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People v. Johnson

December 18, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
LATOYA JOHNSON, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice McMORROW

UNPUBLISHED

Docket No. 93163-Agenda 3-November 2002.

In an appeal brought by the State from an order of the circuit court suppressing evidence, the defendant raised, in support of the judgment, an alternative argument which had been rejected by the circuit court. Based on this argument, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court and then modified it to include the suppression of additional evidence. No. 1-00-1988 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). The State filed a petition for leave to appeal in this court (177 Ill. 2d R. 315), arguing that the appellate court exceeded its jurisdiction both when it affirmed the judgment of the circuit court on a ground other than the one relied upon by the circuit court and also when it ordered the suppression of additional evidence. We granted the State's petition. For the reasons that follow, we hold that the appellate court did not exceed its jurisdiction when it affirmed the circuit court judgment on an alternative ground but that it did exceed its jurisdiction when it modified the circuit court's judgment to include the suppression of additional evidence.

BACKGROUND

The defendant, 17-year-old LaToya Johnson, was charged in the circuit court of Cook County with the first degree murder and robbery of her great aunt, Annie Jones. Prior to trial, defendant moved to suppress certain statements which she had given to the police. At a hearing held on defendant's motion, the following evidence was introduced.

Sometime after 11 p.m., on March 18, 1998, Chicago police officers received a report from defendant that Jones, with whom defendant resided, was dead. Police officers went to Jones' home and, after speaking with defendant and examining Jones' body, brought defendant to Area Two Violent Crimes headquarters. Defendant arrived at the police station at approximately 3:15 a.m. on March 19.

At the station, defendant was placed in a locked, windowless interview room by Detective Raymond Krakausky. Some 10 hours later, at 1 p.m. on March 19, Krakuasky learned from the medical examiner that Jones had died of strangulation and multiple blunt trauma. At approximately 1:30 p.m., defendant was told of the medical examiner's findings. She then gave an inculpatory statement to Krakausky and was placed under arrest.

Sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., attorney R. Eugene Pincham, who had been retained by defendant's family without her knowledge, phoned Area Two. Pincham informed a police sergeant that he was defendant's attorney and that he wished to speak with her. This request was denied. Pincham then told the sergeant that defendant was not to be questioned and that she was not to make any statements.

At approximately 5 p.m., Krakausky had a short conversation with defendant. During this conversation, defendant added to the inculpatory statement which she had made at 1:30 p.m. Soon thereafter, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Krakausky learned from his supervisor that Pincham had phoned the police station and asked that defendant not speak to the police.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Assistant State's Attorney Kenneth Rickert arrived at Area Two to speak with defendant. Krakausky told Rickert that defendant's attorney had phoned the police station earlier in the day. At approximately 6 p.m., defendant gave an oral statement to Rickert. At 9:30 p.m., defendant signed a handwritten statement which had been prepared by Rickert.

Before trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress the oral and written statements which she made while at Area Two on March 19, 1998. *fn1 A hearing was held on defendant's motion over a period of four days, from May 1, 2000, to May 4, 2000. On the third day of the hearing, the circuit court gave leave to defendant to file a motion to quash arrest. Additional testimony was taken subsequent to the filing of this motion. In total, testimony was presented on three of the four days of the hearing.

During closing arguments at the hearing, on May 4, 2000, defense counsel clarified that there were four statements made by defendant which were at issue before the circuit court: the 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. statements which defendant made to Krakausky, and the 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. statements which defendant made to Rickert. With respect to defendant's motion to suppress, defense counsel argued that all four of the statements should be suppressed because the police had failed to apprise defendant of her Miranda rights each time she was questioned. In addition, counsel maintained that the police officers at Area Two had failed to inform defendant that her attorney had phoned the station and instructed her not to speak to the police. From this, defense counsel argued that defendant could not, and did not, knowingly waive her right to counsel for the statements she made after her attorney phoned (the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. statements) because she was unaware that her attorney was attempting to contact her. Thus, counsel argued, defendant was denied her right to counsel under article I, section 10, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 (see People v. McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d 414 (1994)), and these latter three statements should be suppressed.

With respect to the motion to quash arrest, defense counsel argued that defendant had been arrested without probable cause when she was transported to the police station and locked in the interview room. Thus, counsel maintained that defendant's arrest violated the fourth amendment and that all four statements she made while at the police station should be suppressed as the fruit of the illegal arrest.

Looking first to defendant's motion to quash arrest, the circuit court found that defendant had "voluntarily accompanied the police to Area Two so the officers could conduct and conclude their investigation with regards to the case." Further, the court determined that defendant was not arrested until after she gave her first statement to Krakausky at 1:30 p.m., at which time there was probable cause for the arrest. Based on these findings, the court denied defendant's motion, stating that "the Motion to Quash Arrest for lack of probable cause be and the same is hereby denied and denied accordingly."

Addressing defendant's motion to suppress, the circuit court found that defendant had received and waived her Miranda rights before giving her first statement to Krakausky at 1:30 p.m. and that this statement was given "freely, voluntarily, and intelligently." The court also found that defendant received and waived her Miranda rights before giving her second statement to Krakausky at 5 p.m. Moreover, the court found that Krakausky did not know that defendant's attorney had phoned the police station until after defendant made her second statement. The circuit court thus concluded that defendant's second statement, like the first, was "freely and voluntarily made." Accordingly, the court denied defendant's motion to suppress as it related to the two statements defendant gave to Krakausky.

