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June 30, 1995


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable John J. Mannion, Judge Presiding.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Hartman delivered the opinion of the court: McCORMICK, J., concurs. DiVITO, J., dissents.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hartman

JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

A jury found defendant, Jacqueline Montanez, age 15 at the time of the offenses, guilty of the murders of Hector Reyes and Jimmy Cruz. She was sentenced to natural life in prison. She challenges the voluntariness of her confession and the voir dire of prospective jurors.

Defendant moved to suppress her statements as involuntary because (1) she was not first informed of her Miranda rights or (2) that she would be tried as an adult; (3) her mental state and ingestion of drugs and alcohol made her incapable of understanding her rights; (4) the statements were procured by material misrepresentation; and (5) the statements were taken before she had access to a youth officer or her parents.

At the suppression hearing, Chicago police detective Ernest Halvorsen testified that on May 13, 1992, at 9 p.m., he and his partner, detective Renaldo Guevara, arrested defendant on the street for the May 12 murders of Hector Reyes and Jimmy Cruz. He knew defendant was a juvenile. She was taken to the Area Five Police Headquarters and placed in an interview room, where Halvorsen informed her of her Miranda rights, and that she could "possibly" be charged as an adult. Defendant indicated that she understood these rights.

Detective Halvorsen asked that a police squad car from the 14th District be sent to defendant's home in an attempt to locate her family. Detective Guevara later told him that defendant's mother had been contacted, but said she would get to the police station as soon as she could. Halvorsen was unaware that defendant's mother was at Area Five or had not been allowed to see defendant.

After the arrest, detective Halvorsen attempted to contact a youth officer. The youth officer on duty in an adjoining station at that time was busy. Halvorsen did not check again to see whether the youth officer later became available. An Area Five youth sergeant informed him that no Area Five youth officer was then available either, but that he would send the first available officer, who was to come on duty at midnight.

Nevertheless, at about 10 p.m., detective Halvorsen began to question defendant. No youth officer had yet appeared. He again read her the Miranda warnings. She responded that she understood each of her rights and would make a statement. He had a 20 to 30 minute conversation with her and then left her alone in the interview room.

Youth officer Robert Pulia and Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) John Dillon arrived a little past midnight. Detective Halvorsen told Pulia the facts of the case. Later, at about 12:30 a.m., Pulia had a private conversation with defendant. He knew detective Halvorsen already had taken a statement from her. He advised her of her Miranda rights anyway, informed her that he was a youth officer, he was present to protect her rights, and he would observe how she was being treated. Pulia told her that her mother had been contacted, based upon what he was told. Pulia was present for the next three conversations detective Halvorsen and ASA Dillon had with defendant, at 1:15 a.m., 5:15 a.m., and 6:15 a.m.

At 1:15 a.m., ASA Dillon told defendant who he was. She said she understood. Dillon advised defendant of her Miranda rights and that she would be treated as an adult, which defendant again stated that she understood. She then spoke to Dillon for about 20 to 30 minutes and agreed to make a statement in the presence of a court reporter. She was given food. Alone with Dillon, defendant told him that she had been treated well and had no complaints.

At 5:15 a.m., a court reporter took defendant's statement, upon ASA Dillon's questions, which was transcribed at 6:15 a.m., and reviewed by Dillon and defendant. Dillon had defendant read a couple of sentences out loud, to make sure she could read and understand English; then he read the rest of the statement to her. Defendant made corrections where appropriate and signed the statement. Dillon saw no one in a waiting area in Area Five Headquarters. He did not know that anyone was asking to speak with defendant.

According to detective Halvorsen, officer Pulia, and ASA Dillon, defendant did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs during their conversations with her. They smelled no alcohol or other drugs. Defendant was sober and coherent, and understood and answered all questions asked of her. Defendant did not state that she was high or under the influence of alcohol.

Defendant's mother, Sandra Lorenzi, testified at the suppression hearing. On May 13, 1992, at 10 p.m., she and her husband were at home. Two police detectives came there and first told her that defendant had witnessed a murder and was in protective custody. She asked to see her daughter. The detectives told her that she could not at that time because they had her in custody. One officer told her that he would let her know when she could see her daughter. Before they left, however, the officers informed her that defendant was involved in a murder.

Lorenzi waited for the police to call. They did not. At about 2 a.m. she nevertheless went to the police station, where she was told to wait in a waiting room. Instead, she went upstairs but a detective sent her back downstairs. She waited about an hour and one-half and then went back upstairs. The detective told her to "get the hell out" of there because the police were talking with her daughter. She went back upstairs every hour or so. She was not permitted to see defendant until about 8:30 a.m., when she and a friend were allowed into a room to see her. Defendant appeared to be "gagging," and her eyes were bulging. She had seen defendant on alcohol and other drugs before, and defendant appeared the same way. It was difficult to understand defendant. She did not appear to recognize her mother. Lorenzi believed defendant was on drugs or alcohol that morning. After about five minutes, Lorenzi was told by police to leave.

Following argument, the court denied defendant's motion to suppress, finding that the police "exercised a good faith effort after the defendant was arrested when they notified the mother of her incarceration" and that the "only real issue is whether or not the mother was allowed access to the daughter at the police station."

