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People v. Hall

NOVEMBER 25, 1969.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MARK E. JONES, Judge, presiding. Judgment reversed and cause remanded.


The defendant was indicted for the unlawful sale of narcotic drugs, and on November 20, 1967, was tried before a jury, found guilty and sentenced to a minimum term of ten years and a maximum term of ten years and a day in the Illinois State Penitentiary. This appeal is taken from that judgment.

In this court the defendant argues that his rights were violated when he was restricted in cross-examination concerning the address of the addict-informer who testified in the case; and when the police used an addict-informer to make the alleged purchase of narcotics.

Of necessity the police have established a technique of "controlled sales" in order to apprehend those dealing in the unlawful sale of narcotics. Floyd Flemister, a narcotics user, was searched on May 27, 1967, by members of the Chicago Police Department to verify that he had no narcotics or currency in his possession. He was then given two five-dollar bills and five one-dollar bills after the serial numbers had been recorded, and was taken by by the police to the vicinity of 43rd Street and Vincennes Avenue, in the City of Chicago, where he met the defendant and told him he wanted to buy narcotics. The defendant and another man who was with him walked out of sight and returned in ten or twenty minutes, after which the three went to a restaurant. Officer Winfred Ray, watching from across the street, saw the informer hand money to the defendant; he then changed his vantage point, and from two to five feet away, saw the defendant hand the informer something at the doorway of the restaurant.

The defendant and the man with him (Emanuel Edwards) then went into a food store for a few minutes while the informer returned to the corner where Officer Crosier was standing (there were three policemen at the scene). Officer Crosier opened the tinfoil package the informer gave him and found a white powder; he then signaled Officer Ray, who arrested the defendant and Edwards. A subsequent chemical analysis showed the powder to be heroin.

During the time between the sale and the arrest, the suspects had entered three stores. The third officer, Terry Cornell, checked the stores and found one of the prerecorded five-dollar bills in one store; a search of the defendant's person disclosed the five prerecorded one-dollar bills.

In the defendant's trial the informer stated that his real name was Floyd Flemister, but that he used the name of Albert Cross; that he was a special employee of the Chicago Police Department and had twice been convicted of felonies prior to this time. On cross-examination he admitted that he had received money from the police in payment; that he was a narcotics addict, and performed odd jobs to support his habit. He stated that he and the defendant knew one another from the neighborhood, and that the defendant knew him by his nickname of "Blo." He testified that he had always lived in Chicago and was presently separated from his wife and children. When asked where he lived the following colloquy occurred:

Q. "Where do you live, Mr. Cross?"

Mr. Motherway (Assistant State's Attorney): "Object."

The Court: "What is the basis of that objection?"

Mr. Motherway: "Ray case among other things, your Honor, plus its irrelevancy."

The Court: "All right. Objection sustained."

Based on this ruling of the trial court, the defendant argues that his rights under the Sixth Amendment to the Federal Constitution were violated in that he was denied his right to effectively cross-examine the informer. He further argues that when the addict-informer takes the stand there are no "protected areas of inquiry," and that United States Supreme Court opinions have specifically held that the defense is entitled to elicit the place of residence of the witness.

In Alford v. United States, 282 U.S. 687, 689, the court agreed with defense counsel that "the jury was entitled to know `who the witness is, where he lives and what his business is.'" We do not feel, however, that this statement was meant to be available to every defendant in every criminal prosecution, regardless of the facts. We believe the intent of the opinion is that the defendant is entitled to place the witness in his proper setting to subject the weight and credibility of the witness' testimony to scrutiny by the finder of fact. (See pages 691-692 of Alford.) In that case the government witness was in the custody of federal authorities, and the defense wanted to show that his testimony "was biased because given ...

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