People v. Young

Decision Date17 October 1980
Docket NumberNo. 52482,52482
Citation412 N.E.2d 501,82 Ill.2d 234,45 Ill.Dec. 150
Parties, 45 Ill.Dec. 150 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant, v. Michael YOUNG, Appellee.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., Chicago, and Jordan Gallagher, State's Atty., Sycamore (Donald B. Mackay, Melbourne Noel, Susan M. Sherwin, and Jonathan Strauss, Asst. Attys. Gen., Chicago, and Phyllis J. Perko, Deputy Director and Jan Tuckerman, Staff Atty., State's Attys. Appellate Service Commission, Elgin, of counsel), for the People.

Ralph Ruebner, Deputy State Appellate Defender, and Richard E. Cunningham, Asst. State Appellate Defender, Chicago, for appellee.

UNDERWOOD, Justice:

We granted the State leave to appeal from an order of the appellate court (76 Ill.App.3d 210, 30 Ill.Dec. 135, 392 N.E.2d 790) dismissing its interlocutory appeal from a pretrial order that "suppressed" certain evidence the State intended to introduce at trial. The issue before us is whether our Rule 604(a) (1) (73 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1)) permits the State to appeal from a pretrial order excluding evidence on grounds other than that the evidence was obtained as the result of an unlawful search and seizure or an involuntary confession.

The defendant, Michael Young, was charged in the circuit court of DeKalb County with leaving the scene of an accident and driving too fast for conditions in violation of sections 11-401(a) and 11-601(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 951/2, pars. 11-401(a), 11-601(a)). The circumstances under which defendant's report of that accident and statements to the police were made are detailed in the appellate court opinion.

Prior to trial defendant moved "to suppress any statement or report made by defendant Young concerning the accident which is the basis of this prosecution." Defendant's motion was based on section 11-401(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 951/2, par. 11-401(b)). Section 11-401 provides:

"Sec. 11-401. Accidents involving death or personal injuries.

(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at, the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of Section 11-403. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b) Any person who has failed to stop or to comply with said requirements shall, within 48 hours after such accident, or, if hospitalized and incapacitated from reporting at any time during such period, within 48 hours after being discharged from the hospital, report the place of accident, the date, the approximate time, his name, address, the registration number of the vehicle driven, and the names of the occupants, if any, of such vehicle, at a police station or sheriff's office near the place where such accident occurred. No report made as required under this Subsection shall be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for the prosecution of any violation of Subsection (a) of this Section.

(c) Any person failing to comply with Subsection (a) of this Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) Any person failing to comply with Subsection (b) of this Section shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony."

Defendant contended that the immunity provision embodied in the last sentence of section 11-401(b) precluded the State from using any of the information in the reports against him.

After a hearing on the motion the trial court ordered that "all statements made by defendant Young as required by ch. 951/2, sec. 11-401 to 11-416 are suppressed, and the court finds that the statements attributed to defendant Young in the evidentiary hearing were those made pursuant to the requirements of ch. 951/2, sec. 11-401 et seq." In dismissing the appeal the appellate court reasoned that the decision of this court in People v. Van De Rostyne (1976), 63 Ill.2d 364, 349 N.E.2d 16, as well as several decisions by the appellate court, indicates that Rule 604(a)(1) authorizes an appeal from an order suppressing evidence only when the evidence was obtained as the result of an unlawful search and seizure or an involuntary confession. (See Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, ch. 38, pars. 114-11, 114-12).) Since neither of those circumstances was alleged in this case, the appellate court dismissed the appeal.

The extent of the State's ability to take an appeal in criminal cases has expanded dramatically in the last 50 years. The Illinois Constitution of 1870 accorded the legislature the authority to prescribe the jurisdiction of the appellate courts. (Ill.Const.1870, art. VI, sec. 11.) In exercising that authority, the legislature decided that "in no criminal case shall the people be allowed an appeal, writ of error or new trial." (Ill.Rev.Stat.1874, ch. 38, par. 437.) This remained the rule until 1933, when the legislature allowed the State to appeal from "any order or judgment quashing or setting aside an indictment or information." (1933 Ill. Laws 465-66, Ill.Rev.Stat.1933, ch. 38, par. 747.) The scope of permissible appeals was again expanded in 1961 to also allow the State an interlocutory appeal of "any order or judgment quashing an arrest or search warrant or suppressing evidence entered preliminary to trial," although the State was still precluded from obtaining a new trial. 1961 Ill. Laws 2453, Ill.Rev.Stat.1961, ch. 38, par. 747.

