People v. Saiken

Citation275 N.E.2d 381,49 Ill.2d 504
Decision Date04 October 1971
Docket NumberNo. 43004,43004
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Samuel SAIKEN, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

John J. O'Toole and Peter Georges, Chicago, for appellant.

William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., Springfield, Edward V. Hanrahan, State's Atty., and James B. Zogel, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago (Robert A. Novelle and Arthur L. Belkind, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for the People.

DAVIS, Justice.

The defendant, Samuel Saiken, was indicted by the circuit court of Cook County for the crimes of murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice. A jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the murder charge and guilty on the charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The defendant claims that the search which led to the discovery of the body of the victim was improper and in violation of constitutional and statutory provisions; that the jury verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence; and that the trial court abused its discretion in denying probation and in sentencing him to the penitentiary for a term of not less than 2 nor more than 3 years.

The defendant was indicted for murdering Ella Jean Scott, also known as Tina Mumma, and for conspiring with his son, Joel Saiken, to obstruct justice by concealing the victim's body in a steel drum and burying it on his farm in Chesterton, Indiana.

The victim was a friend of both the defendant and his son. The defendant testified that he met her at O'Hare Airport on November 4, 1967, and that they drove to the defendant's farm in Chesterton, Indiana, where they picked up Joel, the defendant's son, and the three of them, along with the victim's cat, then returned to the defendant's warehouse, in Chicago; that when they arrived at the warehouse, Joel and the victim went in, but Joel returned alone after five minutes; that shortly thereafter, Joel admitted that he had killed Mrs. Mumma. The defendant denied that he in any manner conspired to obstruct justice.

Joel testified that he never saw the victim alive on November 4 or 5; that he had been at the farm in Chesterton; and that his father had gone to O'Hare Airport to meet Mrs. Mumma. He further stated that his father came back alone the next day, and admitted to him that he (the father) had killed Mrs. Mumma; that he and the defendant then went to the warehouse and placed the victim's body in a steel drum; that the defendant then asked him to bury the body on the farm; and that he buried the body behind the goose barn on the eastern side of the farm.

The defendant's version was corroborated by a gas station attendant, who had seen the defendant, Joel, the victim and the cat, at, and about, his service station while minor repair work was done on the defendant's car at about 2 A.M. on November 5.

At the hearing on the motion to suppress evidence, Officer Young, on whose affidavit the search warrant was issued, testified that on the evening of February 18, 1969, he had a conversation with the defendant's son, Joel, for about one and one-half hours; that Joel told him that he had buried the body on the farm under a manure pile behind the goose barn; and that the victim had died from a gunshot wound.

As a result of this information, Officer Harry Young obtained a search warrant on February 19, 1969, and made a search for the body. He dug near the goose barn for about two hours. The ground was frozen hard and he was unable to find the body. That evening he again talked to Joel, who further pinpointed the location of the body. The next day, Officer Young returned to the spot behind the goose barn and continued the excavation at the place where he had been digging the day before, and about 4 hours later he found the body.

The defendant contends that the affidavit of Officer Young on which the search warrant was issued, was insufficient in that it was based upon hearsay. The affidavit, subscribed to before Harry W. Estler, Justice of the Peace, stated:

'HARRY YOUNG swears that by virtue of information voluntarily conveyed to him by one JOEL SAIKIN on Tuesday, the 18th day of February, 1969, affiant has good reasons to believe, and does believe, that a dead human body, to-wit: a white, female approximately seventeen (17) years of age is secreted in and about the following real estate in Porter County, Indiana:

The East 1/4 of the Southeast 1/4 of the Southwest 1/4 of Section 17, Township 37 North, Range 5 West of the Second Principal Meridian, containing about 20 acres more or less,

said real estate being the property of Sam. D. and Minnie Saikin, said dead body being secreted in the following place and manner, to-wit: buried beneath the ground behind the goose house on said premises, originally buried under or near a manure pile located behind or near the goose house on said premises, said manure pile subsequent thereto having been removed.

'Under and according to the provisions of Acts 1905, [49 Ill.2d 508] page 169, paragraph 61, the same being codified as Burns Indiana Statutes 9--607 (IC 1971, 35--1--6--6), that the Honorable Judge of this Court, taking with him such constables and police officers as he shall designate, enter, inspect and search said premises for such dead female human body as soon as may be reasonably convenient to said Court and said judge.'

