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People v. Quezada

November 27, 2002


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 99-- CF--398 Honorable Philip L. DiMarzio, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Bowman


A jury convicted defendant, Rickey Quezada, of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9--1(a)(1) (West 1998)). The circuit court of Kane County sentenced defendant to 45 years in prison. Defendant argues on appeal that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his confession; and (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel.


On February 11, 1999, 14-year-old Hugo Rodriguez was shot and killed in a classroom at Ombudsman Educational Services in Elgin, the school that both he and defendant attended. Defendant, who was 15 years old, was arrested for Rodriguez's murder on February 16, 1999, in Wheeling. After being taken to the Elgin police station, defendant made a taped statement in which he confessed to shooting Rodriguez. Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress in which he contended that his confession was not voluntary because the police failed to immediately notify his parents of his arrest and the youth officer assigned to him did not adequately protect his interests.

A. Evidence Relating to Defendant's Confession

At the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress, several Elgin police officers testified about contacts they had with defendant prior to his arrest for Rodriguez's murder. Officer Thomas Clancy testified that he arrested defendant on March 30, 1998, for unlawful use of a weapon. When defendant was asked for the phone number of one of his parents, he provided his father's phone number. Officer Sean Rafferty interviewed defendant in connection with the March 30 arrest. At that time, Rafferty advised defendant of his Miranda rights and his right to have a parent with him during questioning. Defendant's father, Nicholas Quezada (Nicholas), came to the station but was not present during defendant's interrogation.

Officer Jeffrey Adam testified that on June 22, 1998, he had contact with defendant regarding a probation violation. At that time, defendant indicated that he was living with his father. Adam arrested defendant on October 13, 1998, for unlawful possession of cannabis. Defendant told Adam then that he lived with his mother.

Four Elgin police officers testified regarding the events of February 16, 1999. Detective Jesse Padron testified that, in the late morning of February 16, 1999, he and Detective Chris Troiola went to the home of defendant's mother, Carolyn Quezada (Carolyn), to see if she had any information as to defendant's whereabouts. Carolyn did not know where defendant was and had not seen him for the past five days. She indicated that defendant lived with her but went back and forth between her residence and his father's residence.

Later that day, Padron and several other detectives went to an apartment complex in Wheeling where they found defendant and arrested him at 9:57 p.m. One of the detectives, James Lullo, was a juvenile officer. Troiola asked Lullo to accompany him and the other detectives to act as defendant's juvenile officer. Upon defendant's arrest, Lullo advised him that he was a juvenile officer and that if defendant had any questions he should ask him. Padron, Troiola, and Lullo drove defendant back to Elgin. When they were in the squad car, Troiola advised defendant that they had a murder warrant for him. Padron told defendant that he was going to be tried as an adult and that this was a very serious case. He also told defendant that they would talk to him about the charges when they got to the police station. Padron testified that they did not discuss the case during the ride back to Elgin. Defendant's demeanor was calm during this time.

The detectives and defendant arrived at the Elgin police station sometime before 11 p.m. Padron and Lullo accompanied defendant to the interview room. Lullo advised defendant that he was a juvenile officer and would be present during the interview. Lullo told defendant that he needed to contact defendant's legal guardian. Defendant told Lullo to call his father. Lullo asked another detective, Leigh Rawson, to contact defendant's father.

Approximately 10 to 15 minutes after Rawson called defendant's father, Lullo read defendant his Miranda rights and the interview began. Detective Troiola was also present for the interview. Padron stated that he interviewed defendant for approximately 15 minutes before they began taping. Neither of defendant's parents came to the police department during the interview process.

Padron described the interview as normal, calm, and nonconfrontational. Defendant was easygoing and calm. When the officers asked defendant a question he did not want to answer, defendant told the officers that he did not wish to answer the question. When the interview was over, defendant asked the officers to play back the tape so he could hear it.

On cross-examination, Padron testified that when he spoke to defendant's mother she told him that defendant lived with her but that he also stayed with his father. Padron further testified that prior to the interview Lullo told him that defendant's father had been contacted and said he was not coming to the station. Padron did not tell defendant that his father was not coming. He did not know whether Lullo so advised defendant. In the recorded interview, defendant acknowledged that he had been advised of his Miranda rights and his right to have his mother present and had agreed to speak to the officers without his mother or an attorney being present.

Rawson testified that he called defendant's father, Nicholas, at Lullo's request. A "younger female" answered the phone. After Rawson identified himself and asked for Nicholas, another female got on the phone and asked what he wanted. Nicholas then got on the phone and Rawson advised him that defendant was at the Elgin police department on a murder warrant. Nicholas asked whether defendant turned himself in and where the police found him. Rawson told Nicholas that he had the right to come to the station and speak to defendant. Nicholas said, "Thank you, officer," and hung up the phone. Rawson then told Lullo that he had notified defendant's father, and it did not sound like he was coming to the station.

Rawson testified that he is a juvenile officer. The Elgin police department's procedure with respect to notifying a juvenile's parents was to contact a parent as soon as possible after arriving at any facility with a juvenile in custody. Rawson testified that he called defendant's father at approximately 10:55 p.m.

Detective Troiola testified that, prior to defendant's arrest, the police did not have a clear understanding as to where defendant lived. They had some reports that he lived with his father and others that he lived with his mother.

Troiola testified that defendant was arrested at 9:57 p.m. The ride from Wheeling to Elgin took approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Defendant appeared unconcerned about his situation. He never cried or appeared nervous. Troiola's version of the events surrounding defendant's arrest and interview was substantially the same as that of Detective Padron. Troiola recalled that Detective Lullo read defendant his Miranda rights from a printed card and added at the end that defendant had the right to have one or both of his parents present while he was being questioned. Defendant waived those rights in Troiola's presence. Troiola testified that after the interview was over defendant asked him to play back portions of the tape. Defendant indicated that he wanted to make sure he did not say anything that would inculpate his friends.

Detective Lullo testified that, when acting in his capacity as a juvenile officer, his duties in an interview situation are to protect the juvenile's rights, make sure he is protected from any undue physical harm or emotional stress, and explain the proceedings, if necessary. Lullo stated that, after arriving at the police station with defendant, he asked defendant for the name of his "legal responsible parent." Defendant said, "Call my dad," and gave Lullo his father's phone number. Later, Lullo told defendant that his father had been notified of his arrest, but he did not know whether defendant's father was coming to the station.

When Padron and Troiola came into the interview room, Lullo told defendant that they were the case investigators and, if defendant did not understand anything they asked him, he should ask Lullo to rephrase the question. Lullo also told him that he would advise him of his Miranda rights. Lullo read defendant his Miranda rights from a printed card. In addition, he told defendant that he had the right to have a parent or guardian present during questioning. Defendant said that he understood all of his rights and wanted to waive them. Lullo stated that the untaped portion of the interview lasted approximately one hour. They took a break and returned for the taped interview. Defendant was confident and calm during the interview. When defendant told the officers that he did not want to answer certain questions, the officers did not press him to answer them.

On cross-examination, Lullo testified that he also assisted in the interview by asking specific questions related to defendant's gang involvement. Lullo did so because the other detectives conducting the interview did not know a lot about gangs. Lullo is a gang specialist who has been qualified as an expert to testify in court about gang activity. When ...

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