprints by both the open window and the bedroom window. Sebron further testified that he followed the footprints in the snow and found that they led to the corner of 18th Street and Peoria. Sebron then called the police to report the theft.

Mata testified at trial that he bought the television, which he knew to be stolen, from a man he did not know on the street at 17th and Newberry for $45. Mata said that he did not, at that time, know the set was Sebron's, and he further denied telling the officer that he borrowed the television from a friend. Based upon all the evidence, the trial court found Mata guilty of residential burglary and sentenced him, after a hearing in aggravation and mitigation, to 10 years' incarceration.

Mata argues on appeal that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to quash his arrest and suppress the evidence obtained as a result of his arrest. He contends that the police did not have probable cause to detain and arrest him at 2000 South Halsted Street, since, at that point, the officer only knew that Mata had a television which he claimed was loaned to him by a friend, and accordingly, there was no probable cause to make an arrest. Thus, Mata asserts that since no probable cause existed for the arrest at 2000 South Halsted, any evidence obtained as a consequence of the illegal arrest should have been suppressed, i.e., the television set. The State, on the other hand, argues that the trial court properly determined that Mata was arrested at the Newberry Street address, and that he was not arrested at the Halsted Street address. The State specifically asserts that there was adequate articulable suspicion to stop and detain Mata at 2000 South Halsted and that the totality of the circumstances established probable cause to arrest Mata after the investigation at 1718 South Newberry.

Additionally, Mata also argues in his appeal that, even if probable cause did exist for his arrest, the State did not prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of residential burglary. The State, again, disagrees contending that the evidence presented, along with the inferences ...

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