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02/24/95 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. ANTHONY ALEXANDER

February 24, 1995

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ANTHONY ALEXANDER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE LORETTA DOUGLAS, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Rehearing Denied May 26, 1995.

Presiding Justice McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court: Rakowski and Zwick, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnamara

PRESIDING JUSTICE McNAMARA delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Anthony Alexander, was charged with possession of stolen motor vehicle parts and possession of motor vehicle parts with removed or defaced vehicle identification numbers (VINs) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, pars. 4-103(a)(1), (a)(4), respectively) in case number 92 CR 3535. (The latter charge was amended before trial to reflect that defendant knowingly removed and/or defaced the VINs on stolen motor vehicle parts.) In case number 92 CR 3536, defendant was charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle part. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 95 1/2, par. 4-103(a)(1).) After a bench trial, defendant was found guilty as charged in case number 92 CR 3535. A month later, defendant was tried on case number 92 CR 3536. At the close of the State's case in chief, the trial court granted defendant's motion for a directed finding. On the same date, defendant pleaded guilty to an unrelated stalking charge and was then sentenced to four years' imprisonment on the charges. (The conviction for stalking is not involved in this appeal.)

On appeal of his convictions under case number 92 CR 3535, defendant contends that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence; (2) determining that he lacked standing to challenge the police search of the garage in which the evidence used against him was seized; and (3) finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant also contends that his trial counsel was ineffective. Finally, defendant contends that he was denied due process of law where three years elapsed between the issuance of the warrant for his arrest under case number 92 CR 3536 and the subsequent arrest.

The relevant facts are as follows. Defendant was arrested on January 28, 1992, at approximately 11 a.m., behind a house located at 11558 South Church Street in Chicago. The arrest was made by Chicago police detective Frederick Schulz and at least one other officer pursuant to an arrest warrant that had been issued in November 1988. After his arrest, defendant was indicted for possession of an engine, hood, windshield and tirewell cover taken from a 1988 Cadillac automobile which had been reported stolen and a transmission and windshield from another 1988 Cadillac reported stolen. Defendant was also indicted for knowingly removing VINs from parts taken from a third stolen 1988 Cadillac.

Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence seized by the police at the time of his arrest. Defendant contended that the police had no lawful authority to enter the garage at the South Church address, search for stolen parts, and seize such parts since he was not in the garage when he was arrested. Defendant also moved to suppress all statements he made to police after his arrest.

At the hearing on the motions, Douglas Jones, who lived a few houses away from 11558 South Church, testified for defendant that shortly before defendant's arrest, he asked defendant to look at his car because it was overheating. Jones parked his car in front of 11558 South Church, and defendant inspected it. Defendant told Jones he thought the car needed a thermostat but that he could not fix it because someone else had the key to the garage in the backyard, where he kept his tools. Defendant then went to the backyard to get water to put in Jones' car. When he looked in the backyard where defendant had gone, Jones observed police officers handcuffing defendant and two other men. Jones testified that the arrest took place in the yard, not in the garage. He did not see defendant or the other two men enter the garage at any time before, during, or after the arrest. Jones stated that defendant operated an auto parts business out of the garage.

Tyrone Wilson also testified for defendant that he lived next door to 11558 South Church and at the time of defendant's arrest was in his own backyard. Shortly before the arrest, Wilson saw defendant go into the backyard at 11558 South Church to retrieve water from a hose. At that point, Wilson saw two policemen enter the backyard and handcuff defendant. Defendant was not in the garage when the officers arrested him. Wilson testified that defendant occasionally worked on cars out of the garage.

Defendant testified that the house located at 11558 South Church belonged to his sister and that he did not reside there. He sometimes worked on cars there with his brother-in-law. At the time of his arrest, he was at the side of the house turning the water off. He could not get into the garage that day because his brother-in-law had the key. On cross-examination, defendant stated that he did not see any of the officers enter the garage or take anything from it at the time of his arrest.

At the close of defendant's presentation, the State requested a directed finding on the motions, arguing that defendant lacked standing to challenge the search of the garage. The State based its argument on defendant's testimony that he did not live at 11558 South Church and on the testimony of defendant and the other two witnesses that he did not enter the garage on the date of his arrest. The court sustained the State's motion for all items that were seized in the garage, agreeing that defendant lacked standing to challenge the police search of the garage and the seizure of items found therein because he did not own the garage. The trial court also sustained the State's motion as to items seized from the backyard. The court denied the State's motion as to defendant's motion to quash his arrest on the basis of the State's failure to produce the arrest warrant. Defendant, however, later withdrew his motion to quash arrest after he was presented with the warrant.

The State proceeded to trial on case number 92 CR 3535. Detective Schulz testified that he went to 11558 South Church on the date in question to execute a warrant for defendant's arrest. Schulz stated that he arrested defendant in the garage. When he approached the garage, he saw various vehicle parts inside the garage. Defendant and two other men were in the garage. Schulz recovered from the garage a stolen 1988 Cadillac motor, hood, windshield, and other small parts as well as a transmission with the VIN removed and another hood with the VIN removed. Schulz stated that the parts he observed were from cars that had been reported stolen. The parts were seized, and defendant was arrested.

After his arrest, defendant was transported to the police station where he gave a statement. Defendant told Schulz that the house at 11558 South Church and the garage where the parts were found belonged to his sister and that he lived at a different address. He told ...


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