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People v. Ross

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

October 18, 2019

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
WALTER ROSS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 15 CR 5903 Honorable Michael B. McHale, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and Ashlee Patterson, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Attorneys for Appellee: Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Douglas P. Harvath, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          HARRIS JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Mikva and Justice Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HARRIS JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Walter Ross was convicted of being an armed habitual criminal (720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a) (West 2014)) and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant argues that his conviction should be reversed and remanded for a suppression hearing, because his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to reinstate a motion to suppress defendant's statement to the police. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         ¶ 2 JURISDICTION

         ¶ 3 Defendant was sentenced on July 29, 2016. He filed his notice of appeal on the same day. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to article VI, section 6, of the Illinois Constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6) and Illinois Supreme Court Rules 603 (eff. Feb. 6, 2013) and 606 (eff. Dec. 11, 2014), governing appeals from a final judgment of conviction in a criminal case entered below.

         ¶ 4 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 5 Defendant was charged with one count of being an armed habitual criminal, two counts of unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon, and 15 counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, arising from defendant's possession of a firearm on March 31, 2015. Defendant was tried only on the armed habitual criminal count.

         ¶ 6 Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress statements he made to the arresting officers, alleging the statements were made during custodial interrogation and the arresting officers did not advise defendant of his Miranda rights prior to questioning. See Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). After filing the motion, defendant retained new counsel, who subsequently withdrew the motion.

         ¶ 7 At trial, Chicago police officer Antrinius Andrews testified that on March 31, 2015, he and his partner, Officer Jose Rivera, were driving in Chicago and observed a dark green conversion van with a broken taillight. They activated their vehicle's emergency equipment and followed the van, which did not stop. The spotlights on the police vehicle illuminated the inside of the van. Andrews saw the driver and passenger making "furtive" and "unusual" movements with their shoulders, which Andrews demonstrated by "ben[ding] over with his shoulders going down towards-in a frontwards manner reaching towards *** the floor area of his feet area." The police vehicle was a sport utility vehicle, so the officers were elevated and could see into the back window of the van.

         ¶ 8 While the van was still "in drive" and moving, both the driver and passenger jumped out, and the van ran into a parked car. After calling on the radio for assistance, Andrews gave chase to the driver, Demarko Jones, and caught him in an alley approximately 30 yards from the squad car. Andrews had not seen any occupants in the van besides Jones and the passenger.

         ¶ 9 Once Andrews returned to the van with Jones in custody, he performed a systematic search in the van area where he had seen Jones and the passenger "making movements towards the floor." Andrews found a fully loaded silver revolver under the front passenger seat of the van and a semiautomatic black handgun under the driver's seat. Andrews did not need to move any items or debris under the passenger seat of the van in order to find the revolver. After Andrews searched the van, Rivera returned with the passenger, whom Andrews identified in court as defendant. Andrews identified ...


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