People v. Hawkins, 1-89-2699

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation243 Ill.App.3d 210,611 N.E.2d 1069,183 Ill.Dec. 421
Docket NumberNo. 1-89-2699,1-89-2699
Parties, 183 Ill.Dec. 421 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dwight HAWKINS, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date11 February 1993

Page 1069

611 N.E.2d 1069
243 Ill.App.3d 210, 183 Ill.Dec. 421
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Dwight HAWKINS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-89-2699.
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division.
Feb. 11, 1993.

Page 1071

[243 Ill.App.3d 211] [183 Ill.Dec. 423] Office of State Appellate Defender, Chicago (Anne E. Meyer, of counsel), for defendant-appellant.

State's Atty. of Cook County, Chicago (Renee Goldfarb, Kevin Sweeney, David Stabrawa, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee.

Presiding Justice GORDON delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of first degree murder (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 38, par. 9-1), and sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that (1) the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress must be reversed because the court improperly believed the testimony of one witness simply because he was a lawyer and an assistant State's Attorney; (2) the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion in limine to bar use of his prior convictions for impeachment; (3) the prosecutor's remarks [243 Ill.App.3d 212] in closing argument denied defendant a fair trial; (4) the trial judge's supplemental jury instructions denied defendant a fair trial; and (5) the Illinois murder statutes are unconstitutional. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.


Donald Helms was killed in the early morning hours of June 21, 1988, on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building at 6226 S. Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago. Defendant Dwight Hawkins was arrested shortly thereafter and charged by indictment with first degree murder.

Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to suppress oral statements he made to the arresting officers at the time of his arrest, as well as oral statements made to an assistant State's Attorney during questioning later that morning. Defendant contended that he was not advised of his Miranda rights prior to interrogation, that he was obviously intoxicated during the interrogation, and that the interrogation was continued after he requested an attorney.

At a hearing held on the motion on December 1, 1988, defendant testified that he was arrested at 2 or 2:30 a.m. in the hallway outside his third-floor apartment at 6226 S. Woodlawn. According to defendant, he was not informed of his Miranda rights when he was arrested. The arresting officers told him he was charged with aggravated battery. Defendant also testified that he was intoxicated at the time, having consumed a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor and a pint of wine by himself and having shared a six-pack of beer and a liter of wine with the deceased in the two hours prior to his arrest.

Defendant stated that the arresting officers handcuffed him and together they walked down the stairs from the third floor. Defendant conceded that he was able to walk down the stairs without assistance.

The defendant further testified that he was taken to the police station where he was interviewed approximately six to eight hours later. Although he had slept on the floor of a cell during the time since his arrest, defendant was tired, not feeling well, and still intoxicated when he was interviewed. At the interview, defendant explained to the State's Attorney the events

Page 1072

[183 Ill.Dec. 424] of the previous night. Defendant testified that no Miranda warnings were given, and he did not ask for an attorney until the State's Attorney informed him that the victim had died. Although asked to, defendant did not sign a written statement, but indicated instead that he wanted an attorney to advise him of his rights. No attorney was provided.

[243 Ill.App.3d 213] The State called as its first witness at the suppression hearing Officer Karen Carson of the Chicago police department. Carson testified that she, her partner Officer Guerrero, and two sergeants arrested defendant at approximately 2:40 a.m. on June 21, 1988, outside defendant's third-floor apartment at 6226 S. Woodlawn. According to Carson, she advised defendant of his Miranda rights outside the apartment door, before the police and defendant went downstairs. Defendant indicated he understood his rights.

Carson further testified that she conducted no interrogation of defendant at the scene. When defendant and the police walked by the victim's body on the sidewalk, however, defendant responded.

Carson also testified that although she smelled alcohol on defendant's breath, he had no trouble getting down the stairs from his third-floor apartment. In Carson's opinion, defendant was not intoxicated.

The testimony of Officer Ronald Guerrero was substantially the same as that of his partner Officer Carson.

