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United States of America Ex Rel. v. Marcus Hardy

September 27, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert W. Gettleman


Petitioner Luis Trevino, an inmate incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2254, claiming that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the police lacked probable cause for his arrest. For the following reasons, the petition is denied, and the court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.


Before his trial for murder and robbery, petitioner filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, including inculpatory statements he made to the police shortly after his arrest, based on his claim that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him. The trial court held an extensive evidentiary hearing on that motion, at which the evidence presented showed the following:

On the night of May 22, 2001, a Maywood police officer responded to a report of an explosion at 915 North Ninth Avenue in Maywood, Illinois. When he arrived on the scene, he saw that a van parked near that address was on fire. After the fire was extinguished, investigators found two bodies in the van. The bodies were burned beyond recognition, and police were unable to identify the victims' gender, race, nationality, hair color, height, or weight. The police officer saw shell casings and blood near the van, and spoke with several witnesses who reported hearing explosions. He canvassed the area but failed to find any eyewitnesses.

On his way to work the next morning, Detective David Franklin of the Downers Grove Police Department heard a radio news report about a double murder in Maywood, from which he learned that two people had been shot and killed and left in a van that had been set on fire. Shortly thereafter, he received a call from his sergeant regarding an incident earlier that morning at the Ace Reprographics manufacturing plant in Downers Grove. Detective Franklin was told that petitioner, an Ace employee, had been seen placing a black plastic bag in a dumpster inside the building. When another employee investigated and found what appeared to be bloody clothing inside the bag, he had contacted the police.

Detective Franklin went to the Ace plant to investigate. The other employee, Stanley Ryczewicz, told him that he had seen petitioner walk with a black plastic bag toward a dumpster inside the plant, in an area where petitioner did not belong. Ryczewicz explained that petitioner repeatedly turned his head to see if anyone was watching him, and looked "very suspicious." Ryczewicz did not actually see petitioner place the bag in the dumpster, but he saw petitioner walk away from the dumpster without the bag. Ryczewicz further reported that he had retrieved the bag-the only black bag in the dumpster-and taken it to his office, replacing the bag with another black garbage bag, which he had filled with shredded paper. When Detective Franklin looked inside the bag that Ryczewicz had retrieved, he discovered clothing, an envelope, towels and washcloths, and latex gloves. Some of the items were covered in what appeared to be blood.

Upon learning that petitioner lived in Stone Park, a town located near Maywood, it occurred to Detective Franklin that petitioner might have been involved in the Maywood incident.

At that point, Detective Franklin contacted a Maywood police officer. After Detective Franklin explained that he was investigating a resident of a town near Maywood who had disposed of possibly bloody clothing in a dumpster at his workplace, the Maywood officer responded that there had been a double murder in Maywood the previous night, and there were no suspects in custody. The Maywood officer requested that petitioner be taken into custody for questioning. Detective Franklin then arrested petitioner, advising him of his Miranda rights and handcuffing him.

Petitioner was transported to the Downers Grove Police Department and placed in an interview room until a Maywood officer arrived to transport him to the Maywood Police Department. Once petitioner arrived at the Maywood station, he was placed in a locked holding cell, where he was given food and allowed to sleep. When he was questioned the following day at around 3 p.m. (the officer who questioned petitioner testified that he waited until the following day because petitioner had appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol), petitioner waived his Miranda rights and confessed to his involvement in the double murder.

After the close of evidence in the hearing on petitioner's motion to quash his arrest and suppress the resulting evidence, the parties filed briefs in support of their positions. The court then heard arguments, during which the parties agreed that all the relevant facts were undisputed. Petitioner argued that, "while the police may have had probable cause not with regard to [petitioner], but that a crime had been committed, they were not aware of what that crime was.

And, therefore, they couldn't hold [petitioner]." The court rejected this argument, found that there was probable cause to arrest petitioner, and denied petitioner's motion.

Petitioner proceeded to a jury trial. The evidence presented at trial, including petitioner's oral and written confessions, showed that, on the night of May 22, 2001, petitioner acted as the lookout while his accomplice, Jose Perez, shot two men in the back of their heads. Petitioner and Perez attempted to dispose of the bodies by setting fire to the van in which the bodies lay. The men were Jesus Rodriguez and Jesus Loyoza, drug dealers to whom Perez owed $100,000. In petitioner's written statement, which was published to the jury, he stated that Perez, Rodriguez, and Loyoza picked him up in a van and parked in an alley. After Rodriguez and Loyoza placed the money on the floor of the car and counted it, petitioner gave Perez a signal that no one was near. Perez then fired multiple gunshots into the victims' heads. Petitioner placed his bloody clothes in a black plastic bag, and disposed of the bag at work the next day.

The jury convicted petitioner of the murders and armed robberies of Rodriguez and Loyoza. Petitioner was sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment. He appealed, raising three claims, including one that the police lacked probable cause to arrest him. Petitioner argued that although his disposal of a black plastic bag "may have given rise to a suspicion of some impropriety," it did not create sufficient probable cause for his arrest for the crimes of which he was eventually convicted. The Illinois Appellate Court disagreed and affirmed the trial court. Order, People v. Trevino, No. 01-07-2557 (Ill. App. Ct. Dec. 11, 2009). Petitioner filed a ...

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