Shortly thereafter, the 1964 amendments to the judicial article of our 1870 Constitution authorized this court to "provide by rule for appeals to the Appellate Court from other than final judgments of the Circuit Court." (Ill.Const.1870, art. VI (1964), sec. 7.) The same amendment also carried forward the provision that "after a trial on the merits in a criminal case, no appeal shall lie from a judgment of acquittal." (Ill.Const.1870, art. VI (1964), sec. 7.) Subsequently, this court adopted our Rule 27(4) (28 Ill.2d R. 27(4)), which provided:

"(4) In criminal cases the State may appeal only from an order or judgment, the substantive effect of which results in dismissing an indictment, information or complaint; arresting judgment because of a defective indictment, information or complaint; quashing an arrest or search warrant; or suppressing evidence. The procedure in appeals by the State shall be as provided in these rules."

Unlike the 1961 statute, this rule did not purport to limit appeals to pretrial orders. The above-quoted 1964 amendment to the State Constitution and double jeopardy considerations, of course, precluded the State from appealing an acquittal.

The 1970 Constitution confirmed the authority of this court to determine the scope of appeals from other than final judgments. (Ill.Const.1970, art. VI, sec. 6; see also People v. Taylor (1972), 50 Ill.2d 136, 139-40, 277 N.E.2d 878.) That authority, of course, remains subject to the limitations of the double jeopardy clauses (U.S. Const. amends. V, XIV; Ill.Const.1970, art. I, sec. 10). Under that authority this court has carried the contents of former Rule 27(4) into our current Rule 604(a)(1) in substantially unaltered form:

"(1) When State May Appeal. In criminal cases the State may appeal only from an order or judgment the substantive effect of which results in dismissing a charge for any of the grounds enumerated in section 114-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963; arresting judgment because of a defective indictment, information or complaint; quashing an arrest or search warrant; or suppressing evidence." 73 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1).

Under the 1970 Illinois Constitution, the final authority to prescribe the scope of interlocutory appeals by the State in a criminal case rests exclusively with this court (People v. Taylor (1971), 50 Ill.2d 136, 139-40, 277 N.E.2d 878), and whether a particular order may be appealed depends solely upon our construction of our Rule 604(a)(1).

The bare language of the rule-"an order or judgment the substantive effect of which results in * * * suppressing evidence"-appears to allow an appeal from any order precluding the admission of evidence. The courts of this State, however, have uniformly rejected such a broad interpretation. In its stead they have substituted a variety of rules which confine more narrowly the State's right to appeal. In People v. Stuckey (1979), 78 Ill.App.3d 1085, 34 Ill.Dec. 422, 398 N.E.2d 97, the court held that an order precluding the admission of evidence was appealable whenever the trial court's decision was based on the desire to deter unacceptable police conduct rather than on an evaluation of the evidentiary value of the proffered items or testimony. In People v. Koch (1973), 15 Ill.App.3d 386, 304 N.E.2d 482, and People v. Shipp (1968), 96 Ill.App.2d 364, 239 N.E.2d 296, the courts indicated that the State could appeal whenever an evidentiary ruling had the effect of blocking the prosecution. This rationale seemed to be based more on the language of Rule 604(a)(1) that allows appeal from an order dismissing a case than on the "suppressing evidence" language. In People v. Flatt (1979), 75 Ill.App.3d 930, 31 Ill.Dec. 731, 394 N.E.2d 1049, vacated and remanded (1980), 82 Ill.2d 250, --- Ill.Dec. ---, 412 N.E.2d 509, the appellate court held that an order suppressing evidence is appealable whenever the order is based on constitutional considerations. The fourth alternative, allowing appeal only when the order excluding evidence is based on the involuntariness of a confession or the illegality of a search and seizure, is predicated primarily on the language of this court's opinion in People v. Van De Rostyne (1976), 63 Ill.2d 364, 349 N.E.2d 16.

In Van De Rostyne the defendant was charged with driving while intoxicated. After the jury was impaneled but before any evidence was introduced, the defendant moved to suppress the results of...

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