People v. Schreiner

Decision Date21 April 2021
Docket Number1-19-0191
Citation2021 IL App (1st) 190191,195 N.E.3d 1181,457 Ill.Dec. 765
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Paul SCHREINER, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

2021 IL App (1st) 190191
195 N.E.3d 1181
457 Ill.Dec. 765

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Paul SCHREINER, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 1-19-0191

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Third Division.

Filed April 21, 2021


Alexander Michael, of Michael D. Ettinger and Associates, of Palos Heights, for appellant.

Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg and Christine Cook, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel, and Armando Mendia Jr., law school graduate), for the People.

JUSTICE ELLIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

195 N.E.3d 1184
457 Ill.Dec. 768

¶ 1 Following a stipulated bench trial, defendant Paul Schreiner was found guilty of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress all evidence obtained within his home, as the police conducted a warrantless search. Defendant sought to exclude incriminating statements made by his wife and by defendant at home and following his arrest, results of sobriety and blood-alcohol tests conducted at his home and at the police station postarrest, and evidence of the damaged vehicle inside his locked garage. The trial court denied the motion, agreeing with the State that defendant's wife voluntarily consented to the entry of the police officers, thus satisfying the fourth amendment.

¶ 2 We hold that the State failed to carry its burden of proving voluntary consent and, in fact, failed to offer any proof whatsoever of voluntary consent. The warrantless entry constituted an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment. We thus vacate defendant's conviction and remand this cause for further proceedings consistent with our directions.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 The State charged defendant by information with aggravated driving under the influence (DUI). See 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1), (d)(1)(A), (d)(2)(D) (West 2016). Before trial, defendant moved to suppress "all evidence acquired as a result of an unlawful entry onto [defendant's] property and an unlawful entry into [defendant's] residence which resulted in an unlawful arrest of the [defendant] and the acquisition of evidence thereafter." That evidence included statements made at his home to police, sobriety and blood-alcohol tests conducted on defendant within his home, and evidence of his damaged automobile in his garage.

¶ 5 The trial court held a hearing on defendant's motion. For context, we provide some basic facts before diving into the specifics of the testimony: On October 19, 2017, a few minutes past 11 p.m., defendant's car crashed into a parked car near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Oak Street in Franklin Park, Illinois. Defendant left the scene of the collision and drove home, only a block or two away. Police officers from Franklin Park and River Grove responded to the report of a hit-and-run and obtained information on the general direction of the fleeing car. Within minutes, the officers were able to follow a trail of fluids, pieces of the car, and scrape marks all the way to the garage of defendant's home.

¶ 6 With that, we take up the testimony of the witnesses called by the defense at the suppression hearing. There were two—defendant's wife, Julie Schreiner, and defendant himself.

¶ 7 Mrs. Schreiner testified that she and defendant lived on North Elm Street in River Grove. On the evening of October 19, 2017, she was in her bedroom sleeping. Defendant was also home and was sleeping in "the back bedroom." Around 11:10 p.m., Mrs. Schreiner was startled awake by the doorbell, which she testified began ringing "at minimum three times." She also saw a light flash into the house, which caused her

195 N.E.3d 1185
457 Ill.Dec. 769

to "jump up." She then heard "at least a minimum of three banging poundings on [her] door." Mrs. Schreiner put on a robe, turned on the light, and went to the front door.

¶ 8 When Mrs. Schreiner got to the front door, she looked through the blinds next to the door and saw three police officers on the front porch. One officer had the glass storm door open, and the other two officers were behind him. Even though no one had said anything yet, Mrs. Schreiner opened the front door. Mrs. Schreiner explained that she opened the door unprompted because she saw three police officers and she was "afraid that they were going to break the door down." She did not believe she had any choice but to open the door.

¶ 9 When Mrs. Schreiner opened the door, one of the officers asked her if she owned a blue Mazda. The officer explained that a blue Mazda had been involved in an accident and there was a trail of liquid led from the scene of the accident to her garage door. The officer further indicated that the police needed access to the garage.