Detective Al Greifsheim, who interviewed the defendant at the police station the morning following his arrest, also testified at the hearing. According to Greifsheim, Assistant State's Attorney Edward McCarthy who was also present at the interview, read defendant his Miranda rights. Although no written waiver was obtained, defendant said he understood his rights, and agreed to speak with the detective and assistant State's Attorney. In Greifsheim's opinion, defendant was not under the influence of alcohol.

Greifsheim further testified that the interview lasted for over an hour. At the end of that time, the Assistant State's Attorney informed defendant that the victim had died. Greifsheim stated that defendant then declined to sign a written statement, and for the first time requested an attorney. The interview terminated.

The final witness at the suppression hearing, Assistant State's Attorney McCarthy, also testified about the interview of defendant at the police station. McCarthy's testimony substantially corroborated that of Greifsheim.

The court denied defendant's motion to suppress his statements made to the police immediately following his arrest and the next morning. In denying the motion, the court stated that it had reviewed its notes on a number of occasions, paying particular attention to defendant's testimony. The court rejected defendant's contention that he was intoxicated, noting that defendant's memory of the event was good. Defendant admitted he was able to walk down from his apartment without assistance. The court also noted that all other witnesses [243 Ill.App.3d 214] had testified that defendant's speech was not slurred and that defendant seemed to have no difficulty understanding what was going on.

The court also found that defendant has spoken freely and voluntarily after being given his Miranda warnings. The court stated "I can't, for the life of me, disbelieve both Officer Greifsheim and Mr. McCarthy, that they did not give the Miranda Warnings. Mr. McCarthy, especially, has a ticket that he is zealously guarding, and that ticket is his right to practice law." The court also credited the testimony of officers Carson and Guerrero over that of the defendant that Miranda warnings were given at the time of the arrest.

The trial began on August 1, 1989. Prior to jury selection, argument was heard on defendant's motion in limine seeking to prevent the use at trial of his prior convictions. At issue were convictions for theft dating from May 17, 1979; for possession of a stolen motor vehicle dating from August 3, 1979; for aggravated battery, theft, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle dating from October 10, 1980; and for misdemeanor

Page 1073

[183 Ill.Dec. 425] theft dating from September 13, 1982. The court ruled that the May 17, 1979, conviction would be excluded because it was beyond the ten-year limitation set forth in People v. Montgomery (1971), 47 Ill.2d 510, 268 N.E.2d 695. As to the other convictions, the court stated that it was exercising its discretion and would allow those convictions to be disclosed because possession of a stolen motor vehicle and theft reflected on defendant's basic honesty. The court also ruled that the 1980 aggravated battery conviction would be admissible because it believed that "the jury should be aware of all the motivations that the defendant might have for telling the truth or not telling the truth."

The State's first witness was Yvonne McGill. She testified that at approximately 2:20 on the morning of June 21, 1988, she was leaving the building at 6226 S. Woodlawn with a friend who lived in the building, when a car drove up. Defendant, who had been driving, and the victim got out of the car. McGill testified that the victim was staggering and was drunk. McGill also testified that she had seen the victim several hours earlier, at about 11 p.m. At that time, the victim was arguing with a woman.

McGill further testified she heard defendant say "man, I'm fixing kill me a m-----f-----," and asked a man standing nearby to get him a stick. McGill testified that the defendant started beating the victim in the stomach, thighs, and legs. He hit the victim ten or fifteen times. The victim fell down and defendant hit him on the forehead five or six times, cracking the victim's skull. Defendant continued to beat the victim with the stick while the victim was on the ground, and also [243 Ill.App.3d 215] stomped on the victim in the groin area. According to McGill, the victim did not attack the defendant, nor could he because he was too drunk to fight.

McGill further testified that she ran to the corner to flag down a police car. She told the police that defendant had gone into the apartment building.

On cross-examination, McGill denied ever telling the police that defendant got out of the passenger side of the victim's car. She also denied telling the police that the victim and the defendant were arguing when they drove up. She also denied telling the police that defendant said that the victim had hit him.

The State's next witness was Chicago police officer Karen Carson. She testified that early on June 21, 1988, she and her partner went to 6230 S. Woodlawn where they found the victim lying on the sidewalk. The...

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