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People v. Firestine

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

July 26, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ANTHONY FIRESTINE, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, No. 16-CF-902; the Hon. Stephen P. McGlynn, Judge, presiding.

          Brendan F. Kelly, State's Attorney, of Belleville (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson, and Chelsea E. Kasten, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          William E. Carroll and Justin M. Whitton, of Belleville, for appellee.

          Panel JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Overstreet and Justice Welch concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CHAPMAN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Anthony Firestine, was charged with several offenses in connection with an incident in which two of his brothers were shot. The defendant admitted to police that he shot one of his brothers in the foot. He also admitted firing five additional shots but told police that he did not know whether any of those bullets hit his other brother. He claimed that all six shots were intended as warning shots. The defendant filed a motion to suppress his statement to police, arguing that, after he invoked his right to counsel, the investigating officer continued to ask him questions. The St. Clair County circuit court granted the defendant's motion. The State appeals, arguing that the defendant made only a limited invocation of his right to counsel by stating, "I don't want to answer that question without my lawyer." We affirm.

         ¶ 2 The events leading to the defendant's arrest took place at the home of his brother, John. The defendant and his son, Mark, went to John's home to confront the defendant's brothers, John and Joe. According to the defendant, Joe owed money to various family members, including him. During the encounter that took place, Joe was shot in the foot, and John was shot in the leg. Both the defendant and Mark were arrested in connection with these events.

         ¶ 3 During the early morning hours of July 5, 2016, Officer Jeffery Hartsoe questioned the defendant in custody. Officer Hartsoe provided the defendant with the warnings required by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), both verbally and in writing. Officer Hartsoe then told the defendant that he was there because his brother Joe had been injured. He explained that other individuals had given him statements about how that happened. Officer Hartsoe told the defendant that he wanted to get his "side of the story" so that he would not have to "rely on only one person's side." The defendant indicated that he wanted to hear what others had said first. When asked why, he told Officer Hartsoe that he wanted to know what people were saying about him. The following exchange then took place:

"OFFICER HARTSOE: Did you shoot your brother, Joe, tonight?
THE DEFENDANT: Did I shoot him?
OFFICER HARTSOE: Mmm hmm.
THE DEFENDANT: No.
OFFICER HARTSOE: Did you shoot him in the foot?
THE DEFENDANT: I don't want to answer that question ...

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