The courts of the State of Indiana have held that an affidavit based upon hearsay information and conclusions of the affiant is insufficient to show probable cause and will not support the issuance of a search warrant. (Johns v. State, 251 Ind. 172, 240 N.E.2d 60; McCurry v. State, 249 Ind. 191, 231 N.E.2d 227; Rohlfing v. State, 227 Ind. 619, 88 N.E.2d 148.) In McCurry the court acknowledged that its rule as to the sufficiency of an affidavit to support the issuance of a search warrant--that hearsay will not support the issuance of a search warrant--is not the rule as announced by the United States Supreme Court in Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697.

These circumstances give rise to the question of whether an Illinois circuit court in a prosecution before it should suppress evidence gained from a search in Indiana, which was illegal there because based upon hearsay information contained in the affidavit supporting the search warrant.

In Burge v. State (Tex.Cr.App.1969), 443 S.W.2d 720, the defendant, an Oklahoma resident, was accused of burglary and attempted rape in Texas. While he was in custody, his wife agreed to allow police officers to search their Oklahoma home without a search warrant. Under Oklahoma law each spouse has a personal right to demand a search warrant prior to a search of the marital residence. The search, conducted without the defendant's consent, revealed crucial incriminating evidence against him, which was admitted at the Texas trial. On appeal, he contended that the trial court erred in admitting this evidence. The State urged that this was an evidentiary question, procedural in nature, and hence was governed by the laws of Texas, which recognized interspousal authority to consent to the search. The reviewing court affirmed the trial court and held that the Texas-Oklahoma conflict was primarily upon the issue of the admissibility of evidence--one of procedure--, and that the law of the forum governed.

Traditional conflict principles prescribe that issues of clearly procedural nature are governed by the internal laws of the forum, whereas substantive matters are controlled by the laws of the State where the transaction occurred.

Conflicting State views concerning the scope of the fourth amendment and of the additional rights granted to a party by a State, present a novel situation in the area of conflict of laws. The doctrine of Lex loci delicti has been extensively criticized and there has been a propensity to replace it by a more flexible rule, I.e., the rule of 'significant relationship' embodied in tentative draft No. 9 of section 379, Reinstatement of the Law, Second, Conflict of Laws (1964). See Graham v. United States Grant Post, 43 Ill.2d 1, 248 N.E.2d 657 and 97 Ill.App.2d 139, 239 N.E.2d 856, and cases cited therein.

If the problem here presented is considered from the procedural-substance viewpoint, the evidence was properly admitted. (People v. Kirkpatrick, 413 Ill. 595, 597, 110 N.E.2d 519; Restatement, Conflict of Laws, sections 595, 597.) Evidentiary questions are generally governed by the laws of the forum. If the conflict concerning the choice of law encompassed the preliminary issue of whether the evidence was wrongfully obtained, a substantive matter, then from the viewpoint of 'significant relationship' or 'center of gravity' rules, the significant contacts were with Illinois. The crime was committed in Illinois; it was being prosecuted there; the defendant was a resident and citizen of Illinois; the great majority of the witnesses, who would testify at the trial, were Illinois residents; Indiana had no vital contact with the crime; and the application of Illinois evidentiary law would not offend the comity of interstate relationships between Indiana and Illinois.

In United States v. Teller (7th Cir. 1969), 412 F.2d 374, 377; United States v. Martin (7th Cir. 1967), 372 F.2d 63, 65, and in United States v. Jones (7th Cir. 1966), 369 F.2d 217, 220, the court held that evidence gained by eavesdropping, illegal under Illinois law, (Ill.Rev.Stat.1965, ch. 38, par. 14--1 et seq.) was admissible in Federal prosecutions. These decisions rest on the premise that Federal courts are only required to follow Federal standards when Federal questions are adjudicated, regardless of whether such standards violate any additional rights granted to a party by a State.

Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726; Miller v. United States, 357 U.S. 301, 78 S.Ct. 1190, 2 L.Ed.2d 1332; United States v. Di Re, 332 U.S. 581, 68 S.Ct. 222, 92 L.Ed. 210, while not in point, would...

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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
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    ...... the fourth amendment and of the additional rights granted to a party by a state present a novel situation in the area of conflict of laws." People v. Saiken, 275 N.E.2d 381, 385, 49 Ill.2d 504 (1971), cert. denied, 405 U.S. 1066, 92 S.Ct. 1499, 31 L.Ed.2d 796 (1972). Saiken itself involved ......
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    • United States
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    • November 1, 2012
    ...other state courts in deciding whether a forum state has to apply the laws of a situs state. Id. at *7-8. See generally People v. Saiken, 275 N.E.2d 381 (Ill. 1971) (determining when forum law governs over situs law). The court in Saiken asserted that "where a conflict occurs between the st......

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