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People v. Briseno

September 26, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ROSBEL BRISENO, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Jesse G. Reyes, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice O'mara Frossard

UNPUBLISHED

Following a bench trial, defendant Rosbel Briseno was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of cannabis in violation of section 11-501 (a)(6) of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(6) (West 2000). He was sentenced to two years of court supervision and a $200 fine. On appeal defendant contends as follows: (1) the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress his statement; (2) section 11-501(a)(6) is unconstitutionally vague; and (3) the State failed to prove defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

At trial, Chicago Police Officer Randolph Stevens was the only witness to testify. Defendant was stopped at a DUI roadblock on Stoney Island Avenue, on October 7, 2000, at approximately 12:30 a.m. Officer Stevens testified that he observed defendant driving a minivan. Officer Flores ordered defendant to exit his vehicle and he was escorted by a policeman to the investigation area about 10 feet away. Officer Stevens testified that defendant's vehicle and breath smelled of cannabis.

Officer Stevens asked defendant if he had smoked marijuana that evening. Defendant told the officer that he smoked marijuana in his vehicle, just before driving it. Officer Stevens asked defendant to perform field sobriety tests. Defendant had some trouble performing the tests, swaying moderately back and forth and extending his arms for balance. Officer Stevens testified that defendant had the odor of cannabis on his breath and in his vehicle, his eyes were dilated, his speech was slurred, and his motor skills were slower than average. Based on these factors and defendant's admission, Officer Stevens arrested defendant and took him to the police station.

Defendant moved to suppress his admission because he had not been advised of his Miranda rights at the time he made the admission. The motion to suppress was heard in conjunction with the trial. The trial court denied the motion to suppress the statement.

Defendant was found guilty of driving under the influence of cannabis. The trial court denied defendant's motion for a new trial and sentenced defendant to two years of court supervision and a $200 fine. This appeal follows.

MOTION TO SUPPRESS STATEMENT

Defendant argues the court erred by not suppressing his statement because he made an incriminating admission to the police resulting from custodial interrogation without the benefit of Miranda warnings. Defendant contends that the failure to "Mirandize" before the custodial interrogation violated his fifth amendment right under the United States Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself. The State argues that defendant was not in custody at the time of his admission and, therefore, Miranda warnings were not required and no fifth amendment violation occurred.

The denial of a motion to suppress statements is reversed only if that ruling is manifestly erroneous. People v. Nielsen, 187 Ill. 2d 271 (1999). However, a de novo review of a trial court's ruling should be conducted when neither the facts nor the credibility of the witnesses is challenged. Nielsen, 187 Ill. 2d at 286. In the instant case, defendant does not challenge witness credibility and has indicated in his brief that "this issue involves the application of the law to undisputed facts, and the standard of review is de novo." We review the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress statements de novo.

The fifth amendment provides: "No person *** shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself ***." U.S. Const., amend. V. In Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966), the court addressed how the fifth amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination could be protected in the context of custodial interrogation. Miranda warnings are unnecessary unless the person is both in custody and being interrogated by the police. Miranda, 384 U.S. at 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d at 694, 86 S. Ct. at 1602. The Court in Miranda held:

"[T]he prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of [a] defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. By custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. As for the procedural safeguards to be employed, unless other fully effective means are devised to inform accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it, the following measures are required. Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed." Miranda, 384 U.S. at 444, 16 L. Ed. 2d at 706-07, 86 S. Ct. at 1612.

Custodial interrogation occurs when questioning is initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of freedom of action in a significant way. Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 82 L. Ed. 2d 317, 104 S. Ct. 3138 (1984). We find the Berkemer case instructive. In Berkemer, a highway patrol officer watched a driver weave in and out of traffic. The officer stopped the driver and asked the driver to get out of the vehicle. The officer noticed the driver was having difficulty standing. The driver could not perform a filed sobriety test, commonly known as a "balancing test" without falling. The officer asked the driver if he had been using intoxicants, and the driver admitted to drinking two beers and smoking marijuana before driving. The driver was then arrested for the misdemeanor of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of ...


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