¶ 10 A different officer then asked Mrs. Schreiner if she knew anything about the accident. She told the officers that she was involved in the accident and left the scene because she "panicked." The officer told Mrs. Schreiner to get her driver's license. So she went to her bedroom to retrieve her license. When she returned with it, the officers were standing inside her house. She testified that she was never shown a warrant (that much is undisputed), nor did the officers ever ask for her consent to enter her home or her garage:

"Q. Did any officer ask your permission or consent prior to entering to enter the house—

A. No.

Q. —your house?

A. No.

***

Q. Did you consent to them going into your garage?

A. No.

Q. Did Paul Schreiner, your husband, consent in your presence—

A. No.

Q. —to them going in your garage?

A. No."

¶ 11 At that point, when Mrs. Schreiner had returned to the front door with her driver's license and found the officers inside her home, one of the officers asked her, "Were you really driving the car?" Mrs. Schreiner began crying. She admitted that she lied and stated that her husband, defendant, had been driving the blue Mazda.

¶ 12 Mrs. Schreiner then went to get dressed. When she returned to the front room, one of the officers asked her if there was anybody else in the house. Mrs. Schreiner said that defendant was in the back bedroom. An officer instructed her to get defendant and then followed her, first to the back room and then to the bedroom. The officer told defendant to "get up and get dressed." After defendant put clothes on, the officer led Mrs. Schreiner and defendant back to the front room.

¶ 13 At that point, a different officer gave Mrs. Schreiner a piece of paper and told her that defendant "had to fill [it] out for insurance or whatever." The officers then said that they needed to get into the garage and asked if it was locked. Mrs. Schreiner said that the garage was locked, and an officer instructed her to "go get the keys." After Mrs. Schreiner returned with keys, one of the officers walked outside with her and defendant to the backyard where the garage was located. The officer then told Mrs. Schreiner to open the garage

457 Ill.Dec. 770
195 N.E.3d 1186

door. Another officer directed defendant to leave the garage and go into the alley. Defendant was eventually arrested for DUI.

¶ 14 Mrs. Schreiner stated that none of the officers presented a search warrant or requested her permission to enter the home. Nor did the police present a warrant authorizing a search of the garage. Mrs. Schreiner said that neither she nor defendant ever gave the police consent to enter the garage.

¶ 15 Defendant testified that on the evening of October 19, 2017, he was sleeping in the back bedroom of his house. At approximately 11:15 p.m., defendant was awakened by Mrs. Schreiner, who was accompanied by a police officer. The officer told defendant to get dressed and then escorted defendant and Mrs. Schreiner to the living room. Once there, the officer said he needed to "go to the garage" and told Mrs. Schreiner to get her keys for the garage. Mrs. Schreiner got the keys, and they walked to the garage. The officer directed Mrs. Schreiner to open the side door to the garage, which she did, and then they went in the garage and opened the overhead door. Defendant stated that there were "three squad cars on this side and three squad cars on this side with all their lights flashing." Defendant was never shown an arrest or search warrant. After entering the garage the police took defendant to an alley and administered a field sobriety test. Defendant was then arrested.

¶ 16 On cross-examination, defendant testified he arrived home around 10 p.m., and Mrs. Schreiner was awake at the time. Before going to bed, defendant spoke with his wife and told her he had been in an accident and left the scene. He did not tell Mrs. Schreiner to tell the police she was driving if the police showed up. When confronted by the fact the police had received a call relating to the accident at 11:12 p.m., defendant admitted he could have struck the vehicle closer to 11 p.m.

¶ 17 Defendant did not know what time the police arrived at his house. He had no knowledge of the conversation between Mrs. Schreiner and the police prior to being awakened. He did not believe Mrs. Schreiner came into the room at any time prior to when he was awakened by her. Despite the fact that Mrs. Schreiner was scared and startled by the police knocking on her door, she did not come to wake him up before answering the door.

¶ 18 While speaking with police by his garage, defendant admitted he had been driving a blue Mazda, was involved in a car accident, and had been drinking alcohol. He originally told officers he had drunk three beers. He did not recall that a preliminary breath test revealed his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.218.

¶ 19 The defense rested, and the State called two witnesses.

¶ 20 Franklin Park police Sergeant Michael Jones testified that on the evening of October 19, 2017, he received a dispatch at 11:12 p.m. stating that a blue vehicle had struck a parked car at Grand Avenue and Oak Street in River Grove, Illinois, and was fleeing southbound on Oak Street. Sergeant Jones responded to...

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