Is Validity of An Arrest Affected by Mistaken Identity of a Suspect ?
In People v. Gwin, 49 Ill. 2d 255, 258-59, 274 N.E.2d 43 (1971), our supreme court addressed the question of the validity of a search made subsequent to an arrest.
Based on a witness's description, the police had probable cause to arrest a suspected burglar.
The police arrested Gwin, who fit the description, near the scene of the burglary.
However, even though Gwin was linked to items stolen in the burglary, the complaining witness told the police that Gwin was not the man he had seen in his apartment.
The court stated that the possible mistaken identity in arresting Gwin was of no importance because "where police have probable cause to arrest one person, and they reasonably mistake another for him and make an arrest, the validity of the arrest is not affected by the mistake." Gwin, 49 Ill. 2d at 258-59.