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People v. Green

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 26, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JERAMY J. GREEN, Defendant-Appellant

Modified Upon Denial of Rehearing October 2, 2014.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 15

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 12th Judicial Circuit Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 09-CF-78. The Honorable Sarah Jones, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

In the modification of the appellate court's opinion upon the denial of defendant's petition for rehearing arguing that the appellate court relied on a factual finding not supported by the record and did not properly consider conflicting evidence in reviewing defendant's challenge to the trial court's entry of a directed finding, the original opinion was slightly modified, defendant's conviction was upheld, and defendant's arguments were deemed insufficient to overcome the trial court's findings that defendant's custodial statements were given voluntarily and were reliable and that the investigatory stop that led to defendant's arrest was a valid Terry stop.

For Appellant: Michael J. Pelletier and Christofer R. Bendik (argued), State Appellate Defender's Office, Chicago, IL.

JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holdridge and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

McDADE, JUSTICE.

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[¶1] Jeramy J. Green (Green), the defendant, was charged with first degree murder. He filed several pretrial motions including a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The trial court granted the State's motion for a directed finding at the close of Green's motion hearing. It found the investigatory stop leading to Green's arrest proper and that the defense failed to shift the burden to the state. It also found the unrecorded portion of Green's custodial interview voluntary and reliable rebutting the inadmissibility provision of section 103-2.1 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure (the Code). (725 ILCS 5/103-2.1 (West 2008)). Section 103-3(a) of the Code regarding family members was found to be inapplicable. (725 ILCS 5/103-3(a) (West 2008)). Green's motion to reconsider was denied.

[¶2] The case proceeded to a bench trial. Green was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 36 years' imprisonment. He appealed the trial court's ruling on his pre-trial motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. In a decision issued August 26, 2014, this court affirmed the trial court's denial of his pre-trial motion and Green's conviction.

[¶3] Green has filed a petition for rehearing raising two issues with this court's decision: (1) the court relied on a factual finding not supported by the record and (2) this court did not properly factor in purportedly conflicting evidence in reviewing defendant's challenge to the trial court's entry of a directed verdict. The petition is denied with slight modification of the opinion. We have removed the word " recent" as a description of the threats described to Reid by Brittany's parents. A fuller description of the testimony of Detectives Avila, Diehl and Schumacher and a more extensive discussion of the standard for granting a directed verdict have been included. The ruling of the trial court remains affirmed.

[¶4] FACTS

[¶5] The following account of events is drawn from the testimony at Green's bench trial.

[¶6] Around 11:30 p.m. on January 7, 2009, Lieutenant Marc Reid (Reid) responded to a dispatch call in Joliet and observed the dead body of Brittany Brooks (Brittany). Through a police database, Reid learned that she had been involved in prior domestic incidents with Green. Reid also spoke with Brittany's parents and learned of threatening text messages between Brittany and Green.[1] Reid discovered four addresses associated with Green

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and that a Pontiac Grand Am was registered to him.

[¶7] After providing them with the information he had regarding the investigation, Reid sent several detectives to each of the four addresses. Reid noted there was no probable cause to arrest Green and no specific information existed at the time directly linking Green to Brittany's death. He assigned Detectives Patrick Schumacher (Schumacher), Moises Avila (Avila), and Stephen Diehl (Diehl) to investigate the house at 1018 Summit, one of the four addresses.

[¶8] Upon arriving at the house, the detectives did not see Green's Pontiac Grand Am. Avila testified they drove by the front and then the rear of the house checking for vehicles parked in either area that might have occupants sitting with the engine running and lights off either waiting to leave or having just arrived; they found none. He testified that they returned to the front of the house and observed a Honda minivan (minivan) and a Chevy Monte Carlo (car) driving away. He stated that the two vehicles had not been in the front when they originally arrived. He had no knowledge whether the vehicles or persons in them were associated with the house.

[¶9] Diehl testified that the squad car drove by the front and then rear of the house, he saw the minivan and car parked in the back of the house and also saw them leaving from the back of the house within minutes of the detectives' arrival. He did not see anyone get into the cars but speculated its occupants came from the house since the cars were parked on the property.

[¶10] Schumacher testified similarly to Diehl, stating that after checking the area around the house for Green's car, he saw two vehicles leaving from the rear of the house. He stated that he could not recall who saw the vehicles first or the details of their discussion at that time about them. He also had no knowledge of who owned the vehicles or who was in them. He radioed dispatch for assistance, providing the description of the vehicles and the direction in which they were heading so they could be stopped and checked for occupants. No traffic violations had been committed.

[¶11] Officer Daniel Rupp heard the dispatched stop request. He intercepted and stopped the minivan. Rupp exited his car, drew his weapon for general safety purposes, and ordered the female driver, Green's sister, out of the minivan. When she complied, he handcuffed her and placed her in his squad car. She testified that she was driving Green, who was a passenger in the minivan, to the police station.

[¶12] Sergeant Matthew Breen having also heard the stop request, exited the police station, and drove his car to where Rupp had stopped the minivan. Breen went to the passenger side of the minivan and spoke with a man who identified himself as Green. Although, Breen was previously unaware Green was in the minivan, he recognized him as a person of interest relative to Brittany. Breen saw blood on Green's person, ordered him out of the minivan, and handcuffed him for officer safety purposes.

[¶13] Schumacher, Diehl, and Avila arrived at the stopped minivan. Breen walked Green to Diehl who noted a large amount of blood on Green's sweatshirt and took it into evidence. Green told Diehl that he had been on his way to the police station to make a statement when the minivan was stopped. Green was then walked to the police station.

[¶14] At the police station, Reid ordered Diehl to start the recording equipment for

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the interrogation room, which Diehl failed to do properly.

[¶15] At 3:23 a.m., Diehl and Avila presented and read Green a waiver of rights form, which Green signed. He agreed to speak with the detectives and did not ask for an attorney. Green was offered food, water, and the opportunity to use the restroom. Diehl noted that Green was in his mid-20's, had a small cut on his hand but no other injuries, and exhibited no mental deficiencies.

[¶16] At 4:44 a.m., Detective John Ross (Ross) was assigned to watch the interrogation on the recording computer and discovered that the equipment had not been recording. He started it and notified Reid of the error. Diehl and Avila, who were interrogating Green at the time, were not informed that the first one hour and twenty-three minutes of the custodial interview had not been recorded. They were told of the error when they later left the interrogation room. Diehl was reprimanded for not setting the equipment up properly.

[¶17] Diehl and Avila both testified that People's Exhibit #12, a video recording of Green's interrogation beginning at 4:44 a.m., accurately reflected their entire interview of Green. During the taped portion of the custodial interview, the detectives repeated the first version of events leading to Brittany's final moments that Green had given them during the unrecorded portion. Green never denied providing that account to them and his demeanor remained calm.

[¶18] The detectives testified that they used profanity and raised their voices in an effort to get Green to display some emotion and admit his involvement in Brittany's death. They told Green several times that the crime scene did not match his story. The detectives admitted they were not trained to use profanity.

[¶19] Later during the interrogation, Reid provided crime scene photos of Brittany's body which the detectives showed to Green. One of the photos placed directly in front of Green showed only one set of footprints in the snow countering Green's first exculpatory statement. The other photos of Brittany's body at the crime scene were placed sporadically on the table. After Green repeatedly failed to explain the discrepancies between his story and the crime scene photos, Diehl picked up a photo ...


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