People v. Wear, 4-06-0353.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation371 Ill. App.3d 517,867 N.E.2d 1027
Docket NumberNo. 4-06-0353.,4-06-0353.
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Robert W. WEAR, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date19 January 2007

Justice APPLETON delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Robert W. Wear, moved for reconsideration of an order in which the trial court denied his motion to rescind the summary suspension of his driver's license and his motion to suppress evidence and quash his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2) (West 2004)). The court granted the motion for reconsideration, and the State appeals.

Because the State nol-prossed the DUI case after the granting of the motion for reconsideration, we dismiss the portion of this appeal pertaining to the suppression of evidence and quashing of the arrest (an interlocutory ruling that vanished with the criminal case). As for the rescission of the summary suspension, case law deems that ruling to have occurred in a civil proceeding separate and distinct from the DUI case; therefore, the nolle prosequi had no effect on that ruling, which is appealable as a final judgment. In reliance on the doctrine of hot pursuit, we reverse the trial court's rescission of the summary suspension of defendant's driver license.

I. BACKGROUND

The charging instrument was a citation and complaint, i.e., a traffic ticket, alleging that defendant committed the DUI in White Hall on January 2, 2006, at 12:52 a.m. On that date, the arresting police officer, Christopher Dawdy, served upon defendant a notice of the summary suspension of his driver's license for refusing to submit to a chemical test. See 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1(f) (West 2004). The DUI case was docketed as People v. Wear, case No. 06-DT-1. A receipt shows that on January 3, 2006, defendant posted bond in the amount of $100.

On January 20, 2006, defendant filed a motion to rescind the summary suspension. The grounds of the motion were twofold: (1) he "was not properly placed under arrest for [DUI,]" and (2) Dawdy lacked reasonable grounds to believe he had been driving, or in actual physical control of, a motor vehicle on a public highway while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

On January 24, 2006, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence and quash his arrest on the following grounds:

"6. The arrest herein occurred as a result of a warrantless, nonconsensual entry into the residence at 303 Fulton Street, White Hall, Illinois[,] by the arresting officer, without probable cause to arrest and without the presence of any circumstances to excuse the requirement of probable cause or a warrant to enter the residence * * *.

7. As a result of the arresting officer's unlawful, warrantless entry into the residence, the officer made certain observations of the [d]efendant and had certain conversations with the [d]efendant inside the residence, and subsequently outside the residence, which the defendant anticipates will be used against him at trial."

On February 10 and 17, 2006, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant's two motions. Defendant called Dawdy, who testified that on January 2, 2006, at 12:52 a.m., he was driving his squad car west on West Lincoln Street, where the speed limit was 30 miles per hour, when an eastbound white Cadillac traveling fast—"at least 40 [miles per hour]"—swerved toward him, forcing him to pull off to the shoulder of the street to avert a head-on collision. Dawdy turned around and pursued the Cadillac, which crossed Main Street and continued east on East Lincoln Street, still swerving from side to side. When the Cadillac turned south onto Bates Avenue without using a turn signal, Dawdy (by then, no more than a car's length behind) turned on the flashing red and blue lights on the roof of his squad car. He followed the Cadillac five or six more blocks. Bates Avenue became Israel Street. Continuing south down Israel Street, the Cadillac coasted through an intersection, disobeying a stop sign. It stopped at the next stop sign and turned east onto East Carlinville Street. Then it turned into the driveway of a house at the intersection of East Carlinville and Fulton Streets. Dawdy pulled in behind the Cadillac and got out of his squad car at the same time defendant got out of the Cadillac.

