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01/18/89 the People of the State of v. Albert Krull Et Al.

January 18, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT

v.

ALBERT KRULL ET AL., APPELLEES.



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

534 N.E.2d 125, 126 Ill. 2d 235, 128 Ill. Dec. 105

APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. MARTIN F. HOGAN, Judge, presiding. 1989.IL.39

APPELLATE Judges:

Hon. Martin F. Hogan, Judge, presiding; Justice Miller delivered opinion; Stamos and Calvo, JJ., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MILLER

This case is before us on remand from the United States Supreme Court. (Illinois v. Krull (1987), 480 U.S. 340, 94 L. Ed. 2d 364, 107 S. Ct. 1160.) The Court, in its decision, determined that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies when evidence is obtained by police officers who are acting in objectively reasonable reliance upon a statute that authorizes warrantless administrative searches but that is later found unconstitutional. The Court further held that the police officer's reliance on the statute involved in the instant case was objectively reasonable. The issues remaining for our consideration involve an analysis of whether the officer in question acted within the scope of the statute in conducting the search.

On July 5, 1981, a Chicago police officer executed a search of the Action Iron and Metal Company (Action Iron), pursuant to section 5-401(e) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (the Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 5-401(e), which authorized warrantless administrative searches of automotive wrecking yards. The officer seized several motor vehicles, and the defendants were subsequently charged with a number of criminal violations of the Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 1-100 through 20-402). Following a pretrial evidentiary hearing in the circuit court of Cook County, the circuit Judge ruled that section 5-401(e) was unconstitutional and granted the defendants' motion to suppress the evidence seized. The State appealed that ruling to the appellate court. In an unpublished order, the appellate court vacated the circuit court's judgment and remanded the cause for further proceedings. (119 Ill. App. 3d 1163 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).) The circuit Judge was directed, on remand, to reevaluate the constitutionality of section 5-401(e) and to reexamine the question of the police officer's good-faith reliance upon the statute, in light of several recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court in which the good-faith conduct of police officers was found sufficient to validate otherwise unconstitutional searches and seizures.

On remand, the circuit Judge reaffirmed his earlier ruling that section 5 -- 401(e) of the Code was unconstitutional and, given the invalidity of the statute, again ordered that the evidence be suppressed. The circuit Judge further concluded that the officer's good-faith reliance on the statute was not relevant. In making those determinations, the circuit Judge noted that the police officer in question was not acting within the scope of the statute in conducting the search; at the time of the hearing, the parties had not raised the question whether the officer was acting within the scope of the statute.

The State appealed the circuit court's judgment directly to this court. (See 107 Ill. 2d R. 603.) We affirmed the judgment, holding that the statute in effect at the time of the search was unconstitutional and that the officer's good-faith reliance upon the statute was irrelevant. (107 Ill. 2d 107, 118-19.) The State then sought review in the United States Supreme Court.

The United States Supreme Court granted the State's petition for a writ of certiorari (Illinois v. Krull (1986), 475 U.S. 1080, 89 L. Ed. 2d 714, 106 S. Ct. 1456) and subsequently reversed our determination (Illinois v. Krull (1987), 480 U.S. 340, 94 L. Ed. 2d 364, 107 S. Ct. 1160). The cause was remanded to this court for further proceedings.

On September 25, 1981, the initial hearing was held in the circuit court on the defendants' motion to suppress. The evidence presented indicated that on July 5, 1981, Detective Leilan McNally of the Chicago police department went to the premises of Action Iron, an automobile wrecking yard located in Chicago. Pursuant to departmental policy, McNally possessed authority to conduct warrantless administrative searches of automobile wrecking yards. The purpose of these searches was to monitor compliance with provisions of the Code regulating the automotive parts business. At the suppression hearing, Detective McNally testified that he inspected wrecking yards on a regular basis. McNally explained that on the morning in question, he observed tow trucks transporting automobiles onto the premises. McNally said he entered the yard and identified himself as a police officer to defendant George Lucas, who was working in the yard. McNally asked Lucas whether the yard was open for business; Lucas replied that it was, and that he was in charge.

Detective McNally then asked Lucas to produce the dealer's license and the records of vehicles purchased. Lucas could not produce the licence or records. Lucas did, however, surrender a pad of paper upon which five vehicle purchases were recorded, and he told the detective the list contained all the vehicles he had purchased. Detective McNally then requested and received permission from Lucas to inspect the cars in the yard.

Detective McNally proceeded to inspect the vehicles in the yard, recording their identification numbers. He then checked those numbers on a mobile computer and discovered that three of the vehicles were reported to have been stolen. Detective McNally also found a fourth vehicle that had had its identification number removed. As a result, Detective McNally seized those four vehicles and placed Lucas under arrest. Defendant Albert Krull, the holder of the license, and defendant Salvatore Mucerino, who arrived at the premises the day of the serarch, were later arrested, Krull, Lucas, and Mucerino were charged with criminal violations of the Code. At the hearing McNally admitted that he did not have either a search warrant or an arrest warrant at the time.

At the Conclusion of the suppression hearing, the circuit Judge granted the defendants' motion to suppress the evidence seized by Detective McNally. In granting the motion, the circuit Judge relied on the Federal district court's decision in Bionic Auto Parts & Sales, Inc. v. Fahner (1981), 518 F. Supp. 582, which had been issued on July 6, 1981, one day after the search at issue here. In Bionic Auto Parts the district court ruled that section 5 -- 401(e) was unconstitutional because the provision failed to meet the standards for administrative searches established in Donovan v. Dewey (1981), 452 U.S. 594, 69 L. Ed. 2d 262, 101 S. Ct. 2534, and the district court entered a preliminary ...


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