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People v. Hummel

OPINION FILED MAY 13, 1976.

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

v.

MARNA R. HUMMEL, DEFENDANT. — (JOHN A. BEYER, CONTEMNOR-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon. WILLIAM T. CAISLEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GREEN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal of a judgment of contempt entered by the Circuit Court of Livingston County against John A. Beyer, an assistant State's attorney of that county, for failure to comply with a production order of the court.

Defendant Marna Hummel was indicted for the offenses of unlawful possession of less than 2.5 grams of cannabis, a Class C misdemeanor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 704(a)) and unlawful possession of 3 grams of the controlled substance phenobarbital, a Class 3 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(b)). In answer to defendant's initial motion for discovery, the State provided a copy of a laboratory report on certain pills and other items allegedly in defendant's possession at the time of her arrest which had been prepared by Michael E. Cravens, a criminalist employed by the Illinois Bureau of Identification. The report listed the items submitted to the Bureau for analysis and summarized the criminalist's findings. Item 1E was described as "3.0 grams of tan tablets" and the "substance found" therein was stated to be phenobarbital. The report did not indicate what tests were used to make the determination that phenobarbital was present nor provide any other information.

Defendant then filed a "Motion for the Production of Scientific Reports" which sought to require the State to produce the following information:

"1. Scientific reports as to the results of all tests performed on Item #1E of Exhibit A attached hereto and made a part hereof by reference.

2. A description of the procedure by which the alleged scientific tests were made on Item 1E.

3. The name and address of the person performing the aforesaid tests, together with a statement of the educational background and training of said person.

4. Defendant respectfully requests this Court to order the State of Illinois to produce all of the tan tablets described on Exhibit A attached hereto and made a part hereof by reference and identified as Item 1E and that Defendant be given leave to have scientific tests performed on such tablets to determine the content and nature thereof."

The laboratory report had already provided some of the information sought by the motion — the name and address of the criminalist who conducted the tests and his conclusion that Item 1E contained phenobarbital. In response to defendant's motion, the State offered to produce the tan tablets for testing by defendant but opposed the requests of paragraphs 2 and 3 for "a description of the procedure by which the alleged scientific tests were made on Item 1E" and "a statement of the educational background and training" of the criminalist. The court, however, granted defendant's motion in its entirety.

Subsequently the State supplied defendant with the work sheets used by the criminalist in testing the tan tablets. Although the contents of the work sheets were never referred to in the court proceedings below, we note that they appear to include a listing of the tests conducted on Item 1E and notations indicating the results of the tests. At the same time it produced the work sheets, the State filed a motion stating that no further information was available and asking the court to reconsider its ruling and excuse the State from full compliance with the production order. In support of the motion to reconsider, the State submitted a letter from Gary D. McAlvey, Superintendent of the Illinois Bureau of Identification, which stated:

"Laboratory analyses reports issued by the Illinois Bureau of Identification do not include written descriptions of the analytical procedures used in the analysis of evidence being reported upon. It is the policy of the Bureau of Identification to provide information concerning procedures used as part of the direct testimony by the criminalist in each particular case. A wide variety of procedures are available for use depending upon the type and condition of evidence being examined and it is impossible, since every case is unique, to prepare a standard description of analytical procedure. Likewise it is the policy of the Bureau of Identification to provide information concerning the curriculum vitae of the criminalist performing the tests as part of the direct testimony of that individual. Information of this type is not pertinent to a report on the analysis of scientific evidence and is not prepared for inclusion in such reports."

The State's motion was denied and the court ruled that the State had failed to comply with the production order. The court then held the assistant State's attorney in contempt and imposed a fine of 10 cents.

The information at issue here does not fall within the mandatory disclosure provisions of Rule 412(a), (b), or (c) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110A, par. 412(a), (b), (c)). Rather, as recognized by the trial court, the information could only be subject to disclosure under Rule 412(h), which provides that:

"Upon a showing of materiality to the preparation of the defense, and if the request is reasonable, the court in its discretion may require disclosure to defense counsel of relevant material and information not covered by ...


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