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In re Christopher K.

May 07, 2004


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 99 JD 739. Honorable Joseph M. Claps, . Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Reid


Following the granting of a motion to have this minor defendant's case designated as an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) proceeding (705 ILCS 405/5-810 (West 1998)), Christopher K (CK) was adjudicated by a jury to be delinquent by virtue of having committed first-degree murder. CK is appealing both the conviction and the sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm CK's conviction and sentence as modified.


On January 31, 1999, CK was arrested and taken into custody for the homicide of Willie Lomax, a 16 year old. Lomax was shot and killed on January 23, 1999. The State filed a delinquency petition against the 14-year-old CK. Thereafter, CK was charged in juvenile court with first-degree murder for the shooting. The State then unsuccessfully sought to have him transferred to adult court for prosecution. The State immediately appealed the trial court's denial of the motion to transfer the matter to adult court. This court affirmed the juvenile court's denial of the State's motion to transfer. In re C.K., No. 1- 99-3175 (February 9, 2001)(unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).

After the failure to have the matter transferred for adult prosecution, the State requested the trial court designate the matter as an EJJ proceeding. The trial court granted that motion. CK was then tried, convicted and received a two-part sentence. First, he would be committed to the Juvenile Division of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for 5 years or until he reaches the age of 21, whichever comes first. Second, when he turns 21, CK will spend the next 40 years in the adult Department of Corrections. Pursuant to the EJJ statute, the adult portion of the sentence was stayed until further order of the trial court.

Pretrial Motions

At the hearing on the motion to transfer, Detective Steve Buglio testified on the issue of probable cause. Detective Buglio testified that, during his investigation of the shooting, he learned that Lomax, Terrell Montgomery and Willie Griffin were walking down the street when they saw a white car full of people. Those people began flashing gang signs. Shortly thereafter, one male got out of the car, ran up and fatally shot Lomax. Griffin gave a description of the shooter as a white or Hispanic male in his late teens, 5 feet 6 inches tall, thin build, with short hair or a shaved head. Griffin indicated the shooter was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jacket with a hooded sweatshirt beneath. Griffin also described and suggested the name of a possible owner of the car.

Detective Buglio testified that he received an anonymous tip from a female caller claiming to have information about the shooting. The caller and three other people were driving in a car matching the description Detective Buglio had. The woman claimed CK was one of the people in the car and the person who shot Lomax.

On January 26, 1999, Detective Buglio spoke with Melissa Quinn, one of the people in the car. Quinn told Detective Buglio that she was driving with two men when they encountered CK. CK told the men in the car that members of the Black Stones street gang were nearby. CK then allegedly left to go get something and returned to the car. They drove around the neighborhood until they encountered the Black Stones. The driver pulled the car in the alley and CK exited the car. Detective Buglio testified that 20-to-30 seconds later Quinn heard a single gunshot and, within seconds, CK returned to the car indicating that "I think I got one. I seen them go down. I smell like gunpowder. There's only one shell in the gun."

Detective Buglio then asked police officers familiar with the Two-Six street gang for help locating CK. While the officers were collecting information on CK, Detective Buglio continued his investigation by speaking with Jessica Cosgrove, the owner of a white four-door Ford Escort. Detective Buglio believed that was the car involved in the shooting. Cosgrove indicated that she made changes to her car following the shooting out of a fear of getting in trouble with the police. Cosgrove's account of the shooting was similar to Quinn's. Both Quinn and Cosgrove gave written statements to the police, testified before the grand jury and positively identified CK as the shooter.

CK was arrested by Officer Herhold, who initially had gone to his house to speak with CK's mother. Officer Herhold visited CK's mother's house six times. CK's mother denied having seen CK. On January 31, 1999, Officer Herhold took CK's mother with him when he arrested CK. CK does not challenge the claimed probable cause for his arrest. CK gave oral and written statements in which he admitted to shooting Lomax.

