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People v. Gardner

JULY 3, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. A.F. WELLS, Judge, presiding. Affirmed. MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

CHARGE: Unlawful sale of narcotic drugs.

DEFENSE: Denial of the charge.

JUDGMENT: After a jury trial defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years to life in the Illinois State Penitentiary.


1) Defendant was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

2) The jury was interrupted in its deliberations.

EVIDENCE: On behalf of the State evidence was introduced that on March 28, 1962, at about 10:30 p.m., one Monty Blue went to police headquarters where he told Police Officers King and Kelly of the Narcotics Section that he could buy heroin that night and would lead them to the seller. He was searched thoroughly by the police, and no money or narcotics were found on him. Afterwards the police gave him $12 in marked money, and he drove with Officer Kelly in a squad car to the vicinity of 39th Street and Ellis Avenue in Chicago. Officer King drove to the area in his squad car which he positioned in a gas station near Cottage Grove and Oakwood, later moving to another station near Oakwood and Ellis.

Blue testified that he left Officer Kelly's squad car at 39th and Ellis and went to 40th Street and Oakwood, where he stood for two or three minutes, when the defendant, James Gardner, and a girl named Billie Widerman drove up in a car. Blue asked the defendant if he could get some heroin; the defendant told him to wait, and he sent the girl down the street. Blue and the defendant then went around the corner into a hallway on Oakwood Boulevard, where he gave the defendant a $10 bill and two singles, the marked money he had received from Officer King. The defendant then gave him two packages and Blue returned to Officer Kelly's car. The defendant went down Oakwood Boulevard. Blue testified that when he returned to Officer Kelly's car he told him he had made the purchase; Officer Kelly radioed Officer King who told them to come to the gas station located across the street from the place Blue and the defendant had met. When they reached there Officer King came to Officer Kelly's car and Blue gave Officer King the two packages he had purchased.

Officer Kelly testified that after Blue left his car he saw him walk to the corner and saw the defendant and the girl approach him; that the girl walked down the street and Blue and the defendant walked around the corner; that he saw Blue contact no one else, and that Blue was out of his sight for only about 45 seconds. Officer Kelly further testified that Blue got into the squad car and rode with him to contact Officer King; that when Officer King came to Officer Kelly's car Blue handed Officer King the foil packages; that Officer King immediately tested one of them and found that it was heroin. Officer Kelly stated that after the conversation with Blue, Officer King left and arranged to meet Officer Kelly and Blue at Powers Restaurant, a short distance from where the sale was made.

Both Officer King and Officer Kelly testified to the transfer of the tinfoil packages from Blue to King. After testing the contents Officer King took the packages of heroin to the Narcotics Unit, 1121 South State Street.

Officer King testified that he saw Blue and the defendant go to the corner, but did not see them inside the hallway; that Blue returned to the squad car, and a minute later he, King, received a radio message from Officer Kelly that the sale had taken place. After Officer Kelly drove his squad car to the station where Officer King was parked, King got into Kelly's car, performed a field test on the white powder in the packages given to him by Blue, and determined that it was heroin. Officer King testified that after a complete description given him by Blue of the people concerned he instructed Blue to enter a restaurant and observe the defendant and the girl. When they were identified by Blue pointing to their backs, Officer King arrested the two persons. They were searched, and the marked $10 bill was found in Billie Widerman's purse, and a marked $1 bill was found on the defendant. When questioned Billie Widerman said she had received the money in payment for her work. Later, on cross-examination she said she had received the $10 from the defendant.

The defendant, James Gardner, testified that he and Billie Widerman were going home after a movie when he saw Sonny Crockett, who owed him $7 from a poolroom bet; that he parked his car and approached Crockett who was with Blue, and demanded his money; that Crockett gave him a $10 bill and Gardner got $5 change from Billie Widerman, then received $2 more in singles from Crockett as payment in full. He stated that he then left and met Billie Widerman in a nearby restaurant where they were later arrested. He testified that he did not sell narcotics to anyone.

The jury found Gardner guilty, but deadlocked as to Billie Widerman who was then discharged.

The defendant argues that the informer, Blue, should be disbelieved because he testified that after he made the purchase from Gardner, Officer King paid him $18 so that he could pay his rent. It is also argued that Blue should not be believed because he had stated on direct examination that he was not an addict and that the last time he used narcotics was nine months before; that he took the stand in the afternoon and ...

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