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04/15/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. STEVE TINGLE

April 15, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
STEVE TINGLE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE JOHN MADDEN, JUDGE PRESIDING.

As Corrected May 6, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Campbell, P.j. and Buckley, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

Steve Tingle (Tingle) was charged with two armed robberies committed on separate days, November 10 and November 13, 1992. The evidence that led to Tingle's arrest, trials, and convictions was seized by a police officer from Tingle's car on November 14, 1992, after the defendant was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The defendant was tried separately for each offense. Each time a jury convicted him. He received a 15-year sentence for the armed robbery of Eugene Ogroden (Ogroden) and a consecutive seven-year sentence for the armed robbery of Martin Aguilera (Aguilera). The cases are consolidated on appeal.

The defendant's primary contention is that the searches and seizures of November 14 violated his Fourth Amendment rights, requiring a reversal of both convictions. We affirm the convictions.

FACTS

Hearing on Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence

The State's only witness was Officer Oscar Brown (Brown).

On November 14, 1992, at around 9:10 p.m., Brown and his partner, Steve Smith, went to the area of 215 North Kostner in Chicago, Illinois. They were responding to a telephoned citizens's complaintthat there was narcotics activity in the area. There was no testimony identifying the caller or the caller's exact complaint. Officer Brown did not receive the call. When the police arrived, they saw a group of people at the mouth of an alley and a number of cars blocking one side of Kostner. Brown saw Tingle standing in the crowd. Brown approached Tingle, and as he did so, Tingle yelled "5-0". This phrase is used to alert narcotics sellers that the police are coming.

The crowd then began to disperse. Brown arrested Tingle for disorderly conduct because he shouted "5-0" and because he was with the crowd. Other members of the crowd were arrested on unspecified narcotics charges. Tingle asked if Brown "could secure his vehicle," which was double parked on the 4400 block of West End Street in Chicago, Illinois, about one-and-one-half blocks away. The officers drove to where Tingle's car was double parked.

When he got to the car, Brown found it unlocked, the keys inside. Brown opened the door, turning on the interior light. Brown then observed the butt of a pistol stuck between the arm rest and the driver's seat. Brown recovered the pistol and searched the car for additional weapons. When he searched the unlocked glove compartment, he found another gun and two wallets. Opening the wallets, Brown found that they contained photo identification that did not match that of Tingle. Testimony during trial would establish that these wallets belonged to Ogroden and Aguilera, both victims of armed robberies.

Tingle testified that he was on his way home around 7:00 p.m. when his car quit between Kostner and Kildare. He brought the car to a stop and double parked it. Tingle turned on the headlights and tried to start the car, but nothing happened. He then turned off the lights and checked under the hood. Seeing no obvious problems, he again attempted to start the car. When that failed, Tingle got out his jumper cables, attached them to the battery, and tried to flag down someone to jump the car.

When Tingle could not get anybody to stop, he went to a store to call his mother and his friend Michael Beasley. He called both and asked them to come and give him a hand. He then left the store and went back to the car. He waited for around 20 minutes. When nobody came, he again attempted to find someone to jump his car. As he walked down the street, he saw a police officer.

Tingle approached the officer and told him that his car had stopped. The officer, however, grabbed Tingle and put handcuffs on him.

The trial court denied the defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence.

Trial of the Robbery of Eugene Ogroden:

Tingle was first tried for the armed robbery of Eugene Ogroden. At this trial, Ogroden testified about the circumstances of the robbery.

Ogroden left work at about 5:00 p.m. on November 10, 1992. As he walked down Hubbard Street to his car, Ogroden noticed a dark, late model car come from behind him. Two men were in the car which stopped about a quarter of a block away. One man got out of the car and began to approach Ogroden as he walked under a viaduct.

The man demanded Ogroden's wallet. At first, Ogroden protested. Then he noticed that the man was holding his right hand extended on his side. In his hand, the man held a chrome-plated revolver. Ogroden continued to protest, but the man once again demanded his wallet. Ogroden complied, handing his wallet to the robber. The wallet was made of orange nylon and contained $1,200 in cash, credit cards, a driver's license, and a couple of uncashed payroll checks.

Once he had the wallet, the man told Ogroden to turn around and walk back in the direction from which he came. Ogroden turned and walked a few steps, turned to go back, and was told to "keep going." Ogroden then took a few more steps and heard a gunshot. Ogroden believed the man then got back into the car. Ogroden saw the car go around the corner and leave the area.

The robbery took place at approximately 5:40 p.m.. At about 6:40, Ogroden went to the police at the Chicago Avenue police station and reported the incident.

Late on November 14, 1992, the police contacted Ogroden and asked him to come to the station. They told him that they had recovered his wallet and that they wanted him to view a line-up. During the line-up, Ogroden identified Tingle as the man who had robbed him.

When Tingle's lawyer produced Floyd Chatman as an alibi witness, he tried to ask him on direct examination if he was telling the truth and not lying simply because he was Tingle's friend. The State objected to this line of questioning, and the objection was sustained. On cross examination, the State played up the friendship, suggesting that Chatman might be an unreliable witness without directly asking if he was lying. On ...


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