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The People v. Bryant

SEPTEMBER 29, 1971.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

DENNIS P. BRYANT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. L.L. RECHENMACHER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant herein was indicted with one Larry Steen for the unlawful sale of a narcotic drug. He was represented by counsel of his own choice and by agreement of counsel was tried separately from Steen. The jury found the defendant guilty of the sale of marijuana, and he was sentenced by the court to serve ten to twelve years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

On the evening of August 11, 1969, Detective Michael Ray, an undercover agent of the Du Page County Sheriff's staff, dressed as a hippie, went to Sandy's Drive-In in Addison. Sgt. Doria of the Du Page County Sheriff's office gave the agent $40 in bills bearing previously recorded serial numbers. When Detective Ray arrived at Sandy's Drive-in, he talked to Larry Steen about buying narcotics. They got into the back seat of a Ford. They were joined by Dennis Bryant, and a marijuana cigarette was allegedly lighted and passed around to the five people in the car. The agent then had a conversation with Larry Steen, in the presence of the defendant, about the possibility of Agent Ray buying a "lid" ($20) of marijuana. Steen told Ray that he could not do so. Steen then asked the defendant if he could get him a "nickel bag" ($5) of marijuana to tide him over. Detective Ray then gave the defendant Bryant $5 of the recorded money and Bryant drove off. The defendant returned about half an hour later and said he could not get it. He then left and returned in a 1956 Chevrolet driven by an unknown party. Larry Steen approached the Chevrolet on the passenger side, and Agent Ray saw defendant Bryant hand Larry Steen a white envelope through the window on the passenger side. Steen then went to Ray's vehicle and placed the envelope on the front seat of Ray's car. The agent took down the license number of the Ford automobile that the defendant had originally come in as LC 9851. The agent drove to Detective Doria's house and gave the envelope to him which was introduced in evidence as State's Exhibit No. 1 and its contents was identified as marijuana by Gloria Kratz, an analyst for the State of Illinois, Department of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Identification.

The defendant has urged four grounds for reversal. The principal contention of the defendant is that he was denied a fair trial by the introduction of testimony of a Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Quinlan. The defendant took the stand and testified in his own behalf. On cross-examination the State's Attorney asked the defendant if he knew the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan. An objection was made and in chambers out of the presence of the jury the State's Attorney stated:

"I have evidence he has said to Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan he has smoked marihuana in 1963 and he has smoked it at other times and he doesn't see anything wrong with it.

This is material to the question which goes to his propensity, to deal in and be associated with this particular type of drug." Emphasis supplied.

The trial judge sustained the objection. However, the State's Attorney proceeded with the cross examination and the following colloquy took place:

"Q: You indicated in answer to your counsel's question that you never sold marihuana to Michael Ray or anyone else, is that correct, sir?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did you ever give marihuana to anybody else?

A: No, sir.

Q: Never?

A: No, sir.

Q: In your entire ...


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