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People v. Savage

MAY 22, 1967.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THOMAS SAVAGE AND WILLIAM PUCKLEY (IMPLEADED), DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. EDWARD F. HEALY, Judge, presiding. Judgment reversed and remanded.

MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Defendants, Thomas Savage and William Puckley, were jointly indicted in three counts for violation of the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act. The first count charged them with possession of narcotics, the second with dispensing a narcotic drug and the third with conspiring to sell narcotics. The defendants were tried jointly and the jury found them both guilty on all three counts of the indictment.

Defendant Thomas Savage was sentenced to 9 to 10 years for possession (Count 1), 20 years to life for dispensing (Count 2) and 4 to 5 years for conspiring to sell (Count 3), all sentences to run concurrently.

Defendant William Puckley was sentenced to 7 to 10 years for possession (Count 1), 10 years to life for dispensing (Count 2), and 4 to 5 years for conspiring to sell (Count 3), all sentences to run concurrently.

On motion of the defendants, this cause has been consolidated on appeal, the transaction out of which the indictment arose, the trial and the basic issues of law and fact being the same.

The State's case consisted of two witnesses. One was a police chemist who testified that certain pills delivered to him were chemically tested and found to be morphine sulphate, a narcotic drug. There were also 2,200 red pills which were nonnarcotic. The main witness was police officer, Harold Johnson, a vice detective.

The facts as revealed by Officer Johnson's testimony are that on February 3, 1965, he received a telephone call from a person he described as a reliable informer. Two days later the informer called again and after talking for a few minutes put a man who identified himself as "Bill" on the telephone. "Bill" said he was interested in "someone who wanted to get some pieces to deal around the high school area." "Bill" also said, "I have $1,500.00 with me now, but if you want more, take this and try it, and I will get in touch with you tonight and bring as much as you want." Officer Johnson said he did not have that much money but said he would get it.

The officer then told his informer to have "Bill" call the Roberts Motel and ask for Willie Johnson. The officer called ahead to get a room at the motel and proceeded there. Johnson made the room appear as if he had been living there for some time. The motel clerk was instructed that if two white men came looking for Willie Johnson, they were to be directed to his room.

Officer Johnson waited for more than an hour. The two defendants arrived at the motel and after talking to the desk clerk came to his room. Johnson opened the door and Puckley said, "I am the fellow who called you, Bill." The defendants went into the motel room. Defendant Savage told Johnson that they "were looking for someone to deal in the high school area." The conversation continued and Johnson told the defendants he was interested in purchasing narcotics from them.

Puckley then told Savage "(G)o ahead, pick up the stuff." Savage left and Puckley told Johnson he had "more stuff that my partner doesn't know anything about." He offered to deal with Johnson on the side and also to get stolen clothing for him in his size.

About one hour after Savage left, the telephone rang. It was Savage and he asked to "speak to Bill." About 20 minutes later, Savage entered the room carrying a plastic bag wrapped around a brown bag. He placed it on the bed and said: "Here is your stuff."

Puckley and Savage opened the bag and dumped the contents on the bed. There were a large number of red pills, which were later discovered to be nonnarcotic. There was also a bottle of white pills. The bottle was emptied onto the dresser, the pills counted, replaced in the bottle and then the bottle was set down on the dresser. Officer Johnson deliberately knocked the bottle off the dresser, spilling the pills. Savage said that the pills were worth $6,000 and "we are giving you a break to get everything set up in the schools." Savage and Puckley bent down to pick up the pills. At this point Johnson removed his revolver from under the mattress where he had hid it, and showing his badge to the defendants, placed them under arrest.

Defendant Savage testified on his own behalf. He denied having any knowledge of the narcotics, but admitted knowing about the red pills which were barbiturates. He went to the motel with Puckley who said they were supposed to meet a woman there. The motel clerk directed them to Johnson's room and Johnson told them the "woman" was his common-law wife, but she was out at the moment. The men engaged in conversation for a while including stolen clothes and narcotics. Johnson asked "if we could get hold of any narcotics . . . and I said, `sure,' we could probably get hold of some." Savage left the room and said he "was going to see about getting some pills, barbiturates." He went to the Englewood Station where he removed a leather coat from a safe-deposit box. The key was given to him by Puckley, but Savage denied knowledge of the fact that barbiturate pills were in the coat. He was, however, aware that they had the pills. "We had them with us for about a week."

After going shopping and purchasing some new clothes, Savage called the motel. Puckley told him to come over which he did. Upon arrival he dropped a package of his old clothes on the bed and was then placed under arrest. He denied ever ...


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