People v. Escobedo, No. 36707

CourtIllinois Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHOUSE
Citation28 Ill.2d 41,190 N.E.2d 825
Docket NumberNo. 36707
Decision Date27 May 1963
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Defendant in Error, v. Danny ESCOBEDO, Plaintiff in Error.

Page 825

190 N.E.2d 825
28 Ill.2d 41
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Defendant in Error,
v.
Danny ESCOBEDO, Plaintiff in Error.
No. 36707.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
May 27, 1963.

[28 Ill.2d 42] Barry L. Kroll, Chicago (Donald M. Haskell and Eugene J. Farrug, Chicago, of counsel, appointed by the court), for plaintiff in error.

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William G. Clark, Atty. Gen., Springfield, and Daniel P. Ward, State's Atty., Chicago (Fred G. Leach and E. Michael O'Brien, Asst. Attys. Gen., and Rudolph L. Janega and James R. Thompson, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for defendant in error.

HOUSE, Justice.

Danny Escobedo was indicted in the criminal court of Cook County for the murder of his brother-in-law, Manuel Valtierra. A jury found him guilty and fixed his sentence at 20 years confinement in the penitentiary. He seeks a review of the conviction on this writ of error.

The record shows that Manuel Valtierra was murdered in the backyard of his home on January 19, 1960. The evidence connecting defendant with the murder is his confession. It shows that decedent was married to defendant's [28 Ill.2d 43] sister, that decedent and defendant had argued about decedent frequently beating the sister and that on January 19, 1960, defendant hired Benedict DiGerlando to murder his brother-in-law.

It is first argued that the trial court erred in admitting the confession into evidence. The defendant was immediately suspected of implication in the crime and was questioned on January 20 and at various other times, but there was not sufficient evidence to hold him. On January 30, 1960, DiGerlando was in custody and between 7:30 and 8:00 P.M. he made a statement to the police in which he named defendant as the one who fired the shots killing Valtierra. Defendant and his sister were arrested about 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. While they were on their way to the police station, Gerald Sullivan, one of the arresting officers, told defendant that DiGerlando had named him as the one who shot Valtierra. Defendant said the wanted to hear DiGerlando say that. Officer Montejano saw defendant about 10:00 and again repeated to him what DiGerlando said. Defendant said DiGerlando was lying. Montejano then asked defendant if he would like to hear DiGerlando say it and defendant said yes. After DiGerlando had accused defendant of shooting Valtierra at their confrontation, defendant told officers Montejano and O'Malley that DiGerlando was the one who fired the shots. Officer Flynn arrived about this time, 10:15 P.M., with officers Sullivan and McNulty, and officers Montejano and O'Malley left. Defendant told Flynn in the presence of Sullivan and McNulty that DiGerlando had done the shooting. About 11:30 assistant State's Attorney Theodore Cooper and court reporter Don Flannery arrived at the homicide bureau. Defendant then made the confession to Cooper. Cooper, Flannery and Montejano were present when the confession was made.

Warren Wolfson, defendant's attorney, arrived at the police station about 10:30 P.M. He asked several officers [28 Ill.2d 44] for permission to see defendant. After his requests were denied he showed the officers the statutes concerning the right of an attorney to see his client. He left the station about 1:00 A.M. without having had a chance to consult with his client.

The defendant on direct examination testified that when he arrived at the police station he asked to see his lawyer. He said that Montejano approached him about 10:00 or 10:30 and told him that 'DiGerlando had already made a statement saying that he shot the man, my brother-in-law, and he would see to it that we would go home and be held only as witnesses, if anything, if we had made a statement against DiGerlando.' He said he gave no statement to Montejano after the promise was made and made no statement until the assistant State's Attorney arrived. Defendant's attorney then asked if the statement was true and defendant replied, 'No it isn't.' The attorney then asked, 'Why did you make this statement to the State's Attorney?' The defendant answered, 'I seen that my sister was being put at the head of this crime and I knew she had not done it and I wanted to help my sister and that is the reason why I made the statement.' His attorney apparently was not

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content with this answer inasmuch as he asked the following questions:

'Q. Did the fact that you had been made promises by Montejano have any bearing upon your making this statement?

'A. Yes, it did.

'Q. Did the fact that the police officers had made promises specifically that you would not be prosecuted if yuou made this statement have any effect on your making that statement?

'A. Yes, it did.

'q. Were these promises in fact the motivation that made you make this statement?

'A. Yes.'

[28 Ill.2d 45] With a number of other leading questions the attorney also brought out that Montejano spoke to defendant in Spanish and told him that he had gone to school with his brother and could help him and that 'Benny is Italian and there is no use in a Mexican going down for an Italian.'

The defendant did not accuse any of the police officers with having beaten or threatened him. He said the promises made by Montejano were not made in the presence of any of the other officers and he did not tell the assistant State's Attorney of the alleged promises when he made the confession.

