The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Tully
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Honorable Thomas R. Sumner, Judge Presiding.
Following a bench trial, defendant Michael Saunders was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault and sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 34 years and 6 years, respectively. Defendant contends on appeal that collateral estoppel barred the trial court from reconsidering its ruling on defendant's motion to suppress his statement as involuntary and that the court erred in reversing its original finding.
For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
Defendant's convictions arose from a November 6, 1994, incident at 5356 South Bishop in Chicago in which defendant and four co-defendants (Jerry Fincher, Vincent Thames, Terrill Swift and Harold Richardson) were indicted because they had sexually assaulted and murdered the victim, Nina Glover. Several months later, Jerry Fincher voluntarily gave the police information regarding the murder, hoping to "get some consideration" for his friend who had been arrested on a drug charge. Eventually, co-defendants Fincher, Thames and Swift all gave inculpatory statements which incriminated defendant as well. Defendant was arrested on March 11, 1995, and subsequently gave an inculpatory statement.
Hearings on defendant's motion to suppress his statement were held on September 17 and September 24, 1997. Detective Richard Paladino testified that he was notified at 4 p.m. of defendant's arrest. At 4:30 p.m. Paladino advised defendant of his Miranda rights and also told him, as a juvenile, that if he were charged, he would be tried as an adult. Detective Clancey was also present. Defendant stated he understood each of his rights. Paladino told him that everybody involved in the incident was in custody, and the police knew what had happened. Paladino said he was not going to question defendant at that time but told him to think about the incident.
At 4:45 p.m., Paladino returned with Youth Officer Charles Bowen. Paladino again advised defendant as he had done earlier. The youth officer remained for the entire interview.
At 7 p.m., Assistant State's Attorney Valentini questioned defendant after advising him again of his Miranda rights and juvenile warnings. Paladino and the youth officer were present.
Paladino testified that neither he nor anyone in his presence slapped defendant, pulled on his earring or lied to him about telephoning his mother. Defendant did not ask for either his mother or an attorney and did not invoke his right to remain silent.
On cross-examination, Paladino testified that although he attempted to contact defendant's mother by telephone, he did not note the telephone call in his arrest report. Paladino sent Officers Coughlin and Golden to find defendant's mother at 4:05 p.m. When they were unable to locate her, Paladino contacted the youth officer, who was present during defendant's questioning. The plainclothes youth officer advised defendant of his Miranda rights and gave him the juvenile warnings before Paladino questioned him.
Youth Officer Bowen testified that when he first saw defendant at 4:45 p.m., he introduced himself as a youth officer and told defendant he was there to protect defendant's rights as a juvenile. Bowen advised defendant of his rights and told him that he would be tried as an adult if the charges were approved. Defendant stated that he understood. Bowen corroborated that Paladino also advised defendant similarly, and that defendant again indicated his understanding.
At 7 p.m., Bowen reintroduced himself and again advised defendant of all his rights. The assistant State's Attorney then advised defendant regarding his Miranda rights and juvenile warnings. Defendant stated that he understood. The interview lasted 45 minutes. At that time, the assistant State's Attorney explained the nature of both a court-reported and handwritten statement to defendant. Defendant chose to give a handwritten statement. Bowen testified that neither he nor anyone in his presence slapped defendant or pulled his earring. Defendant did not ask for his mother or an attorney and did not ever say he did not understand anything.
Defendant's mother, Emma Saunders, testified that the last time she saw defendant before his arrest was about 5 p.m. the previous day. When he was not home the following morning, she began telephoning hospitals and police stations. She first telephoned the police station at 51st and Wentworth at 11 a.m. on March 11, 1995, and was told defendant was not there. When she telephoned again 15 minutes later, an officer told her that defendant was there. She arrived at the police station about 1 p.m. but was told she could not see defendant. An officer told her that defendant was at the juvenile facility at 11th Street and Hamilton. When she arrived at the juvenile facility, she was told defendant was not there, but she remained until late in the afternoon. She learned that defendant was at the juvenile facility the following day. She initially testified that she lived at 6707 South Aberdeen and subsequently that she lived at 6737 South Aberdeen. She stated she had no telephone but could be contacted at her mother-in-law's telephone number, which she specified.
Defendant testified that he was 15 years old at the time of his arrest. Although he was registered at a high school, the last time he had regularly attended school was in eighth grade. After he was arrested, three police officers came into the room and slapped him on the neck. One officer snatched the earring out of his ear and threw it on the ground. Defendant denied that he was arrested at 4 p.m.; he claimed he was arrested at 10 a.m. He testified that no one advised him of his rights or told him he could be tried as an adult. Defendant said he asked the officers to telephone his mother and gave them his grandmother's telephone number, but the officers did not say they would try to locate his mother. Defendant testified that he asked to have an attorney present during his questioning, but the officers told him to "Shut up." He was not taken before a Judge for a hearing, and he remained in the police station until 10 a.m. the next day. He claimed that the youth officer did ...