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People v. Capuzi

November 04, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
V. LOUIS CAPUZI,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
V. PAUL KOROLUK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
V. FRANK PEREZ,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 97--CF--3188 97--CF--3193 97--CF--3189 98--CF--237 97--CF--3190 98--CF--238 97--CF--3191 98--CF--239 97--CF--3192 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding. Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 97--CF--3188 97--CF--3189 98--CF--237 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding. Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. Nos. 97--CF--3192 97--CF--3193 98--CF--238 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Bowman

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

4 November 1999

Defendants, Louis Capuzi, Paul Koroluk, and Frank Perez, were indicted for residential burglary (720 ILCS 5/19--3(a) (West 1996)). They moved to quash search warrants for their residences and to suppress evidence seized pursuant to the search warrants. The trial court granted defendants' motions on the grounds that the descriptions of property to be seized contained in the warrants were too general and that the Judge who issued the warrants was not a neutral and detached magistrate. The State filed a certificate of impairment, and this appeal ensued. The State contends that (1) each defendant had standing to challenge only the search of his own residence and lacked standing to contest the search of any other residence; (2) the search warrants' general descriptions of the property to be seized were appropriate under the circumstances; (3) even if the search warrants were too general, the officers who executed the warrants were entitled to rely in good faith on their validity; and (4) there was no evidence that the Judge who issued the search warrants was biased against defendants.

The warrants at issue were based on a sworn complaint dated November 19, 1997, and executed by Sergeant Thomas West of the Chicago police department. West stated that he belonged to a multijurisdictional task force that was investigating over 100 residential burglaries committed in Chicago and surrounding counties between September 1996 and November 1997. The task force had focused its investigation on Koroluk and Capuzi. Both Koroluk's residence at 2153 West Race Street in Chicago and Capuzi's residence at 702 North Rockwell in Chicago, which was also the residence of Capuzi's stepson Perez, had been under surveillance.

West alleged that on November 14, 1997, Koroluk, Capuzi, and Perez were observed loading a large dark bag into a maroon GMC Jimmy truck at Capuzi's residence. Defendants left in the truck and returned three hours later in a different vehicle. West further alleged that on November 15, 1997, the homes of Kun Ho Kim and Alan and Camy Gould, both of Long Grove, were burglarized. At both the Kim and the Gould homes, the burglars cut telephone wires to circumvent the alarm systems, opened doors with pry bars, disabled the motion sensors, and then went to the attics to further dismantle the alarm systems. Police officers found similar sets of footprints outside both homes. The complaint did not set forth the items that were stolen from the Gould and Kim residences other than to say that a set of golf clubs was taken from the Kim residence.

On the evening of November 15, the Goulds arrived at their home to find a "red Blazer type" vehicle parked in their driveway. The Goulds were able to see the driver of the vehicle, whom they later identified as Koroluk. Approximately 1½ hours after the Gould and Kim burglaries, Koroluk and Capuzi were videotaped at Capuzi's home unloading a set of golf clubs and a black bag from the maroon GMC Jimmy. After leaving 702 North Rockwell, Koroluk and Perez drove to Koroluk's home in the GMC Jimmy and took items into Koroluk's house.

On November 19, 1997, Judge Booras signed warrants authorizing searches of defendants' persons and their residences. The portions of the warrants relevant to the issues before us are identical and provided for the seizure of the following items:

"Jewelry; United States currency; golf clubs; firearms; proof of residency or occupancy; any and all documents from National Car Rental System, Inc.; and any and all stolen property, shoes, masks, gloves, burglary tools and all instrumentalities used in furtherance of the offense of Burglary."

Defendants moved to quash the search warrants and suppress all evidence seized as a result of the warrants on the grounds that probable cause was lacking, the description of items to be seized was impermissibly general, and the issuing Judge, Judge Booras, was not a neutral and detached magistrate. On appeal, the State challenges the trial court's rulings on the latter two grounds.

On June 11, 1998, a hearing was held on the motions to quash and suppress evidence. Perez and Koroluk testified about remarks Judge Booras made about Koroluk. Koroluk testified that in 1985 he was tried in Lake County for a criminal offense. Judge Booras, who at that time was an assistant State's Attorney, prosecuted Koroluk. Koroluk was convicted, but his conviction was reversed on appeal. Koroluk testified that the first time he appeared before Judge Booras in the matter at issue, Judge Booras said, "I've been waiting for you, Paul. You remember me, don't you?" The second time he appeared before Judge Booras, Judge Booras said, "I call old friends by their first names, right Paul?" Judge Booras also stated that he and Koroluk "went back a while" and that he was the prosecutor on a case against Koroluk about 10 years ago. Perez testified that he heard Judge Booras say that he remembered Koroluk and was waiting for him.

The trial court also heard testimony from Sergeant West pertaining to the search warrants. West testified that he prepared the warrants with help from a Lake County assistant State's Attorney. In West's view, the warrants were not limited to recovering property stolen from the Gould and Kim residences. They also included property stolen in the approximately 100 other burglaries between September 1996 and November 1997 in which defendants were suspects.

West testified that, at the time he prepared the complaint for the search warrants, he did not have a list of the property taken from the Gould and Kim residences in his possession. West admitted that other officers, however, did have detailed descriptions of the stolen property. West further testified that on the night of November 15 the members of the jurisdictional task force communicated to each other what had been found at the Gould and Kim residences. He stated, "We had numerous devices of communication between us and between the various jurisdictions." West also testified that prior to seeking the search warrants he had spoken with Officer Pranke of the Lake County sheriff's department, the investigating officer for the Gould and Kim burglaries, who had given him information that he included in the complaint for the search warrants. Pranke had talked with the Goulds and the Kims about the burglaries.

West also testified that there were several suburban investigators who had "much more detailed knowledge than [he] did of specific types of shoes to be seized." West stated that he was aware that the officers had this specific information before he signed the complaint. When asked about "burglary tools," West said, " [I]n this particular investigation, there were pry bars and sledge hammers used at ...


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