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People v. Banks

DECEMBER 10, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HERBERT C. PASCHEN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.


Defendant, Samuel Banks, was indicted along with Charles Bussie for the sale of narcotic drugs. Bussie was also charged with the unlawful possession of narcotics. A jury found both men guilty, and defendant, Samuel Banks, was sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary for a term of 10 years to 10 years and one day. Defendant Banks prosecutes his appeal to this court, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for the sale of narcotics; that the trial court erred in allowing evidence of Bussie's possession of narcotics; that evidence of Bussie's inculpatory statement was improperly admitted; that the trial court improperly restricted cross-examination of a prosecution witness; that the conviction was obtained from evidence procured by entrapment; and that certain instructions to the jury were improper. Charles Bussie appealed his convictions directly to the Supreme Court. (People v. Bussie, 41 Ill.2d 323, 243 N.E.2d 196 (1968).) That court affirmed his conviction for the illegal sale of narcotics, but reversed the conviction for illegal possession of narcotics.

This case involves a controlled sale of narcotics. The evidence for the State was as follows. After recording the serial numbers of 30-ten dollar bills, officers of the Narcotics Division of the Chicago Police Department, on June 24, 1966, went with the informers, Edward Palmer and James Small, to a tavern at 39th and State Street, Chicago, where they met with another informer. Nathaniel Clayton. Palmer and Clayton were searched by the officers, and Palmer was given the prerecorded bills. The three informers and the police officers proceeded in separate autos to 7033 East End Avenue in Chicago. Palmer and Small (the latter did not testify at the trial) then went to defendant's apartment. There Palmer told the defendant that he wished to purchase three hundred dollars' worth of marijuana. Defendant replied that he did not have that much on hand but that he would telephone his contact to see if it could be arranged. After going outside to make the phone calls, defendant and the two informers returned to the apartment, where they were joined by Clayton who had been waiting in the automobile. The four men were in the apartment for about 5 or 10 minutes during which time Palmer told defendant that he wished to buy about two pounds of marijuana. Defendant replied that he did not have that much, but soon would be in touch with his contact. They left the apartment, and after another phone call was made by defendant, the four men proceeded to an apartment at 8141 South Maryland in Chicago. Defendant and Palmer entered the apartment, and Charles Bussie sold one and three quarter pounds of marijuana to Palmer for $295. As Palmer and defendant emerged from the building and entered Clayton's automobile, Palmer gave the police a prearranged signal. The police stopped the car, found the marijuana and arrested the defendant. Palmer accompanied the officers back to 8141 Maryland and indicated Bussie's apartment. The officers were not admitted by knocking, so they broke down the door of the apartment with a sledgehammer. They searched the apartment and found a small package of marijuana. During the search of the apartment, Bussie returned, and a search of his person revealed one of the prerecorded ten dollar bills. Bussie told the officers that he had given the rest of the prerecorded money to a person called Mack.

Palmer and Clayton both testified that they had been drug addicts but that they had given up the habit.

For the defense, defendant testified that on the day in question he was visited by Small and Palmer. While Palmer was a stranger to him, he knew Small under the name of James Short. After visiting a tavern, they went in Clayton's automobile to 8141 Maryland at Palmer's direction. Palmer and defendant left the car, and defendant remained in the hallway of the building while Palmer went upstairs. A few minutes later, they returned to the car. The police then stopped the automobile and arrested defendant. The marijuana was found by the police on the front seat of the automobile between two of the informers while defendant was seated in the back seat. Defendant denied any knowledge of the bag, its contents or of the narcotics transaction. He was searched, and neither the prerecorded money nor narcotics was found on his person.

Prior to trial, Bussie's motion to suppress the marijuana found in the search of his apartment was denied. State's motion for consolidation of the indictments and charges, to which Bussie made no objection, was allowed over the objection of defendant.

Defendant first contends that there was no evidence adduced that he sold narcotics to anyone. We do not agree. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act provides in part as follows:

"Sale means and includes traffic in, barter, exchange, or gift, or offer therefor, and each such transaction made by any person whether as principal, proprietor, broker, agent, servant, or employee." Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 38, § 22-2-11.

In People v. Aldridge, 19 Ill.2d 176, 166 N.E.2d 563 (1960), the Supreme Court stated that to sustain a conviction for the unlawful sale of narcotics it was sufficient to show that the defendant participated in the transaction in some capacity, either as principal, agent, servant or employee.

In the instant case, evidence was presented to the jury that Palmer went to defendant's apartment to purchase marijuana, and that the defendant, while unable to supply the requested amount, not only arranged for Bussie to supply the drug, but took Palmer to Bussie's apartment where delivery was made. These acts by the defendant constituted active participation in the unlawful sale, and the defendant cannot escape guilt because neither the narcotic nor the money passed through his hands during the transaction. Defendant cites People v. Boyd, 17 Ill.2d 321, 161 N.E.2d 311 (1959), in support of his contention that there was no participation in any unlawful sale. However the Boyd case was reversed because the court found that there was insufficient identification of the defendant. No such problem exists here.

While the testimony of the police informers, both admitted former drug addicts, should be subject to close scrutiny, it does not follow that such testimony must be disbelieved. People v. Drumwright, 48 Ill. App.2d 392, 199 N.E.2d 282 (1964). The testimony of the informers and police officers was sufficient to sustain conviction.

Defendant next contends that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of Bussie's possession of narcotics. Under this heading, he also urges that it was error to consolidate the indictments and charges for trial.

Where two defendants are jointly indicted for the commission of a crime, they are to be tried together; and whether a separate trial should be granted is largely within the sound judicial discretion of the trial court, People v. Grilec, 2 Ill.2d 538, 119 N.E.2d 232 (1954). Only when the interests of the joint defendants are in fact antagonistic must the court grant separate trials. People v. Dolgin, 415 Ill. 434, 114 N.E.2d 389 (1953). In the case at bar, there was no ...

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