However, with respect to the oral and written statements defendant made to Rickert, the circuit court reached a different conclusion. The court found that, before speaking to Rickert, defendant was told that an attorney had been retained for her and that he had phoned the police station. The court further found, however, that defendant was unaware that her attorney had advised her not to speak with the police. Citing to People v. McCauley, 163 Ill. 2d 414 (1994), and People v. Milestone, 283 Ill. App. 3d 682 (1996), the circuit court held that defendant's waiver of her right to counsel for the oral and written statements she made to Rickert was not "an intelligent, knowing waiver" and, thus, that defendant's right to counsel under article I, section 10, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, had been violated. *fn2 Accordingly, the court suppressed the oral and written statements defendant gave to Rickert.

The State appealed the circuit court's suppression of the two statements defendant made to Rickert pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (188 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1)). Citing to a decision of this court which had been decided after the circuit court's ruling, People v. Chapman, 194 Ill. 2d 186, 203-14 (2000), the State contended in its appellate brief that defendant's right to counsel under McCauley had not been violated and that the circuit court erred in suppressing the two statements. Defendant, in her appellate brief, distinguished Chapman and maintained that the circuit court properly suppressed the two statements pursuant to McCauley. Defendant also argued, however, that "the trial court's suppression order was warranted" under the fourth amendment because defendant was arrested without probable cause. Defendant requested the appellate court to "affirm the trial court's order suppressing her statement[s]." In its reply brief, the State repeated its argument that, under Chapman, defendant's right to counsel had not been violated. The State also maintained that defendant was not arrested until after she gave her first inculpatory statement to Krakausky, at which time there was probable cause for the arrest, and, hence, that there was no fourth amendment violation.

The appellate court affirmed the order of the circuit court as modified. No. 1-00-1988 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). In its opinion, the appellate court noted that the State's appeal was taken from "an order of the circuit court granting defendant's motion to suppress a written and oral statement she made to Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) Rickert." The appellate court further observed that the circuit court had ordered the suppression of the two statements on the basis that defendant's right to counsel had been violated. However, citing the rule that a judgment on appeal may be affirmed on any ground of record, the appellate court chose to put the question of whether defendant's right to counsel had been violated to one side and, instead, consider defendant's fourth amendment argument.

Although the appellate court accepted all the factual findings made by the circuit court, the appellate court did not mention or review any of the circuit court's discussion of the legality of defendant's arrest. Addressing the parties' contentions on the fourth amendment issue, the appellate court concluded that defendant was arrested without probable cause when she was placed in the locked interview room. The appellate court stated:

"Here, the defendant was 17 years old and agreed to accompany the police to further the investigation of her aunt's death, but was placed in a locked interview room for 10 hours before anyone spoke to her about the case. Additionally, defendant was allowed to use the restroom only when she knocked on the locked door and was escorted to and from the facilities by Detective Krakausky. No one ever told defendant that she was free to leave. As in [People v. Young, 206 Ill. App. 3d 789 (1990), People v. Halmon, 225 Ill. App. 3d 259 (1992), and People v. Wallace, 299 Ill. App. 3d 9 (1998)], a reasonable person, innocent of any crime, would not have felt free to leave in these circumstances."

Pointing to "the length of the detention, the lack of intervening circumstances, and the purpose of the conduct in locking the 17-year-old defendant inside a windowless interview room for 10 hours until the medical examiner's report came in," the appellate court also held that defendant's statements to Rickert were not sufficiently attenuated from the illegal arrest to purge the taint of the illegality. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court's order which suppressed the two statements defendant made to Rickert.

Importantly, however, the appellate court's opinion did not end with a simple affirmance of the judgment of the circuit court. Instead, based on its holding that defendant had been illegally arrested, the appellate court modified the circuit court's judgment sua sponte and suppressed the 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. statements defendant gave to Krakausky.

The State subsequently filed a petition for rehearing in which it argued that the appellate court had exceeded its jurisdiction under Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (188 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1)) by addressing defendant's fourth amendment argument. More specifically, the State contended that, by addressing defendant's fourth amendment argument, the appellate court had "in effect" permitted defendant to cross-appeal from the circuit court's denial of defendant's motion to quash arrest. The State argued that no rule permits such an appeal by a defendant and, therefore, that the appellate court had erred in considering defendant's fourth amendment argument.

The appellate court rejected the State's contentions. Again citing the principle that a reviewing court may affirm the circuit court on any basis in the record, the appellate court stated that "we examined the record and affirmed the circuit court's suppression order based on defendant's illegal arrest under the fourth amendment." The court then reiterated that it was "affirm[ing] the order of the circuit court as modified to include the suppression of the 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. statements made to Detective Krakausky." The State's appeal to this court followed.

ANALYSIS

Before this court, the State does not challenge the correctness of the appellate court's fourth amendment analysis. Instead, the State argues only that the appellate court exceeded its jurisdiction. The State maintains that the ...


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