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People v. Inman





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. WILLIAM L. BEATTY, Judge, presiding.


Defendant, Thomas Inman, appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Madison County entered upon a jury verdict finding him guilty of unlawful possession of 5.7 grams of a substance containing heroin and from a sentence of 2 to 6 years imposed thereon. Defendant presents two issues for review: (1) whether he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) whether the closing argument of the prosecutor deprived the defendant of his right to a fair trial.

The defendant and a co-defendant were indicted for the offense of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. The defendant entered a plea of guilty to the instant charge, but later was allowed to withdraw his plea.

During the trial the State called four witnesses, the first of whom to testify was Deputy Sheriff Gary Burns. Deputy Burns stated that on November 22, 1973, he obtained and executed a search warrant for an apartment in a building located at 2124 Delmar Avenue in Granite City. Accompanying him were Detective Glen Neuman, and six other police officers. At about 10:30 a.m. on the day in question, Detective Neuman knocked on the door of the apartment named in the search warrant. The defendant answered the door, which had a chain lock on it. According to Deputy Burns, Detective Neuman said "We're police officers, we've got a search warrant, let us in." When the door started to slam shut, Detective Neuman forced the door back open.

Deputy Burns testified that after all of the police officers entered the apartment the defendant exclaimed, "What are you doing breaking down my door?" According to Deputy Burns, Detective Neuman answered, "We have got a search warrant to search this apartment. Do you live here?" and defendant responded, "Yes." According to Detective Neuman, when the defendant answered the door, he said, "What the hell are you pigs doing in my house?" and Neuman responded, "Is this your house?" Defendant answered "Yes."

During the search the defendant, who was wearing only his undershorts, requested permission to put on his jacket. The officers allowed him to get the item. Instead of putting it on, however, he wrapped it around both his arms and dove through the closed glass kitchen window. As he dove, Deputy Randy Lamp grabbed him by the back of his pants, tried to pull him back, but lost his grip. Defendant jumped down to the first story roof. Two other officers apprehended defendant and brought him back upstairs.

Besides the defendant the police found Patricia Brule in the apartment. She was undressed and in bed.

During the search of the apartment, the police officers found several needles, syringes, narcotics paraphernalia, a large amount of money, a pistol, and some white powder in tin foil packets that was tested and proven to be heroin. The heroin was discovered in a small, wooden lady's jewelry box underneath the bed in which defendant and his girlfriend had been sleeping. The officers also found both men's and women's clothing in the closets. When the defendant was taken away from the apartment, he put on a pair of pants, a shirt and a jacket that had been in the apartment.

During closing argument the State's Attorney argued that the defendant knowingly possessed heroin because "there was every indication that he lived with her in that apartment." Defense counsel objected. The court stated, "This is final argument. Overruled." The prosecution stated, "It is a fair inference, a reasonable inference that they were the same as man and wife in any household." Defense counsel noted for the record his continuing objection to the argument.

Defense counsel in closing argument asserted that defendant was not guilty even if he knew Patricia Brule had heroin in the apartment because there was no evidence that defendant actually lived there. In rebuttal, the State's Attorney argued that defendant and his girlfriend were living together and that the defendant "can't escape accountability for this offense by pointing to her." The State's Attorney continued:

"[Defense counsel] in his opening stated * * * his evidence would show she was arrested and gave that address and that [defendant] did not. There is no evidence of that. And no evidence that if she did testify it could help him, because it could not. They were in this together and her testimony if she would give it would condemn him as well as herself."

Defense counsel then objected to "what her testimony would be," and the court overruled the objection.

Following a sentencing hearing, the court sentenced the defendant to 2 to 6 years, the sentence to run concurrently with a 3- to 9-year sentence defendant had received after pleading guilty to another charge of possession of heroin. Defendant's post-trial motion was denied.

The first issue the defendant presents is whether the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant guilty of unlawful possession of heroin. The defendant contends that the State failed to establish a sufficient connection between the controlled substance, the apartment in which it was found, and the defendant, to support the allegation that the defendant knowingly possessed the controlled substance.

• 1 The general rule concerning possession and control of narcotics is well stated in People v. Galloway (1963), 28 Ill.2d 355, 358, 192 N.E.2d 370, 372, cert. denied, ...

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