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People v. Buford

MAY 14, 1974.

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

v.

JAMES BUFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR E. ZELEZINSKI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a bench trial in the court below, appellant James Buford (hereinafter defendant) was found guilty of the offense of possession of heroin, pursuant to the provisions of Illinois' Controlled Substances Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1100 et seq.), and he was sentenced to a term of 4 months in the House of Correction.

The single issue raised on appeal is whether the State failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance possessed by defendant was, in fact, heroin.

Prior to the calling of witnesses in the court below, the following colloquy took place between respective counsel and the court:

"Mr. Sullivan [Assistant State's Attorney]: * * * Stipulate to the lab report, counsel?

Mr. Carey [Defense Counsel]: Proceed on the misdemeanor, yes. Do you have the lab report? I will.

Mr. Sullivan: All right. Judge, for the record now, Mr. Carey will stipulate to the lab report, and therefore the state will proceed on a, we will ask leave to proceed on the misdemeanor.

The Court: Leave granted to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. All right."

Officer Cox, called as a State's witness, testified, in pertinent part, that on September 17, 1971, he, along with three other police officers, executed a search warrant in a first-floor apartment located at 3250 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago; that defendant was present when the search warrant was executed; that the officers found "three hypodermic needles, and kitchen cabinet found eight syringes [sic]; found one foil pack containing white powder in bedroom on a bed, and I took one pack, tin foil out of the defendant's right hand front pocket"; and that he arrested defendant.

The following colloquy then took pace between the officer and counsel for the State:

"Q. Did you take that contraband yourself, the foil packet to the Chicago Crime Detection Laboratory?

A. That is correct, sir.

Q. Was that returned on the 22nd of September, 1971, case ...


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