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People v. Wilberton

April 20, 2004

[5] THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
REGINALD WILBERTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Colleen McSweeney Moore, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Wolfson

[8]  The single issue before us is whether the defendant's confessions to murder were independent of the taint of his illegal arrest.

[9]  This case is before us for the second time. Following a jury trial, defendant Reginald Wilberton was found guilty of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated discharge of a firearm. The trial court sentenced defendant to 35 years' imprisonment for first degree murder and a concurrent 30-year term for attempted murder.

[10]   In the first appeal, this court rejected all of defendant's contentions but one: we vacated defendant's conviction after finding the police lacked probable cause to arrest him. People v. Wilberton, No. 1-01-1481 (2002) (unpublished order pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 23). We remanded the cause to the circuit court for a determination of whether defendant's inculpatory statements were sufficiently attenuated from the illegal arrest. After a hearing, the trial judge found sufficient attenuation and reinstated defendant's conviction. Defendant now appeals the trial court's order, contending his statements were not attenuated from his arrest. We affirm.

[11]   FACTS

[12]   At the attenuation hearing, Chicago police sergeant John Pallohusky testified he arrested defendant at 12:30 a.m. on August 11, 1998, for his suspected involvement in the murder of Larion Jackson and attempted murder of Chris Jackson. At the time, police knew a man nicknamed "Bird" was involved in the shooting. Derrold Davis, who was another suspect already in custody for questioning in another case, told police that Reginald Wilberton was known as "Bird" and gave them defendant's address. Sergeant Pallohusky did not interview defendant after his arrest.

[13]   Detective James Gilger interviewed Davis at 6 p.m. on August 11, 1998. After being advised of the Miranda warnings, Davis told Detective Gilger that he drove defendant and two other men to a house on Laramie Street. They went there to shoot rival gang members. Defendant had a shotgun and the other men had a .357 revolver and a .45 caliber handgun. Defendant said he would shoot first. Defendant and the two men got out of the car and fired shots at people sitting on the front porch of the house. Gilger testified that Davis' statement was corroborated by physical evidence collected at the crime scene, where Gilger found an empty shotgun shell casing and wadding from the shell. He also found several shell casings consistent with a .45 caliber gun.

[14]   Detective Gilger interviewed defendant at 9 p.m. on August 11, 1998. After advising defendant of his Miranda rights, Detective Gilger told defendant Davis had implicated him in the shooting of Larion Jackson, that Davis said defendant used a shotgun. Defendant denied any involvement and agreed to take a polygraph examination the next morning.

[15]   Detective Gilger interviewed defendant again at 6 p.m. on August 12, 1998, about 42 hours after defendant's arrest. After reading defendant the Miranda warnings, Detective Gilger again told defendant Davis had given a statement and that Davis was charged with shooting Larion Jackson. Defendant then made a statement implicating himself in the shooting; he later repeated his statement for the assistant State's Attorney and a court-reporter. These were not the first inculpatory statements made by defendant.

[16]   The parties stipulated to the trial testimony of Kevin Howley. At trial, Howley testified he administered a polygraph examination to defendant at noon on August 12, 1998, after advising defendant of his Miranda rights. After the test, Howley told defendant that the test results indicated deception. Defendant then gave an inculpatory statement to Howley, admitting he rode with three other individuals to Laramie Street. There, defendant took a shotgun and fired two shots into the gangway of the building. He returned to the car and fled the scene with the three other men.

[17]   Detective Kenneth Berris testified he escorted defendant to the polygraph examination. After the examination, Detective Berris read defendant the Miranda warnings, and defendant indicated he understood his rights. Defendant then gave an inculpatory statement to Berris.

[18]   Assistant State's Attorney Karen Kerbis testified she spoke with defendant at 11:15 p.m. on August 12, 1998, about 47 hours after his arrest. She advised defendant of his Miranda rights, and defendant indicated he understood his rights. Defendant made an inculpatory statement to Kerbis and agreed to allow a court reporter to record his statement. In his court-reported statement, dated August 13, 1998, at 12:44 a.m., defendant admitted firing a shotgun twice toward the porch of a house on Laramie Street. He also made statements regarding the other participants and the guns they used. Defendant said the police gave him food and drink, allowed him to use the bathroom, allowed him to rest, and treated him "fine". Defendant's statement as recorded by the court reporter was admitted into evidence at trial.

[19]   The trial court found Davis' statement to police implicating defendant in the shooting and the polygraph examination were intervening circumstances. Those circumstances, together with the presence of Miranda warnings and lack of police misconduct, sufficiently attenuated defendant's statement from ...


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