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People v. Carrera

December 19, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
RUDOLFO CARRERA, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Freeman

Docket No. 91465-Agenda 16-January 2002.

Following a stipulated bench trial, the circuit court of Cook County convicted defendant of three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(C), (a)(2)(D) (West 1996)) and sentenced him to concurrent terms of 15 years of imprisonment. The appellate court found that the police did not have authority to arrest defendant. Consequently, the court reversed the circuit court's denial of defendant's second motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence and remanded for further proceedings. 321 Ill. App. 3d 582. We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal (177 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

BACKGROUND

On August 26, 1997, Chicago police officers conducted surveillance of defendant's home in Franklin Park, Illinois. The officers observed defendant leave his home and drive to a storage facility in Schiller Park, Illinois. Defendant entered the storage facility and returned to his car carrying a bag. Upon his return home, the officers confronted defendant and learned that the bag contained a controlled substance. The officers arrested defendant. Subsequently, defendant signed consent forms for the search of his home and a locker at the storage facility in Schiller Park. The officers recovered controlled substances from defendant's garage and storage locker.

The State charged defendant with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Following his indictment, defendant moved to quash his arrest and to suppress the evidence recovered by the police officers. Defendant argued that the officers did not have probable cause to effectuate his arrest. Consequently, defendant maintained, the contents of the bag, as well as certain evidence recovered from his home, garage, and storage locker, should be suppressed.

The circuit court held a hearing on defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. At the hearing, defendant testified that on August 26, 1997, he retrieved a brown paper bag from his storage locker in Schiller Park and placed the bag in the trunk of his car. Upon his return home, he exited the car and opened the trunk, intending to remove the bag. However, before he could do so, he saw the police approaching. One police officer told him to put his hands on top of the car. The officers then grabbed the bag and the car keys and handcuffed him. They asked him whether he lived at the Franklin Park residence and who was inside the house. Upon being told that defendant's wife and three children were inside the house, the officers entered the house with defendant. Once inside the house, the officers had defendant, defendant's wife and their children sit in the living room. The officers threatened that defendant and his wife would be sent to jail and the children removed from their care. The officers asked defendant if he had anything in the house. Defendant replied that he had a scale in the basement, whereupon three officers took defendant to the basement to look for the scale. The officers recovered the scale. They then told defendant that the law required that he sign consent forms for the search of the house and things would be hard for him if he did not. Defendant signed the forms. Back upstairs, the officers searched the house. The officers transported defendant to a Chicago police station.

Rosa Elaina Carrera, defendant's wife, also testified at the hearing. She stated that defendant left the house at 12 p.m. on August 26, 1997. At 12:30 p.m., the door opened and four police officers entered, along with defendant. One officer asked her to bring the children to the living room and sit next to them. He told her that there were some problems and he was going to arrest her. The officers sat defendant in the living room as well. In defendant's presence, the officers told Mrs. Carrera that they were going to arrest her. They also added that they would take her daughters away and she would not see defendant again. The officers then asked defendant what else he had in the house. Defendant replied that he had a scale in the basement. Three officers accompanied defendant to the basement. One officer stayed to watch Mrs. Carrera and the children. While the other officers were in the basement with defendant, the police officer continued to threaten her. Approximately 20 minutes later, the officers and defendant returned from the basement. The officers proceeded to search the house. Eventually, two other officers arrived at the house. These officers told Mrs. Carrera that they would not take her or the children. Yet later, as the police officers were about to leave the house with defendant, a police officer from Franklin Park arrived at the house.

Officer Joseph DiGiacomo testified next. On August 26, 1997, he was employed by the Chicago police department. He received information that a Hispanic male named Rudolfo, who drove a gray Mercury Marquis, was dealing drugs from his residence at 3112 N. Emerson in Franklin Park. Officer DiGiacomo testified that he, along with Sergeant DeAntonio, Officer Cane, Officer Herrera, Officer Horton, and Officer Rowan, all of the Chicago police department, proceeded to Franklin Park. The officers drove separate cars. Each officer carried a gun, a badge, and a pair of binoculars. The officers communicated via walkie-talkie. In Franklin Park, the officers set up surveillance at defendant's home. At 12:30 p.m., defendant left his home and drove away in a car matching the description provided by the informant. The officers followed defendant to the storage facility in Schiller Park. Shortly after defendant entered the facility, he returned to his car carrying a brown paper bag, which he placed in the trunk of the car. The officers followed defendant back to Franklin Park. The officers had not observed defendant commit any crimes up to this point. Also, the officers had not received any information regarding defendant's use of a storage locker in connection with the alleged sale of drugs at the Franklin Park residence.

