People v. Tyler, 1–12–3470.

Citation39 N.E.3d 1042
Decision Date11 September 2015
Docket NumberNo. 1–12–3470.,1–12–3470.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Sean TYLER, Defendant–Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Jon Loevy, Russell Ainsworth, Gayle Horn, Tara Thompson, and David B. Owens, all of Exoneration Project at University of Chicago Law School, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Jeffrey Allen, and Miles J. Keleher, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.


Justice GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 Defendant Sean Tyler, an 18–year– old1 with no prior criminal record, was convicted of first-degree murder following a jury trial on October 27, 1995. The only evidence at trial implicating defendant in the murder was the testimony of a witness who testified that she observed defendant run through an alley carrying a gun shortly after the shooting and defendant's confession that he acted as a lookout for the shooter; however, defendant testified at trial that a detective physically beat him into giving a false confession. After considering factors in aggravation and mitigation, the trial court sentenced defendant to 58 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). On direct appeal, we affirmed defendant's conviction but remanded for resentencing (People v. Tyler, No. 1–95–4177, 296 Ill.App.3d 1070, 244 Ill.Dec. 879, 726 N.E.2d 1190 (1998) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23 )), and on remand, the trial court resentenced defendant to 50 years in the IDOC, which we then affirmed in a second appeal (People v. Tyler, No. 1–99–1218, 273 Ill.Dec. 765, 789 N.E.2d 939 (2001) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23 )).

¶ 2 On October 22, 1998, defendant filed a petition for postconviction relief, which later advanced to the second stage. Defendant filed an amended petition on September 16, 2008, raising multiple claims including due process violations, ineffective assistance of counsel, and a claim of actual innocence. The trial court dismissed five of defendant's claims through a partial grant of the State's motion to dismiss on October 15, 2009, and dismissed the remaining claims following a third-stage evidentiary hearing on October 25, 2012.

¶ 3 Defendant now appeals the dismissal of his postconviction petition and raises seven issues: (1) whether defendant is entitled to a third-stage evidentiary hearing on his alleged coerced confession claim; (2) whether witness Andrea Murray's testimony at defendant's prior evidentiary hearing demonstrates his actual innocence and warrants a new trial; (3) whether defendant is entitled to a third-stage evidentiary hearing on his claim that there was a Brady violation where the State failed to disclose a pattern and practice of police misconduct; (4) whether defendant is entitled to a new trial on his claim that there was a Brady violation where the State failed to disclose that it paid Andrea Murray money; (5) whether defendant is entitled to a third-stage evidentiary hearing on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim; (6) whether defendant is entitled to a third-stage evidentiary hearing on his claim that the lineup was unduly suggestive; and (7) whether defendant is entitled to relief on a cumulative error basis.

¶ 4 For the following reasons, we reverse and remand for the limited purpose of requiring the trial court to conduct a third-stage evidentiary hearing on defendant's coerced confession claim, and we affirm the dismissal of all of defendant's other claims.


¶ 6 On March 29, 1994, 10–year–old Rodney Collins was shot and killed outside his home on Winchester Avenue in Chicago. Defendant and codefendants Michael Taylor, Andrew Ganaway, Reginald Henderson (defendant's brother), and Antoine Ward were charged with Collins' murder. Ganaway later pleaded guilty, and Henderson and Ward were found guilty in a separate trial. Defendant was tried in a joint trial with codefendant Taylor. Defendant had a jury trial and Taylor had a bench trial.

¶ 7 I. Defendant's Motion to Suppress

¶ 8 On December 2, 1994, defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress his written confession. In his motion, defendant stated that, subsequent to his arrest on April 1, 1994, he was interrogated at the Area One police station by an assistant State's Attorney (ASA), Chicago Police Detectives William Moser, William Foley, and Graff.2 Defendant claimed that, prior to his interrogation, he was not informed of his Miranda rights. He further argued that, “due to physical coercion,” including beatings to his chest administered by Moser, he was unable to appreciate and understand the full meaning of his Miranda rights, and therefore, his statements were not voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently made. As a result, defendant argued that all communications, confessions, statements, admissions, gestures, or tests made by him at the time of, and subsequent to, being taken into custody were involuntary in violation of the fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution and must be suppressed as evidence.

