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People v. Kofron

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

August 20, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DAVID KOFRON, Defendant-Appellee

Page 372

As Corrected.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. No. 12-CF-770. Honorable Robert B. Haida, Judge, presiding.

SYLLABUS

In a prosecution for possession of methamphetamine and methamphetamine-manufacturing materials, the trial court properly granted defendant's motion to suppress evidence and defendant's statement, since the trial judge's findings as to the various violations of defendant's fourth amendment rights, including his expectation of privacy in the area from which his materials were seized while a guest in another's home and the limits of a " knock and talk" visit from the police, were supported by the evidence.

For Appellant: Hon. Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, Belleville, IL; Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, Kelly M. Stacey, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Fifth District Office, Mt. Vernon, IL.

For Appellee: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Ellen J. Curry, for Deputy Defender, Amanda R. Horner, Assistant Appellate Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Fifth Judicial District, Mt. Vernon, IL.

JUSTICE SPOMER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Welch and Justice Schwarm concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 373

SPOMER, J.

[¶1] The State appeals the orders of the circuit court of St. Clair County that granted the motion to suppress evidence, and the motion to suppress statement, of defendant David Kofron. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] The facts necessary to our disposition of this appeal are as follows. On March 19, 2013, the defendant, who faced criminal charges for allegedly possessing methamphetamine and methamphetamine-manufacturing materials, and for allegedly participating in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, filed a motion to suppress evidence. The motion was amended on May 3, 2013, and a hearing on the amended motion began on May 29, 2013, before the Honorable Robert B. Haida. On that date, the defendant's mother testified that between April 10, 2012, and May 22, 2012--the date on which the defendant was arrested in the present case--the defendant lived at the residence of Tiffany Polzin, which was located " catty-cornered just straight across the street" from the residence of the defendant's mother, in Cahokia. Tiffany Polzin testified that between April 10, 2012, and May 22, 2012, the defendant spent " an awful lot of time" at her home, including " many nights." The defendant kept clothes and other personal items at her home and sometimes ate meals at her home, although he did not help pay her bills at the home.

[¶4] Polzin also testified that when police came to her residence on May 22, 2012, she had a " No Trespassing" sign displayed in a window of the home. When officers attempted to speak to her, she declined their invitation to come outside and speak to them, telling them instead that she would do so only if she had her attorney " to talk to." When police requested consent to search her property, she again declined, telling them " not unless you have a search warrant," and reiterating that she would not come outside until she talked to her attorney. Polzin testified that police persuaded her to come closer to her door, which was partially covered by a screen window. She testified that when she did so, an officer " pushed his hand right through [her] screen and grabbed [her] by the arm and drug [ sic ] [her] out." She testified that several other officers " jumped on top" of her, took her into custody, and then told her they were calling " child services" to take custody of her 13-year-old son and " the pound or whatever" to secure her barking dogs. Polzin testified that she was eventually told that she was under arrest, but she could not recall if she was ever told the reason for her arrest. She was transported from her residence to a police station, where she was placed in a holding cell. When she asked to speak to an attorney, she was told that she could be held for up to two years " because of some Patriot Act or something," and that the police did not have to let her speak to an attorney or anyone else " until like 72 hours or something." Polzin testified that police told her that the only way she could go home was to give a videotaped statement, which she did. She testified that she gave the statement because authorities had taken her child and her dogs and she " felt overwhelmed with the possibility of losing everything that mattered" to her. Counsel for the defendant moved to have the first five minutes of the videotaped interview admitted into evidence. The State did not object, and the first five

Page 374

minutes of the videotape were admitted into evidence. Subsequently, counsel for the defendant moved to have the last three minutes of the videotaped interview admitted into evidence. The State did not object, and the last three minutes of the videotape were admitted into evidence. The State expressed concern that the entire videotape was not being admitted; however, the judge declined to rule on the admission of the remainder of the videotaped interview, stating, " We can take up the other issue later." We note that the record on appeal presented by the State contains no ruling, at anytime thereafter, from Judge Haida with regard to the admission of the remainder of the videotaped interview.

[¶5] On cross-examination, Polzin conceded that while she was in custody, she was allowed to speak on the telephone with her " boyfriend" Scott, who was often out of town but with whom she co-owned the home. When asked if after speaking with Scott, Polzin gave officers consent to search her home, Polzin testified: " No. They said that he gave them permission." Polzin conceded that she eventually signed a consent to search form, but testified that she did not read it before signing it, and only signed it because she was told she had to sign it before she could go home. She testified that " [t]hey told [her] that Scott gave them permission to search the home, and that if [she] signed these papers, then [she] could go home" before authorities took her child into custody. On redirect examination, Polzin testified that the defendant was " welcome in every aspect" of her home.[1]

[¶6] The defendant was the next witness to testify at the hearing. On direct examination, he testified that between April 10, 2012, and May 22, 2012, he stayed at Polzin's home on a regular basis. He testified that at approximately 4 p.m. on May 22, 2012, when Polzin's dogs began barking, he went to the front door of Polzin's home " to see what was going on." He observed a total of three police officers at or near the front door. When the officer standing closest to the door asked the defendant his name, the defendant, who was still inside the home, declined to provide it. Because the dogs were still barking near the door, and because the defendant " was not going to take a chance trying to squeeze through the door," the defendant told the officer that the defendant had to go out the back door. When asked by counsel if the defendant told the officer to meet him at the back door, the defendant testified: " No. I told him I had to go out the back door." The defendant testified that when the officer at the front door did not respond to his statement, the defendant said, " Is that okay or what?" and the officer replied that it was. When the defendant reached the back door and exited through it into the yard, he observed " an officer standing there with a badge around his neck" who asked the defendant if he lived at the house. The defendant testified that he told the officer multiple times that he did not live at the house, eventually using rather foul language to do so. He testified that there were either two or three officers in the back yard at the time. The defendant ...


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