A grand jury indicted defendant on June 19, 1992 for first degree murder and related charges.

At trial, evidence was adduced showing that on May 12, 1992, shortly after midnight, a witness heard laughing and giggling coming from an area in Humboldt Park near a park lavatory. Three women were seen there, one of whom was taller than the other two, and two men. The taller woman, later identified as defendant, was seen entering the ladies washroom with one of the men. A noise that sounded like a firecracker was heard, and the taller woman emerged from the washroom alone. The two shorter women were seen walking with the second man. One went behind the man. A flash was seen behind the second man, and he fell to the ground. The two shorter women ran, the taller one kicked the body and ran in the direction of the other two.

Chicago police detective John Dolan, at Humboldt Park during the early morning hours of May 12, 1992, observed the bodies of Jimmy Cruz on the sidewalk and Hector Reyes in the washroom. Next to the body of Cruz he found a .25 caliber automatic shell casing. He also recovered a bullet near Reyes.

On May 11, 1992, at 11 p.m., defendant and two other girls, "Mauri," and "Tuti," all members of the Disciples street gang, were seen in a white car by Yvette Rodriguez. She declined to go with them to do a "hit." At 1 a.m., Rodriguez saw the same three young women again, who told her that they had shot the guys. Defendant said that she shot one in the head and back, pointing to the back of her head.

Later that day, Rodriguez was arrested for possession of a controlled substance; she had been arrested earlier on a drug charge, which was still pending. While at the police station, Rodriguez claimed that she knew about the double murder. She drove around with the police looking for defendant, Mauri and Tuti. The next day she went with the police to a funeral home in an undercover van. She pointed out defendant and Mauri at the funeral, both of whom were arrested.

Detective Halvorsen testified that on May 13, 1992, at about 8 p.m., he was in an unmarked car at a funeral home in the area of Armitage and Kimball. He had the names of Loca D, whom he identified as defendant, and Mauri and Tuti. All three were members of the Maniac Latin Disciples (MLD). The funeral was for a member of the MLD who had been killed a few days earlier. The witness pointed out defendant and Mauri, and both were arrested. Halvorsen testified concerning the taking of the statements from defendant, consistent with his testimony at the hearing on the motion to suppress. Halvorsen identified defendant in court as the person who made the statements. ASA Dillon also testified as he did at the hearing, reading to the jury defendant's signed statement as transcribed by the court reporter. In the statement defendant confessed to shooting Reyes in the lavatory, and to giving the gun to Mauri, who then shot Cruz on the sidewalk.

Following the introduction of related evidence, the State rested. The court denied defendant's motion for a directed verdict.

Defendant's mother testified on her behalf as she did at the suppression hearing.

Defendant testified for the defense. Her nickname in the MLD was Loca D, which meant Crazy Disciple. She used marijuana, T-sticks, cocaine, and acid, and was hospitalized for an overdose in 1987. She also drank alcohol. Defendant was with Marilyn Mulero ("Mauri") getting high on May 11, 1992, at 5 or 6 p.m., when they met Rodriguez. They joined her in her car and drove around, stopping to buy drugs and got high at about 7 p.m. Tuti joined them. Defendant took five tabs of acid and began to hallucinate. The next thing she remembered was seeing a gun at Humboldt Park. While they were driving around, they had seen Cruz and Reyes in a car. There was no plan. Cruz asked if they wanted to get high with him, and they followed him to Humboldt Park. Defendant denied going into the washroom with Reyes, contending instead that Rodriguez did so. She opened the door and saw Rodriguez shoot Reyes. Rodriguez pointed the gun at her and told her she had not seen or heard anything. Rodriguez then shot Cruz in the back of the head.

When defendant went to a funeral the next day, she was arrested. She had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. She had also used cocaine and T-sticks, and drunk hard liquor. She remembered being shown her statement, transcribed by the court reporter at the police station, but did not remember signing it. The police made her confess, and her statement was not the truth. She misspelled her own name 11 times because she was high. The police did not beat her up or strike her. She received food, soda, and cigarettes. She confessed because she was scared and tricked by the police. The defense rested.

The jury found defendant guilty of the murders of Cruz and Reyes. She was sentenced to the mandated term of natural life in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. She appeals.

Defendant first asserts that the circuit court erred in denying her motion to suppress her confession where the evidence shows that she was denied access to a concerned adult. She argues that failing to have either a youth officer or a parent present is material to determining the voluntariness of her statement since she was a minor.

The facts in this case make it abundantly clear that defendant had undergone police questioning and confessed prior to seeing either a youth officer or her mother. Later, other police interviews were undertaken even while the mother was at the police station asking to see her 15 year old daughter, but was kept from her. It is not a sufficient answer to say that since defendant later was tried as an adult, meaningful notice need not have been given and consequential protections need not have been afforded her.

The investigating officer, detective Halvorsen, testified defendant arrived at Area Five at 9:30 p.m. He asked others to notify her mother between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. One youth officer on duty was busy; he made no effort to recontact her. The Area Five youth sergeant told him no one else was then accessible, and that the first person available after midnight would ...

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