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11/09/89 the People of the State of v. Michael Davis

November 9, 1989





547 N.E.2d 568, 191 Ill. App. 3d 163, 138 Ill. Dec. 401 1989.IL.1768

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Simon L. Friedman, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ and GREEN, JJ., concur.


On July 22, 1988, defendant Michael Davis was found guilty by the circuit court of Sangamon County, following a stipulated bench trial, of the offenses of murder and armed robbery. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, pars. 9-1(a)(1), 18-2(a).) He was subsequently sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. He now appeals, alleging the court improperly denied his motion to suppress various statements he made to the police. We affirm.

On September 12, 1986, defendant and Rodney Johnson were charged by information with committing the murder and armed robbery of J.S. Defendant gave the police several separate statements concerning his involvement in the offenses. These statements were given on July 30, July 31, August 1, August 15, and August 16, 1986. These statements commenced being entirely exculpatory and concluded with that of August 16 implicating defendant in the crimes. On June 2, 1987, defendant filed a motion seeking to suppress these statements, alleging they were not voluntarily given and that defendant was not properly advised of his Miranda rights. At the Conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found the statements were voluntarily given but, finding defendant could not understandably read the written statements he signed, the court suppressed these written statements. The State appealed, and this court determined the written statements were admissible and remanded the case to the trial court. See People v. Davis (1988), 166 Ill. App. 3d 1016, 520 N.E.2d 1220.

Upon remand, the parties agreed to proceed to a stipulated bench trial. Defendant renewed his motion to suppress the statements. The court, relying on its earlier ruling, denied it. After reviewing the stipulated evidence, which is made up in large part of defendant's statements, the court found defendant guilty. Defendant's sole allegation is that his motion to suppress was improperly denied.

The State's evidence at the motion to suppress hearing established that on July 30, 1986, defendant, then 15 years of age, and Rodney Johnson had been apprehended for committing the offense of retail theft. Juvenile detective Daniel Hughes, who had known defendant for some time, was processing paperwork for the prosecutor's office and was preparing to release defendant when defendant asked if they would let him go in return for some information concerning a murder. Defendant stated he saw a third person kill a "white dude" by striking him in the head with a brick. At that time, Hughes, being unfamiliar with the particulars of the crime, called Detective Don Kolar, the primary investigating officer, to speak with defendant.

Kolar and Hughes viewed defendant strictly as a witness at that time. Therefore, defendant was not read his Miranda rights. Defendant told Kolar and Detective Don Stouffe that he saw the victim come up to Auggie Johnson at a local bar. They left and went to an alley where defendant saw Johnson hit the victim in the head with a brick and take his wallet.

The next morning Kolar and Detective Thomas Mann picked defendant up at his home and brought him to the station to interview him. They had his mother's permission. Defendant was still perceived as a witness and was not advised of his Miranda rights. The statement given was reduced to writing and signed by defendant. It was a more detailed account of the July 30 statement. The detectives then went to the scene of the crime and discovered defendant could not have viewed the crime from his asserted location.

Therefore, on August 1 at around 10 a.m., Kolar, Mann, and juvenile detective Tom Marvel brought defendant to the station for another interview. This time, defendant was read his Miranda rights. As each one was read, he was asked if he understood it, and he responded affirmatively. He then agreed to talk to them. Defendant repeated his earlier statement and was released. At this time, the detectives began viewing defendant as a suspect.

Around 4 p.m. that day, defendant was brought to the jail by Rodney Johnson at the behest of the police. Defendant was also accompanied by his stepfather, Gary Jackson. After they explained a discrepancy between his statement and the crime scene, defendant explained he had "snuck up" the alley and was in a different position when he viewed the crime. This conversation lasted two hours.

On August 15, Kolar and Mann took defendant, with his mother's permission, to a polygraph examination. After the examination, they took him to the station. On the way, he was advised of his Miranda rights, which defendant waived. Juvenile detective Frank Kress joined them at the station. Defendant was confronted with the polygraph result and the discrepancies in his statements. He asked if they could promise him anything. He then wanted assurance that if he was only a witness rather than a participant, he would not be prosecuted. He was taken to speak with an assistant State's Attorney and told that if he was only a witness, he would not be punished but, if he was a participant, he ...

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