¶ 9 Although the transcript of the suppression hearing does not appear in the appellate record, the Rule 23 order on defendant's direct appeal summarized the proceedings:

“At the hearing on the motion, Chicago police officer William Foley testified that he spoke with defendant at the police station on April 1, 1994, at about 1:30 p.m. Foley read Tyler Miranda rights. Tyler said he understood them. Foley and his partner, Detective Michael Clancy, spoke with Tyler for about five minutes. No one threatened or struck Tyler while Foley was in the room.
Detective Robert Lenihan testified that on April 1, 1994, at about 5:30 p.m., he interviewed Tyler. After giving Tyler Miranda warnings, Lenihan spoke with Tyler for about 45 minutes. Lenihan was also present when [an] assistant State's Attorney * * * questioned Tyler at 8 p.m. [The ASA] again advised Tyler of his Miranda rights and interviewed him for 30 minutes. No one threatened or hit defendant during the interviews.
Detective William Mosher [ 3 ] testified that on April 1, 1994, at about 8:45 p.m., he interviewed Tyler for about 20 minutes. Tyler was not handcuffed. Mosher interviewed Tyler again at about 11 p.m. with [an ASA]. Before both interviews, Tyler was given Miranda warnings. After the second interview, Mosher went with his partner and [the ASA] to the scene of the crime. Mosher and [the ASA] again interviewed defendant at 1:30 a.m. on April 2, 1994. Defendant then signed a handwritten statement. Part of the statement indicated that [Tyler] had been treated well by the police * * * while in the police station.’ Polaroid photos were taken of Tyler after he signed the statement.
After the State rested, Theresa Bonner, Tyler's cousin, testified on behalf of Tyler. On April 2, 1994, around midnight, she went with a former boyfriend and Tyler's brother to see Tyler at the police station. Bonner noticed that the left side of Tyler's face was swollen, but saw no bruises. Tyler told her that ‘the police had beaten him and forced him to sign papers.’ When shown the Polaroid photo of Tyler, Bonner said Tyler's face looked swollen in the picture.
In rebuttal, the State presented a stipulation that, if called to testify, police officer Haskins would have said that on April 2, 1994, he was the lock-up keeper when Bonner and her former boyfriend signed in to visit Tyler. Tyler's brother was not present. While Tyler was in lock-up, Haskins asked Tyler if he was taking medication. Defendant said he was taking medication for asthma

. Haskins saw no signs of pain or injury. Tyler did not say that he had been beaten or struck by the police. At 11:05 a.m., Tyler was taken out of lock-up to go to the hospital, but he refused to go. At 12:10 p.m., he was taken to the hospital.

The parties also stipulated that Dr. Bruce Tizes would testify that he was working at Chicago Osteopathic Hospital on April 2, 1994. He treated Tyler for vomiting and saw no signs of trauma. Tyler said nothing about being mistreated by the police.” People v. Tyler, No. 1–95–4177, 296 Ill.App.3d 1070, 244 Ill.Dec. 879, 726 N.E.2d 1190 (1998) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23 ).

¶ 10 The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress. Defendant did not testify in the motion to suppress but he did testify at his trial that Detective Clancy did beat him on the chest and slapped him in his face.

¶ 11 II. Trial

¶ 12 At trial, the State presented 11 witnesses, including Andrea Murray; an ASA; Detectives James O'Brien, Robert Lenihan, and William Foley; and 5 rebuttal witnesses, including Dr. Bruce Tizes and Detective William Moser. The defense called four witnesses, including defendant, his cousin Teresa Bonner, and Donald Jones, who corroborated defendant's alibi.

¶ 13 A. Defendant's Written Statement

¶ 14 Defendant's alleged confession was made in writing and admitted into evidence without objection. In his written statement, defendant stated that he is 17 years old, goes by the nickname “Droopy,” and is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang. On March 29, 1994, he ran into other members of the Gangster Disciples: Michael Taylor (nicknamed “MT”); Antoine Ward (“Twan” or “Twon”); Kenneth McGraw (“Yogi”); Travis Ashby (“Stank”); defendant's brother Reginald Henderson (“Bullwinkle”); and Carl and Drew, whose last names defendant did not know.

¶ 15 Defendant stated that Carl, the chief of security for the Gangster Disciples, said that they needed to “take care of business” in the area, which meant to “shoot some Black Stones,” who were members of a rival gang. Carl handed defendant a .380 semiautomatic pistol and told him to shoot any Black Stones coming in his direction. The group then broke up to take their various positions, and defendant stood in a gangway between Wolcott and Winchester Avenues. Soon afterward, defendant heard 18 or 19 shots, which he...

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