APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE JAMES M. SCHREIER, JUDGE PRESIDING.
The Honorable Justice Braden delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley and Wolfson, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Braden
The Honorable Justice BRADEN delivered the opinion of the court:
After a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Robert Rayford, was convicted of the unlawful use of weapons by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24--1.1(a) (West 1994)), and was sentenced to a term of four years and six months of imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
On appeal, defendant contends that his motion to suppress evidence was improperly denied as the computerized report relied upon by the police prompting his arrest was erroneous and there was consequently no probable cause for the arrest.
On January 13, 1994, defendant was sitting on the passenger's side of a car near 4759 South Michigan in Chicago with the motor running. Officer Thomas Eich noticed defendant in the car and ran a check of the license plates through his mobile computer. The results of the search revealed that the car had been reported stolen on December 29, 1993. Officer Eich approached the vehicle and asked defendant to step outside of the car. Defendant was taken into custody. Eich then recovered a diaper bag which was on the floor of the car between defendant's feet. The bag contained two semi-automatic weapons.
Defendant told Officer Eich that he had borrowed the car from his uncle, Ricky Rayford. Officer Eich then contacted Ricky Rayford who confirmed that he loaned his car to defendant. Officer Eich also learned that the vehicle had allegedly been recovered on December 30, 1993, although the record is unclear as to how he obtained this information.
Prior to trial, a hearing was conducted on defendant's motion to suppress evidence at which the aforementioned evidence was adduced through Officer Eich. He was the sole witness at the hearing. After hearing the testimony of the officer and arguments on both sides, the trial court denied defendant's motion, finding as follows:
"It's the officer's state of knowledge at the time, which is crucial through official police channels, the officer was told that the car in which the Defendant was seated was a stolen car, and in fact it had earlier been stolen or reported stolen. It was thus reasonable for the officer to arrest the Defendant and to recover the diaper bag ***, placed between the Defendant's feet and check that bag for any weapons and for the officer's own protection.
The fact that the car was later determined to have been recovered ***, did not affect the officer's right to act on his knowledge at the time of the confrontation with the Defendant and the Defendant did not have the same full name as the owner of the car in question."
Defendant was ultimately convicted of unlawful use of weapons by a felon and sentenced to a term of four years and six months of imprisonment in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He appeals.
The sole issue on appeal is whether defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence was erroneously denied. A court of review will not overturn a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress evidence unless it is manifestly erroneous. People v. Janis, 139 Ill. 2d 300, 565 N.E.2d 633, 152 Ill. Dec. 100 (1990). The proper search of a vehicle by the police necessitates a search warrant unless the circumstances give rise to particular exceptions to the warrant rule. United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 72 L. Ed. 2d 572, 102 S. Ct. 2157 (1982).
If a police officer makes warrantless search he must have probable cause. Probable cause for a warrantless search is established when the officer reasonably believes that he is faced with a situation more serious than a minor traffic violation. People v. Lawrence, 174 Ill. App. 3d 818, 529 N.E.2d 63, 124 Ill. Dec. 346 (1988). If the warrantless search is conducted pursuant to a stale warrant, i.e., where the police fail to update their warrant records, any evidence resulting from the search must be suppressed. In other words, the State may not rely on an inactive warrant to ...