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02/24/95 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. WILLIAM BOBIEK

February 24, 1995

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM BOBIEK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Earl E. Strayhorn, Judge Presiding.

The Honorable Justice Zwick delivered the opinion of the court: Egan, J., and Rakowski, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Zwick

JUSTICE ZWICK delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, William Bobiek, was convicted following a bench trial of two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, and four counts of aggravated battery. He was sentenced to a prison term of seven years in the penitentiary. The issues raised for our review are: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to quash his arrest on the grounds that he was arrested without probable cause; (2) whether the trial court erred in permitting a police detective to testify to the prior consistent statements of two witnesses; and (3) whether the defendant was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The essential facts of this case can be briefly stated. On September 6, 1991, an individual who was spraypainting a wall at Western and McClean in Chicago drew a weapon and shot Hector Marquez, George Raman and Ramon Muniz. The shooter then got into the passenger side of a brown Toyota, which drove north on Western Avenue. As the car passed a hair salon, the passenger shot at a group of people, wounding Efrain Torres. At trial, defendant argued that the proof was insufficient to convict him of the charges. Defendant also raised an alibi defense.

We first address defendant's pre-trial argument that he was arrested without probable cause and, therefore, that testimony regarding a line-up conducted at the police station shortly after his arrest should have been suppressed.

Officer Richard Maher testified at the hearing on the defendant's motion to quash the arrest that the shootings occurred at approximately 8:20 p.m. on September 6, 1991. During the investigation police learned that a shooter had fired from the passenger side of a brown Toyota as it travelled north on Western Avenue. Afterinterviewing witnesses, police did not know how many offenders were involved in the shootings, but they knew that a white or silver four-door GM car may have also been involved. On the night of the occurrence, Maher interviewed Angel Carrasquillo who told him that "White Boy Billy" had come to a park located less than a mile from the scene of the shootings and warned numerous gang members that they should leave because someone had just shot members of the Spanish Lords street gang.

Three days afterwards, on September 9, 1991, Officer Maher received information from another police officer that White Boy Billy was involved in the shootings. The officer told Maher that White Boy Billy's real name was William Bobiek and that the source of the information was apparently from someone in the same street gang as White Boy Billy.

Detective Maher viewed a photograph of William Bobiek and then went to the vicinity of California and Fullerton. Maher did not have an arrest warrant. Maher saw the defendant driving a silver or blue Cutlass which Maher believed was consistent with the description given of one of the vehicles seen at the shooting. Maher stopped the defendant and placed him under arrest.

It is well settled that a person may be arrested without a warrant when a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that person has committed a crime. (725 ILCS 107-2(1)(c) (West 1992).) The statutory standard is the same as the constitutional requirement of probable cause. (U.S. Const., amend. IV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. 1, sec. 6; People v. Tisler (1984), 103 Ill. 2d 226, 469 N.E.2d 147, 82 Ill. Dec. 613.) The test is whether a reasonable person, having the knowledge possessed by the officer at the time of the arrest, would believe that the defendant committed the offense. ( Tisler, 103 Ill. 2d at 237; People v. Holloway (1985), 131 Ill. App. 3d 290, 475 N.E.2d 915, 86 Ill. Dec. 536.) In evaluating whether an officer has probable cause to arrest a defendant, the focus is on probabilities and should not be unduly technical in deciding whether probable cause existed. Illinois v. Gates (1983), 462 U.S. 213, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527, 103 S. Ct. 2317; People v. Gutknecht (1984), 121 Ill. App. 3d 839, 460 N.E.2d 60, 77 Ill. Dec. 201.

On a motion to quash an arrest, the burden of proof rests upon the defendant; once the defendant has made a prima facie showing of the lack of probable cause, however, the burden of going forward shifts to the State. ( People v. Garcia (1981), 94 Ill. App. 3d 940, 419 N.E.2d 542, 50 Ill. Dec. 434.) The trial court's finding with regard to the motion to quash an arrest will not be disturbed on appeal absent manifest error. People v. Bajt (1983), 113 Ill. App. 3d 459, 447 N.E.2d 432, 69 Ill. Dec. 215.

In this case, Officer Maher testified he knew the defendant had been named by a source as having been involved with the shootings. While the source of the police information was unknown to Officer Maher, he had been told that the source may have been a member of the defendant's own street gang. In Illinois v. Gates (1983), 462 U.S. 213, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527, 1103 S. Ct. 2317, the Supreme Court indicated that, while hearsay information may support a finding of probable cause to arrest, the reliability of the information, as measured by the veracity of the information's source and the basis of the source's knowledge, are "highly relevant" to the existence of probable cause. ( People v. Tisler (1984), 103 Ill. 2d 226, 238, 469 N.E.2d 147, 82 Ill. Dec. 613.) The defendant emphasizes that Officer Maher had no information regarding the veracity of the informant or the specific basis of the informant's knowledge.

In addition to the informant's information, however, Officer Maher stated that he knew a four-door GM car was at the scene of the shootings. The defendant was arrested only after being seen driving a similar automobile. Officer Maher also knew from a witness interview he had conducted that the defendant had been seen shortly after the shootings in the vicinity of the shootings and that the defendant had information regarding the shootings at that time. Considering the totality of information known to Officer Maher and the practical considerations underlying his responsibility to prevent crime, to apprehend criminals, and to act quickly in appraising data (see People v. Gutknecht (1984), 121 Ill. App. 3d 839, 460 N.E.2d 60, 77 Ill. Dec. 201; People v. Jones (1983), 114 Ill. App. 3d 576, 449 N.E.2d 547, 70 Ill. Dec. 418), we find no manifest error in trial court's ruling denying the motion to quash the arrest.

We next address defendant's claim that the trial court, during the course of trial, improperly accepted into evidence testimony from Officer Richard Curley which bolstered the testimony of two of the State's ...


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