D.G., In re, 70864

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation144 Ill.2d 404,581 N.E.2d 648,163 Ill.Dec. 494
Parties, 163 Ill.Dec. 494 In re D.G., a Minor (The People of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. D.G., Appellant).
Docket NumberNo. 70864,70864
Decision Date17 October 1991

Page 648

581 N.E.2d 648
144 Ill.2d 404, 163 Ill.Dec. 494
In re D.G., a Minor (The People of the State of Illinois,
Appellee, v. D.G., Appellant).
No. 70864.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Oct. 17, 1991.

[144 Ill.2d 406] Robert Agostinelli, Deputy Defender, Thomas A. Karalis, Asst. Defender, Office of the State Appellate Defender, Ottawa, for appellant.

[144 Ill.2d 407] Roland W. Burris, Atty. Gen., Springfield, Rosalyn B. Kaplan, Solicitor Gen., Terence M. Madsen, Bradley P. Halloran, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, for the People.

Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the court:

Respondent, D.G., was found guilty of violating his probation (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 37, par. 805-25) by committing the offense of theft. The trial court sentenced him to a five-day term in the juvenile detention center and a probationary term of 18 months. The appellate court, with one justice dissenting, affirmed. (202 Ill.App.3d 805, 148 Ill.Dec. 238, 560 N.E.2d 636.) We granted respondent's petition for leave to appeal (134 Ill.2d R. 315).

The issue in this case is whether the police had probable cause to arrest respondent. The facts of the case are not in dispute. On June 2, 1989, Officer Larry Layman of the Peoria police department responded to a report of suspicious behavior at a savings and loan located in the Northwoods Shopping Mall in Peoria. When Layman arrived the manager of the savings and loan told him that a young boy had recently exchanged approximately $1,000 in small bills for larger denominations. Officer Layman viewed the security videotape of the transaction and estimated the boy to be approximately 12 to 13 years old. Layman then left to search for the boy in the mall.

Ten minutes after leaving the savings and loan, Layman observed respondent, whom he recognized from the security video, walking near the mall with his brother.

Page 649

[163 Ill.Dec. 495] Respondent was carrying four bags from the Toys R Us store while his brother was carrying one bag from that store. In Officer Layman's opinion, respondent's attire and appearance indicated that he [144 Ill.2d 408] could not afford to spend substantial amounts of money on toys. Layman drove along side respondent and told him to get in the car. At this point, Layman saw respondent place a wallet in the waistband of his pants.

When respondent was in the car, Layman asked respondent "[w]here the rest of the money [was]." Respondent stated that he did not have any money left. At Layman's direction, respondent then gave his wallet to Layman. Layman searched the wallet and found approximately $410, in denominations ranging from $1 to $50 bills. In response to Layman's questions, respondent stated that he stole the money from his grandmother. Layman then drove respondent and his brother to the police station for further questioning.

At the time he ordered respondent into the car, Layman was not aware that any crime had been committed in the area. Layman stated that he was merely investigating "a suspicious boy with a substantial amount of money" to determine where he got the money. In fact, the police did not discover that a crime had actually been committed until over an hour later when respondent confessed that he stole the money from a video arcade.

Prior to trial, respondent filed motions to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. The trial court granted the motion to suppress statements made prior to Miranda warnings, but denied the motion to quash arrest and suppress other evidence. The trial court found that probable cause existed for the arrest.

Whether probable cause exists is a mixed question of law and fact. (People v. Lippert (1982), 89 Ill.2d 171, 177, 59 Ill.Dec. 819, 432 N.E.2d 605.) Ordinarily, a trial court's ruling on a motion to quash will not be reversed unless manifestly erroneous. (People v. Foskey (1990), 136 Ill.2d 66, 76, 143 Ill.Dec. 257, 554 N.E.2d 192.) However, where neither the facts nor credibility of the witnesses[144 Ill.2d 409] is contested, the issue of whether probable cause exists is a legal question which a reviewing court may consider de novo. Foskey, 136 Ill.2d at 76, 143 Ill.Dec. 257, 554 N.E.2d 192.

Because a determination of whether probable cause existed must be made as of the time of arrest, we must first decide when respondent was arrested. An arrest occurs when the circumstances are such that a reasonable person, innocent of any crime, would conclude that he was not free to leave. (People v. Wright (1985), 111 Ill.2d 128, 145, 95 Ill.Dec. 787, 490 N.E.2d 640.) We agree with the appellate court's conclusion that respondent was arrested at the time he entered the squad car. Layman testified that at this point he considered respondent to be in custody. In addition, before he asked defendant any questions regarding the source of the money, Layman first confiscated defendant's wallet which contained approximately $410. Under the circumstances, we believe that respondent, a 13-year-old boy, would think that he was not free to leave. Based on these facts, we believe defendant was arrested at the time he was ordered into the squad car. Because there was no warrant for defendant's arrest, we must decide whether there was probable cause to arrest at that time.

The probable cause requirement of the fourth amendment strikes a balance between the individual's right to privacy and the need...

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