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The People of the State of Illinois v. Jose Rivera

February 22, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke

JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant Jose Rivera was convicted of three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, three counts of criminal sexual assault, five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and one count of possession of child pornography. The appellate court reversed defendant's convictions and remanded for a new trial based on the improper admittance of plea-related statements at trial. 409 Ill. App. 3d 122. On appeal to this court, the State argues that defendant's custodial statements were not plea related and, thus, were admissible. Defendant argues that we should affirm the appellate court's judgment. In the alternative, he cross-appeals, arguing that the trial court improperly disqualified his defense counsel. For reasons that follow, we hold that the trial court did not err in admitting defendant's statements because they were not plea-related discussions. We also reject defendant's claim in his cross-appeal. Accordingly, we reverse the appellate court's judgment and remand to the appellate court to address the remaining issues raised by defendant.


¶ 3 At trial, the State presented testimony that defendant repeatedly sexually assaulted and sexually abused his stepdaughter, J.M., beginning when J.M. was 11 years old, and continuing until J.M. was 14 years old. The State also introduced testimony that defendant sexually abused J.M.'s friend, 13-year-old J.T. The appellate court opinion describes in detail the evidence introduced at trial. For purposes of this appeal, we will set forth only those facts which are necessary to resolve the issues raised by the parties.

¶ 4 Defendant filed a written pretrial motion to suppress certain statements made to a police officer and an assistant State's Attorney after he was in custody but before any charges had been filed against him. Prior to the suppression hearing, the State moved to disqualify defendant's counsel, Michael Clancy, who was listed as a witness in defendant's motion to suppress. Attorney Michael Goggin appeared on defendant's behalf at the suppression hearing. The trial court granted the motion to disqualify Clancy as defendant's attorney of record, finding that the written motion to suppress rendered Clancy a material witness. The court ordered Goggin to substitute on the motion to suppress.

¶ 5 Clancy testified at the suppression hearing as defendant's only witness. He testified that he went to the police station twice to meet with defendant, and that defendant signed a form prepared by Clancy which stated defendant was asserting his right to remain silent. The State presented testimony that defendant waived his rights prior to the two interviews in which defendant made statements. Following the hearing, the trial court denied the motion to suppress, finding that defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his Miranda rights prior to making the statements. The defense subsequently filed a motion to reconsider the court's disqualification of Clancy, which the court denied.

¶ 6 At trial, Franklin Park Police Detective Michael Jones testified that defendant was taken into custody at the police department on October 22, 2004. At 6:06 p.m., Detective Jones read defendant his Miranda rights in an interview room, and defendant agreed to speak with him. Detective Jones stated that he was in and out of the room as the investigation was ongoing. On October 23, at 2:04 a.m., Detective Jones went back into the interview room with defendant. Only the two of them were present. Detective Jones testified that the following conversation occurred:

"Q. What did you say to him?

A. I told him that his troubles had just gotten bigger. That not only was there one victim that we knew about[,] his stepdaughter that he had been having sex with, now we knew there was a girlfriend of hers, [J.T.], that he also had been having sex with.

Q. After you said this to the defendant, what if anything did the defendant do or say?

A. He asked me if he gave a confession what guarantees would he have and I told him that he could have no guarantees whatsoever. I couldn't promise him anything.

With that he said, I will tell you what. I will give you a confession. Just go get me another glass of water. With that I left the room."

After Detective Jones left the room to get defendant a glass of water, the conversation with defendant was terminated.

¶ 7 Detective Jones testified that, later the same day, at approximately

9:14 p.m., he had another conversation with defendant, along with Assistant State's Attorney Brad Giglio.*fn1 Detective Jones again read defendant his Miranda rights. Defendant waived his rights and agreed to speak with them. Detective Jones testified to the following conversation:

"Q. Now, after the defendant agreed to speak with you and the assistant state's attorney in the interview room, what if anything did the defendant say to the two of you?

A. He wanted to know that he had guarantees that he was not going to jail if he spoke to us.

Q. What did the assistant state's attorney say about that?

A. Told him that he could not be given any guarantees.

Q. And when he was told by the assistant state's attorney that he would not be given any guarantees, what did the defendant say at that point?

A. He said he was torn. That he wanted to do the right thing but that he was scared that he was going to go to jail.

Q. And did you or the-excuse me.

Did you or the assistant state's attorney indicate to him that you could not offer guarantees to him?

A. That's correct.

Q. At that time was the interview terminated?

A. Yes."

ΒΆ 8 Giglio testified that in October 2004, he was an assistant State's Attorney assigned to the child exploitation unit of the sex crimes division. He testified that he and Jones met with defendant on October 23 at approximately 9 p.m. Giglio identified himself to defendant as an assistant State's Attorney and told him that he was a prosecutor and not defendant's lawyer. Defendant read and signed a form waiving ...

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