Dawdy testified that he ordered defendant to get back into the car but defendant ignored him and began walking toward the house, staggering, swaying, and crossing his feet. Dawdy followed him to the house, ordering him over and over again to get back in his car, but defendant kept on walking without so much as acknowledging Dawdy's presence. A woman opened the door of the house and asked what was going on. "I told her that I had been following [defendant] down Bates [Avenue] with my lights on[] and he wouldn't pull over." Defendant stepped into the threshold, stood beside the woman, and, for the first time, spoke to Dawdy, who was standing less than a foot away, on the porch: defendant told him, "[`I] made it home.[']" Dawdy smelled alcohol on his breath. Defendant then retreated into the house, and without asking for permission, Dawdy followed him inside, demanding his identification — a demand that defendant refused because, as he insisted, he had "made it home." Dawdy asked defendant where he had come from; "Hillview Tavern," defendant replied. Dawdy twice asked him to come outside and take a field sobriety test; he refused. "[Defendant] stated to me that he didn't want to do field sobriety, that he's done it in the past and it hasn't helped him." At that point, Dawdy decided to place defendant under arrest. He handcuffed him and took him outside. In the squad car, Dawdy asked him to take a preliminary breath test; defendant refused. Dawdy took him to the Greene County sheriff's department, which had an officer certified to administer a Breathalyzer test. Warned by Dawdy of the consequence of refusal, defendant refused to take a Breathalyzer test, resulting in the summary suspension of his driver's license for six months.

Defendant also called the woman who tended bar at Hillview Tavern the evening of January 1, 2006, as well as two of the men with whom he played billiards there that evening. According to them, defendant did not appear to be drunk while he was in their presence from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., and his speech and balance were unimpaired.

Patricia Foiles testified that the house on Fulton Street was her residence and defendant was her boyfriend. When he pulled into her driveway after midnight on January 2, 2006, she was expecting him to stay overnight, as he customarily did. In her opinion, he displayed no symptoms of intoxication; he was walking and talking just fine.

Defendant testified he remembered drinking only three beers during his three-hour stay at the tavern, and he knew his faculties were unimpaired because, at the pool table, he was at the top of his game. He denied drinking before he went to the tavern or after he left. He was weaving on the road not because of intoxication but to avoid potholes and manhole covers, which might have damaged his old and fragile Cadillac. The Cadillac had a narrow rear window, and the first time he noticed the flashing lights of a squad car behind him was at the intersection of Israel Street and East Carlinville Street. Because (to his knowledge) he had done nothing wrong, he assumed the squad car was on some errand other than pulling him over. When he turned onto East Carlinville Street, he expected the squad car to keep going. His girlfriend's house was only "a short block" away from that intersection. He was unaware the squad car pulled into the driveway behind him. In fact, he was oblivious to Dawdy's presence until he entered the house and, sensing someone behind him, turned around and saw him standing there. He admitted refusing to take a Breathalyzer test.

Initially, on February 24, 2006, the trial court denied the motions to rescind the summary suspension and to suppress evidence and quash the arrest. Believing Dawdy's testimony over defendant's, the court found that "the arrest [of defendant] commenced in a public place" and that under United States v. Santana, 427 U.S. 38, 42-43, 96 S.Ct. 2406, 2409, 49 L.Ed.2d 300, 305 (1976), he "could not thwart his lawful arrest by retreating into his girlfriend's residence."

On March 2, 2006, defendant filed a motion to reconsider both rulings. He pointed out that according to Dawdy's own testimony, Dawdy did not form an intent to arrest defendant until after he followed defendant into the house; thus, the arrest was not "set in motion in a public place" (Santana, 427 U.S. at 43, 96 S.Ct. at 2410, 49 L.Ed.2d at 306). For that reason, defendant argued, Santana was inapplicable. The court evidently agreed with this argument, for on April 5, 2006, it made the following docket entry: "After considering the arguments of counsel at the hearing on the [m]otion to [r]econsider, the court grants the [m]otion to [r]econsider [its][r]uling. Petition to [r]escind [s]tatutory [s]ummary [s]uspension is granted[,] and the [m]otion to [q]uash [a]rrest is granted."

When the trial court granted defendant's motion for reconsideration, the circuit clerk completed and signed a notice to the Secretary of State, as required by section 2-118.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/2-118.1 (West 2004)). The form states that "[u]pon the conclusion of the hearing, the [c]ircuit [c]ourt found in favor of [defendant]" and rescinded the summary suspension of driving privileges because "[n]o [r]easonable [g]rounds" existed for the suspension.

On April 10, 2006, the trial court held a previously scheduled pretrial hearing in case Nos. 06-DT-1 and 06-TR-9. (In the latter case, defendant was charged with failing to use a turn signal.) The transcript of the hearing consists of one page, which we quote in full:

"THE COURT: What do you have next, Mr. Goetten [(State's...

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