The trial court denied the motions to quash because, based upon the totality of the circumstances, the trial court felt there was probable cause. In addition to the motions to quash, CK argued that the police violated his constitutional rights because, although the arresting officer read them, he was not read his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L.Ed. 2d 694, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966), by the interrogating detectives.

As to the motion to suppress, CK claims the police violated his rights by failing to have a youth officer present during interrogation, forcing him to undergo interrogation when he allegedly lacked the physiological, mental, educational, and emotional states and capacities to fully understand the meaning of the Miranda rights. In short, he alleged the confession was the result of coercion. Officers Egan and Herhold testified that CK never indicated he did not understand the Miranda rights. They also denied coercing CK.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court denied the motions to quash and suppress. The trial court indicated that, "considering the totality of the circumstances and the information that all the police knew at the time that [CK] was arrested, despite the fact that there was no arrest warrant, I believe that the police had probable cause to make [an] arrest."

When Officers Herhold and Egan transported CK to the Area One police facilities, he was in the backseat of the police car with his mother. CK claims he was told by the officers that he would be "going down" like Vincent Fox. The officers respond that, while they engaged in small talk, no such threats were made. CK arrived at Area One at approximately 3:20 or 3:25 p.m. He was met by Detectives Buglio and Winstead. With his mother present, CK was "Mirandized" by Detective Winstead. When asked if he understood the nature of the Miranda warnings, CK indicated that he did. Detective Winstead claims that after he read the rights, CK asked if he needed a lawyer. The detective responded that "that's not my call." CK's mother told her son to "just tell him the truth." According to CK's mother, CK first indicated he thought he might need to speak with a lawyer, then he asked the police if he did. CK's mother claims the police responded to CK's question by asking him if he wanted to make a statement. At that point, CK's mother indicated that she had not had an opportunity to speak privately with her son. The detectives then allowed CK and his mother to speak alone for approximately 90 minutes while a lineup was being prepared.

The detectives returned to the interview room at 5 p.m. to see if CK or his mother needed anything. CK testified that, at this point, Detective Buglio showed his gun and asked for the location of the murder weapon. The detectives dispute the claim that CK was threatened with jail, that a gun was ever waved in his face or that any promises were made to induce him to make a statement. CK also claims he was not in his right state of mind because he was worried about his mother. CK further claimed that Detective Buglio told him he would sit at the station until he talked.

CK participated in the lineup at approximately 5 p.m. CK was viewed by Griffin, who had previously identified Vincent Fox as the shooter. Griffin was not able to make a positive identification of CK. The detectives indicated that Griffin had suggested that CK resembled the person who shot his friend.

After the lineup, CK and his mother were placed in another interview room. Present were Detectives Buglio and Winstead, as well as youth investigator Bailey. CK, again with his mother present, was read his Miranda rights. Both he and his mother indicated the rights were understood. After answering questions for 30-to-40 minutes, the detectives left to go contact the State's Attorney. When Assistant State's Attorney Adam Monreal (ASA Monreal) arrived, he went with the detectives into the interview room. After another 30-to-40 minutes of conversation, during which ASA Monreal indicated that he was not CK's lawyer, CK chose the option of a court-reported statement. The court reporter arrived at approximately 9:30 p.m. ASA Monreal read CK his Miranda rights. Though he told ASA Monreal he understood the Miranda rights, CK testified that he did not.

The trial court denied the motion to suppress the statement because, to a great degree, CK was read his Miranda warnings, gave assent to each warning, had his mother present for most of the day, was able to speak alone with his mother, and had a youth officer present who did not serve as the questioner. The trial court also found that CK's question "Do I need an attorney?" was not an invocation of his constitutional rights.

Following the hearings, the State moved to have the proceedings designated as an EJJ proceeding. CK objected because the State had previously unsuccessfully moved to have the matter transferred to adult court. CK also claimed the EJJ statute was unconstitutional. Specifically, CK objected that the State presented no evidence related to the statutory factors that the court was required to consider before designating a case as an EJJ prosecution.

The matter thereafter proceeded to trial. CK's statement was admitted into evidence against him. The jury convicted CK of first degree murder.


The Law of the ...

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