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People v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

May 30, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ERRICK BROWN, Defendant-Appellant

As Corrected.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 09-CF-2922. Honorable Timothy Q. Sheldon, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

On appeal, defendant's conviction for first-degree murder was upheld over his contention that the trial erred in denying his motion to quash a search warrant for evidence related to the murder and suppress that evidence, notwithstanding defendant's argument that the warrant was based on hearsay information provided by his estranged wife's attorney, since the individuals who provided information to the wife's attorney were identified by name, the police officer involved knew the attorney, the evidence supported the inference that the officer corroborated the information, the question facing the magistrate presented with the complaint for the warrant was not whether defendant committed a crime, but whether a practical and commonsense assessment of the circumstances showed a fair or reasonable probability that evidence of a crime would be found in a particular place, and in defendant's case, the motion to quash was properly denied.

Thomas A. Lilien and Paul J. Glaser, both of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for appellant.

Joseph H. McMahon, State's Attorney, of St. Charles (Lawrence M. Bauer and Jay Paul Hoffmann, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE JORGENSEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hutchinson and Hudson concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

JORGENSEN JUSTICE.

Page 883

[¶1] Defendant, Errick Brown, was convicted of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2008)) and sentenced to 55 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant argues that the court erred in denying his motion to quash a search warrant and suppress evidence because the warrant was not supported by probable cause. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶2] I. BACKGROUND

[¶3] A. The Search Warrant

[¶4] The affidavit for a search warrant was completed by Detective John H. Spencer. Spencer attested that he was employed full time with the Carpentersville police department, had been a police officer for 16 years, had specialized training in homicide investigations, and had been the lead detective in numerous death investigations.

[¶5] Spencer attested that, on October 10, 2009, he was notified by dispatch that a person named Joseph L. Vonner had been shot at a residence at 126 Amarillo Drive in Carpentersville. Vonner was pronounced dead at the hospital. Five days later, on October 15, 2009:

" I have [ sic ] received a call from Tim Mahoney, a well[-]known Carpentersville attorney, that Barbara Nichols had contacted his office. He said that Barbara could provide more specific detail

Page 884

regarding her estranged husband's involvement in this murder. Her husband[, i.e., defendant,] is the suspect in Joseph L. Vonner's murder. According to Nichols' attorney, Nichols and [defendant] have been separated for several years but are still married. They no longer live together ...

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