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People v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

October 3, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
PAUL D. ANDERSON, Defendant-Appellee.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 12-DT-1094 Honorable Liam C. Brennan, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Schostok and Spence concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

McLAREN JUSTICE.

¶ 1 Defendant, Paul D. Anderson, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2012)). He moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, contending that he had been arrested without probable cause. The trial court granted the motion. The State appeals, arguing that (1) collateral estoppel requires reversal, because the sole issue in this case, probable cause to arrest, was decided adversely to defendant when this court reversed the trial court's rescission of the summary suspension of defendant's driving privileges (People v. Anderson, 2012 IL App (2d) 120576-U); and (2) defendant's arrest was supported by probable cause. We agree with the State's second contention only, and we reverse and remand.

¶ 2 We first summarize the proceedings in the summary-suspension proceeding. On March 25, 2012, Officer Peter Briddell arrested defendant for DUI. As defendant refused to perform field sobriety tests or take a breath-alcohol test, Briddell served him with notice of the summary suspension (see 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1 (West 2012)). On May 4, 2012, defendant petitioned to rescind the summary suspension, contending that Briddell had lacked probable cause to arrest him. On May 8, 2012, the trial court held a hearing on the petition. Although our order in Anderson summarized the hearing, we do so again for clarity of discussion.

¶ 3 Briddell was the sole witness at the hearing. On direct examination, he testified as follows. On March 25, 2012, at 11:15 p.m., he saw defendant at the intersection of Montgomery and Eola Roads. Defendant was standing outside his "wrecked car." Briddell asked defendant what had happened; defendant responded that his car had stopped moving and that he did not know why. At 11:30 p.m., Briddell arrested defendant for DUI. Briddell had not seen defendant drive; before the arrest, defendant did not perform any field sobriety tests or take a preliminary breath test.

¶ 4 Briddell testified as follows on cross-examination. Upon arriving, he spoke to an eyewitness, who told him that defendant, while driving south on Montgomery, made a wide left turn, struck the curb at Montgomery and Eola, then drove a little farther south on Eola. Briddell saw that defendant's car was disabled, as the suspension had been broken. As Briddell spoke to defendant, he saw that defendant was swaying. In addition to asking defendant what had happened, Briddell asked if he had had anything to drink; defendant responded, "too much." Briddell asked him how much but did not remember defendant's answer. Briddell asked defendant to perform field sobriety tests; "[defendant] asked, why, I'm drunk." Briddell repeated the request; defendant responded, "you know I'm drunk."

¶ 5 The trial court denied the State's motion for a directed finding. The State recalled Briddell. He testified that, as he spoke to defendant, he noticed that defendant's pants were "wet up front, " which was "a little abnormal." Also, defendant's eyes looked glassy.

¶ 6 The trial court found that defendant had been arrested without probable cause. The judge acknowledged the accident, which was "suggestive" of impairment; defendant's statement that he would not perform field sobriety tests, because he was drunk; and defendant's glassy eyes and "swaying" of unspecified severity. However, there had been nothing about slurred speech, belligerence, defendant's gait, or any odor emanating from him. The cause of defendant's "wet pants" was unknown. The trial court rescinded the summary suspension, and the State appealed.

¶ 7 While that appeal was pending, on October 22, 2012, defendant moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, again contending that Briddell had arrested him without probable cause. On November 6, 2012, with the summary-suspension appeal still pending, the trial court held a hearing on defendant's motion. The State declined to stipulate to the evidence from the summary-suspension hearing. Again, Briddell was the sole witness. On direct examination, he testified as follows. On March 25, 2012, at about 11:15 p.m., he responded to a report of a vehicle crash at Montgomery and Eola Roads. At the scene, he saw defendant standing outside his car. The car's right front suspension and wheel were broken. After about 15 minutes, Briddell arrested defendant. Defendant had not taken any field sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test. Briddell had never seen defendant driving the car. Briddell talked to defendant before arresting him. About the accident, defendant said only that "he couldn't figure out why his car stopped moving."

¶ 8 Briddell testified on cross-examination that, on arriving, he spoke to an eyewitness who told him that defendant's car had struck the curb at the intersection of Montgomery and Eola and had continued south, then stopped. Briddell asked defendant to perform field sobriety tests; defendant responded, "Why, I'm drunk." Briddell asked again; defendant said, "why, you know I'm drunk." Briddell then asked defendant how much he had had to drink that evening; defendant said that he had had too much. Defendant's pants were wet in the crotch area.

¶ 9 The trial court denied the State's motion for a directed finding. The State recalled Briddell. He testified that, while they spoke, defendant was "swaying."

¶ 10 The trial court granted defendant's motion. The judge explained:

"[T]here's no suggestion of slurred speech, odor of alcohol; I haven't heard anything with respect to bloodshot and glassy eyes. There's a suggestion of a sway when the defendant is out of the car. I don't know what that means. No unsteady gait ...

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