The police officers, assistant State's Attorney and the court reporter all testified that neither they nor anyone in their presence beat, threatened or made any promises to defendant. Officer Montejano denied that he made any promises to defendant or that he spoke to him in Spanish.

Under the circumstances disclosed by this record the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress the confession. The defendant was 22 years old. There is nothing to show he is of subnormal intelligence. On the contrary, the trial judge after hearing his testimony remarked, 'I was impressed with this defendant's intelligence. I don't know how old he is, but he certainly is not ignorant by a long stretch of the imagination. He is pretty keen * * *.' There is no suggestion of brutality or long and coercive questioning. While much is made of the circumstance that his request to consult with counsel was not immediately honored, the record shows that he had previously consulted with his attorney about the case and that he understood from a motion the lawyer made to him at the police station that he should not talk to the police. Although defendant testified that one officer made a promise to him, his testimony indicates that he did not rely on this alleged promise when making the statement. In any event, the officer denied making the promise and the trier of fact believed him. We find no reason for disturbing [28 Ill.2d 46] the trial court's finding that the confession was voluntary.

Defendant argues then that the confession is inadmissible because it was obtained after he had requested the assistance of counsel, which request was denied. A minority of the Supreme Court in the cases of Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 441, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 1292, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448, 1455 (dissenting opinion); Cicenia v. LaGay, 357 U.S. 504, 511, 78 S.Ct. 1297, 1301, 2 L.Ed.2d 1523, 1529 (dissenting opinion); Ashdown v. Utah, 357 U.S. 426, 431, 78 S.Ct. 1354, 1357, 2 L.Ed.2d 1443, 1447 (dissenting opinion); Spano v. New York, 360 U.S. 315, 324, 79 S.Ct. 1202, 1207, 3 L.Ed.2d 1265, 1272 (concurring opinion), and Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 637, 81 S.Ct. 1860, 1897, 6 L.Ed.2d 1037, 1077 (concurring opinion), have expressed the view that denial of request for counsel by a suspect is denial of 'the Assistance of Counsel for his defence' guaranteed by the sixth and fourteenth amendments and that a confession obtained after such denial cannot be used as evidence against him. This view was not adopted by a majority

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of that court in those cases, however, and specifically rejected in Crooker and Cicenia. The majority of the court held that 'due process does not always require immediate honoring of a...

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11 practice notes
  • Escobedo v. State of Illinois, No. 615
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 22, 1964
    ...and the trier of fact believed him. We find no reason for disturbing the trial court's finding that the confession was voluntary.'4 28 Ill.2d 41, 45—46, 190 N.E.2d 825, 827. The court also held, on the authority of this Court's decisions in Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287......
  • State v. Aiken, Nos. 38592
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 26, 1967
    ...in the murder plot was legally as damaging as an admission of firing of the fatal shots. (People of State of) Illinois v. Escobedo, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825. The 'guiding hand of counsel' was essential to advise petitioner of his rights in this delicate situation. Powell v. (State of) A......
  • People v. Dorado, Cr. 7468
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 31, 1964
    ...of 'mere' complicity in the murder plot was legally as damaging as an admission of firing of the fatal shots. Escobedo v. Illinois, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825. The 'guiding hand of counsel' was essential to advise petitioner of his rights in this delicate situation. * * *' (84 S.Ct. at p.......
  • People v. Scott, Nos. 36492
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 27, 1963
    ...of counsel's request to see his client prior to the making of a confession has been held not to vitiate a confession. People v. Escobedo, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825; Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448; Cicenia v. LaGay, 357 U.S. 504, 78 S.Ct. 1297, 2 L.Ed.2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Escobedo v. State of Illinois, No. 615
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 22, 1964
    ...and the trier of fact believed him. We find no reason for disturbing the trial court's finding that the confession was voluntary.'4 28 Ill.2d 41, 45—46, 190 N.E.2d 825, 827. The court also held, on the authority of this Court's decisions in Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287......
  • State v. Aiken, Nos. 38592
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 26, 1967
    ...in the murder plot was legally as damaging as an admission of firing of the fatal shots. (People of State of) Illinois v. Escobedo, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825. The 'guiding hand of counsel' was essential to advise petitioner of his rights in this delicate situation. Powell v. (State of) A......
  • People v. Dorado, Cr. 7468
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 31, 1964
    ...of 'mere' complicity in the murder plot was legally as damaging as an admission of firing of the fatal shots. Escobedo v. Illinois, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825. The 'guiding hand of counsel' was essential to advise petitioner of his rights in this delicate situation. * * *' (84 S.Ct. at p.......
  • People v. Scott, Nos. 36492
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 27, 1963
    ...of counsel's request to see his client prior to the making of a confession has been held not to vitiate a confession. People v. Escobedo, 28 Ill.2d 41, 190 N.E.2d 825; Crooker v. California, 357 U.S. 433, 78 S.Ct. 1287, 2 L.Ed.2d 1448; Cicenia v. LaGay, 357 U.S. 504, 78 S.Ct. 1297, 2 L.Ed.2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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