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People v. Clayton

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

September 30, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DOMINIQUE CLAYTON, Defendant-Appellant

Page 1215

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. 08 CR 10910 -03. Honorable James L. Rhodes, Judge Presiding.

SYLLABUS

Pursuant to section 103-2.1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the police must make an accurate electronic recording of any interrogation that is part of a murder investigation, and when a murder defendant is subjected to an unrecorded custodial interrogation, statements made by defendant during or following the unrecorded custodial interrogation are presumed inadmissible, and in defendant's prosecution for multiple counts of first degree murder, the trial court properly suppressed the recorded statements defendant made after her initial unrecorded custodial interrogation, especially in the absence of any evidence that would prove the later statements were voluntary and reliable.

Law Offices of Hickey & Nemzin, Chicago (Robert F. Nemzin, of counsel), for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Joan F. Frazier, and Joseph Alexander, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pucinski and Justice Lavin concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

MASON, JUSTICE

Page 1216

[¶1] Defendant Dominique Clayton was charged with multiple counts of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm under a theory of accountability for shootings that occurred on March 6, 2008.

[¶2] During Clayton's bench trial, as the State attempted to introduce videotape recordings of two interviews of Clayton by police, defense counsel learned that a third interview had been conducted before any of the recorded interviews. That first interview was not recorded. Clayton moved to suppress her statements to police for violation of section 103-2.1(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/103-2.1(b) (West 2012)) based on the failure to record her first interview. After a hearing on Clayton's motion to suppress, the trial court found Clayton was in custody at the time of the first interview and, therefore, that the first interview should have been recorded. Based on this finding, the court suppressed the videotapes of the second and third interviews under section 103-2.1(d) of the Code. 725 ILCS 5/103-2.1(d) (West 2012).

[¶3] The State now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that defendant was in custody at the time of her first, unrecorded interview and therefore section 103-2.1 is inapplicable. The State further contends that it overcame the presumption of inadmissibility. We disagree and affirm.

[¶4] BACKGROUND

[¶5] On the afternoon of March 6, 2008, Kenneth Thomas and Maverick Magee were shot in South Holland, Illinois, resulting in Thomas's death and serious injuries to Magee. We will not summarize the facts relating to those shootings and Clayton's connection to them as they are not relevant to the issues on appeal. Clayton, along with codefendants who are not parties to this appeal, was charged with multiple counts of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the shootings. Clayton was charged under a theory of accountability. Clayton's and her codefendants' bench trial commenced on December 11, 2012.

[¶6] Detectives Martin Knolmayer and Kenneth Arvin were assigned to investigate the shootings. At 11 p.m. on the night of March 6, 2008, Arvin and Knolmayer, along with at least two other officers, arrived at Clayton's home. The detectives asked Clayton to accompany them to the South Holland police station to talk about the shootings. Clayton, who was 17 years old at the time, agreed and was taken to the police station in the back of an unmarked police vehicle. Arvin testified

Page 1217

that Clayton was not handcuffed and that when she was taken to the station, Clayton was a witness and not a suspect. Arvin admitted that, prior to their arrival at Clayton's home that evening, police had compiled a list of suspects that included Clayton.

[¶7] Once inside the police station, Clayton was taken to an unlocked interview room. According to Arvin's testimony at trial, the interview with Clayton lasted approximately 20 minutes. A videotaped recording shows an interview with Clayton that began at 3:55 a.m. on the morning of March 7, 2008, nearly five hours after she was brought to the station. At the outset of the interview, Arvin asked Clayton whether she came to the police station " voluntarily" and " of her own free will" to which she responded affirmatively. The videotape shows Clayton was advised of her Miranda rights, which she waived. Arvin testified that " every word" made by Clayton was recorded. After the interview ended, Clayton was taken to the lobby of the police station to wait for a family member to take her home.

[¶8] The next day, on March 8, 2008, Clayton was arrested at her place of employment, a McDonald's restaurant. Clayton was handcuffed and taken to the police station. At the station, Clayton again waived her Miranda rights and spoke to police. That interview was also videotaped.

[¶9] On the second day of Clayton's trial, as the State attempted to introduce the videotaped recordings of Clayton's interviews, defense counsel objected on foundation and authenticity grounds. The trial court overruled the objection and the videos were admitted into evidence. In the videotape of Clayton's March 7 interview, Arvin alluded to a prior interview as he questioned Clayton. When trial resumed the following day, defense counsel again objected to the introduction of the videotaped interviews, this time on the basis that there had been an interview that had not been recorded. The trial court allowed defendant to recall Arvin to clarify that he had conducted an interview of Clayton that was not videotaped. This first, unrecorded interview occurred one to two hours after Clayton was picked up from her home at 11 p.m. on March 6. Arvin testified that he took notes during the first interview but did not know where the notes were. The trial court delayed ruling on Clayton's objection until the next court date and ordered the officer to locate the notes from Clayton's first interview. The notes were never produced.

[¶10] At the next court date, defense counsel argued that the detectives had violated section 103-2.1 by not videotaping Clayton's first interview and that the videotapes of Clayton's second and third interviews were presumed inadmissible according to the statute. Defense counsel moved to suppress the videotaped recordings of Clayton's interviews with police. The trial court then adjourned the trial and conducted a hearing on Clayton's motion to suppress the videotaped interviews.

[¶11] Both Arvin and Knolmayer testified at the suppression hearing. Their testimony revealed more information regarding the events on the night of March 6, 2008. When they arrived at Clayton's home at 11 p.m. with other officers, Arvin and Knolmayer spoke to Clayton's parents, introduced themselves, asked to speak to Clayton, and told them they wanted to speak to her at the station about the shootings. The detectives testified that Clayton was allowed to go to another part of the house to retrieve her jacket before she was taken to the police station. The detectives also advised Clayton's parents that they would bring her home. According to the detectives, Clayton was not considered a suspect

Page 1218

before or after the first interview. Arvin admitted that in " canvasses" where police visit neighborhoods to interview witnesses, witnesses are generally interviewed in their homes and " suspects" are interviewed at the station. Knolmayer testified that he and the other detectives were " ordered" to bring Clayton to the station.

[¶12] Once at the station, Clayton was taken to a room. Arvin's testimony at trial was that Clayton was taken to an interview room, but at the suppression hearing, he testified that she was taken to an " administrative room or a report-writing room." Knolmayer testified Clayton was taken to an interview room that was not equipped with videotaping equipment. According to the detectives, the door to the room was unlocked, although neither detective recalled anyone telling Clayton she was free to leave. Clayton remained there from about 11 p.m. until the conclusion of the second interview at 4:15 a.m. After bringing her into the station, one to two hours passed before the detectives interviewed Clayton. She was not given Miranda warnings before the first ...


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