"Cases Pending" Highlights Cases to be Heard During Illinois Supreme Court's September Term (Criminal)

September 06, 2017 12:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Cases Pending, edited by Gretchen Harris Sperry and Catherine Basque Weiler, has been updated to discuss the Illinois Supreme Court’s September Term, which begins Monday, September 11, 2017, with oral arguments scheduled for September 12, 13, 14, 19 and 20, 2017. A total of 16 cases will be heard – 9 criminal and 7 civil. The following criminal cases are scheduled for argument this Term:

In re Benny M.—No. 120133—September 12
People v. Salimah Cole (In re Amy Campanelli)—No. 120997—September 12
People v. Walter Relerford—No. 121094—September 12
People v. Kevin Hunter & Drashun Wilson—Nos. 121306 & 121345, cons.—September 12

People v. Michael Brooks—No. 121413—September 13
People v. Julio Chairez—No. 121417—September 13
People v. Antoine Hardman—No. 121453—September 13
People v. Anthony Brown—No. 121681—September 13
People v. Jared Staake—No. 121755—September 14

Below is a summary for one of the criminal cases. Summaries for these cases and others pending with the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.

No. 121413
People v. Michael Brooks

Defendant Michael Brooks was involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident around midnight on a summer evening in 2014.  When ambulance personnel and police arrived at the scene, they determined that Brooks appeared to be intoxicated and appeared to have a serious injury, a visibly broken foot.  Brooks stated that he did not want medical treatment, but ambulance personnel insisted that he needed medical treatment and requested police assistance.  A police officer compelled Brooks onto a gurney and into an ambulance, later handcuffing him to a gurney inside the ambulance when he tried to exit the moving vehicle.  At the hospital, Brooks always objected to having his blood tested, but he stayed for twelve hours to receive treatment.  The police officer left after citing him for DUI without talking to any medical personnel.  Brooks later moved to suppress blood testing results on Fourth Amendment grounds, and the State asserted that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because there was no State action involved in the blood testing.

The circuit and appellate courts agreed that the suppression motion should be granted.  The courts cited the police involvement in compelling Brooks to go to the hospital for treatment against his will as the State action triggering application of the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.

Before the supreme court, the State asserts that the lower courts erred by failing to apply the burden-shifting framework applicable to suppression hearings under which defendant bears the burden of making a prima facie case of a Fourth Amendment violation before the burden shifts to the State to counter that case.  Under that framework, defendant did not make a prima facie case because he offered no evidence to show a blood test occurred or, if so, to show who conducted the blood test (or why).  Even if a hospital blood test is assumed to have been conducted by hospital personnel, defendant offered no evidence to show that the blood tester should be considered a State agent.  There is no evidence that the blood tester decided to conduct the test in any way shaped by a law enforcement purpose (rather than testing for purely medical reasons).  Alternatively, even if a prima facie case were made, the circuit court erred by granting the motion before expressly shifting the burden to the State to present contrary evidence.  Brooks responds that the blood test would not have happened but for police involvement in compelling him to go to the hospital for treatment, and that he never consented to the testing.  

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