Once home, defendant exited the car, opened the trunk and pulled the bag from the trunk. Acting on a "hunch," Officer DiGiacomo and the other officers "converged" on defendant. Officer DiGiacomo explained that, as he exited his vehicle, he confronted defendant, stating: "Police officer. What do you have in the bag." Defendant replied that he had drugs in the bag and handed the bag to Officer DiGiacomo. Officer DiGiacomo opened the bag and saw what he suspected to be cocaine. *fn1 Officer DiGiacomo placed defendant under arrest.

Officer DiGiacomo further testified that Officer Herrera advised defendant of his rights in Spanish. Officer DiGiacomo then asked defendant how much more cocaine he had in the storage locker. Defendant replied that he had two kilos of cocaine in the locker. Next, defendant asked to go inside the house. *fn2 Once inside, defendant signed consent forms in Spanish for the search of the house and storage locker. Officer DiGiacomo recovered suspected cocaine from defendant's garage and storage locker.

Officer Herrera was the last witness at the hearing. He testified that he participated in the surveillance of defendant's home. Upon defendant's return home, the police officers, including Officer Herrera, approached defendant. As he moved towards defendant, Officer Herrera surveyed the area to make sure that everything was secure. Officer Herrera saw defendant hand a brown paper bag to Officer DiGiacomo. The officers then placed defendant under arrest.

Defendant spoke Spanish and only a little English. Officer Herrera, a native Spanish speaker, communicated with defendant in Spanish. Officer Herrera gave defendant the Miranda warnings in Spanish. Also in Spanish, defendant indicated that he wanted to get off the street and go inside the house. Once inside the house, defendant spoke to his wife, who gathered the children into the living room. Officer Herrera communicated with defendant's wife in Spanish and stayed with her and the children while the other officers searched the house. Officer Herrera denied ever threatening defendant, defendant's wife or their children.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court found that the information that the officers had was sufficient to sustain the encounter. The court also found that, upon being approached, defendant volunteered he had drugs in his hands and gave those to Officer DiGiacomo. Lastly, the court found that defendant willingly entered the house in an attempt to remove a potentially embarrassing situation from the street and signed the consent-to-search forms for the premises.

Subsequently, defendant filed a second motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence in which he maintained that the Chicago police officers did not have authority to arrest him outside the territorial limits of the City of Chicago. The State rejoined that the police officers effectuated a valid citizen's arrest. The State maintained that, even though the police officers possessed reasonable suspicion to effectuate a Terry stop prior to defendant's actual arrest, defendant did not submit to the officers' authority. Without actual submission to the officers' authority, "no police action occurred until the facts justified a valid `citizen's arrest.' " The State claimed that "[d]espite defendant's assertions, [the circuit] Court never found any submission by the defendant to police authority prior to his incriminating admissions, nor did [the circuit] Court ever rule that the officer's initial approach constituted a Terry stop." In the alternative, the State argued that the circuit court should not suppress the evidence recovered by the police officers because the officers acted in good-faith reliance upon an amendment to the extraterritorial arrest statute, section 7-4-8 of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-4-8 (West 1996)), as amended by Public Act 89-404, effective August 20, 1995. The amendment was declared unconstitutional several months after defendant's arrest.

The circuit court denied defendant's second motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The court found that the police officers acted in good faith in effectuating defendant's arrest. The court explained:

"THE COURT: *** It appears to me that when you describe what happened in this case as you counsel described the police, they were not fortuitously in Schiller Park, Franklin Park. They launched an investigation based on some information that they had, and they went out there and they did this surveillance. But at the time that they did that, everyone agrees that that was within their statutory authority as it existed at the time.

Now, because of this single subject problem that the State is currently going through, it turns out that that statute was invalid. But at the time that the police-if you look into the police minds, for example at the time that the police decided okay, we are going to go out to Schiller Park and do this investigation, and in their mind they were of a belief they were not committing misconduct because it was statutorily authorized. So obviously what I am talking about is good faith exception to the exclusionary rule."

The court concluded that the purpose of the exclusionary rule would not be served by suppressing the evidence recovered.

The matter proceeded to a stipulated bench trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the circuit court convicted defendant of three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and ...


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