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09/11/95 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. PAUL MECCIA

September 11, 1995

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
PAUL MECCIA, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE MICHAEL C. CLOSE, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Presiding Justice Campbell delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley, J., and Braden, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell

PRESIDING JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff, the People of the State of Illinois, appeal an order of the circuit court of Cook County granting defendant Paul Meccia's motion to dismiss the information filed against him.

The record on appeal indicates the following facts. On November 10, 1991, defendant was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, battery, and unlawful use of a weapon. Defendant was released on his own recognizance later that morning, but was to return to court for a preliminary hearing two days later. On November 12, 1991, defendant appeared at his preliminary hearing. The trial court asked defendant whether he was represented by counsel; defendant replied that he was not. The trial court told defendant that a public defender would be appointed, then advised defendant to be seated and that a public defender would speak with him momentarily. The assistant state's attorney asked that defendant's case be transferred to another branch; defendant was charged with misdemeanors and was present only because a codefendant had been charged with a felony. The trial court replied that it did not yet have case file to transfer. The trial court then passed the case at the assistant state's attorney's request.

After the case was passed, defendant was taken into custody by a detective from Area Six Violent Crimes. Defendant was taken upstairs from the courtroom to the police station, where he was questioned by the detective and an assistant state's attorney.

The case was recalled later that day. The State sought to nol-pros the misdemeanor charges. At this point, the trial court was informed by the assistant state's attorney and the public defender that defendant had been taken into custody regarding the same incident for which defendant had already been arrested and released on bond. The assistant state's attorney acknowledged that the misdemeanor charges should be declared a nol-pros before defendant was taken into custody a second time. The trial court asked that defendant be returned to the courtroom to be informed that the State had declared a nol-pros as to the misdemeanor charges, noting that he had been in custody for several hours and that what had occurred was "really improper." The case was then passed again.

When the case was recalled later that day, the State again apologized for failing to nol-pros the case earlier. The State told the trial court that the case was still being examined by felony review. The trial court then told defendant that the misdemeanor case was being dropped, but that there might be more investigation of the matter. The trial court then asked whether defendant was going tobe released at this point. A person identified in the record as "Officer" stated that defendant was going to be taken back upstairs. The trial court stated that he would give defendant an opportunity to confer with counsel. The public defender then stated that defendant was invoking his right to remain silent and did not wish to speak to the police or the State's Attorney's office. The transcript of proceedings indicates that the proceedings ended at this point.

The State filed the felony charges at issue here later that afternoon. On December 4, 1991, following a preliminary hearing, the trial court found probable cause and continued the case for arraignment. On December 16, 1991, defendant was charged by information with attempted first degree murder and attempted disarming of a police officer.

On August 27, 1992, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the information on the ground that the actions of the police and the State violated his rights secured by the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments to the United States Constitution as well as the Constitution and laws of Illinois. Following a hearing on the matter, the trial court granted defendant's motion, stating in relevant part as follows:

"This is really very serious, [an] outlandish example of overreaching by the State and the Chicago Police Department and the State's Attorney's Office.

What really galls me about this case is that in this system, in this case [the assistant state's attorney], who is assigned to Branch 42, she ought to know better, keeps Judge David Linn in the dark as to what is going on at the time and permitting the Chicago Police Officers to continue to violate the rights of Mr. Meccia whether in fact the Chicago Police Officers [sic] had indicated to [the assistant state's attorney] that that was his intent in the first instance to take him into custody, but he clearly did and not without her knowledge with Mr. Meccia being interrogated and illegally detained in that facility while the court was then in session.

Mr. Meccia, having in the first instance, gone to that court, pursuant to the provisions of his bail bond and having business in the court, I think that this is a case deserving of the imposition of serious sanctions and in this case, I will dismiss the [information] against the defendant Paul Meccia."

The State filed a motion to reconsider on September 18, 1992. The trial court denied the State's motion. The State filed a ...


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