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City of Chicago v. Adams

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 20, 1977.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO, APPELLANT,

v.

OLLIE ADAMS, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Matthew J. Moran, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Ollie Adams, was convicted of failure to register a deadly weapon (Chicago Municipal Code, sec. 11.1-7). The appellate court reversed (38 Ill. App.3d 1008), and we allowed the plaintiff's, city of Chicago's, leave to appeal.

On February 4, 1975, Officer Victor Vega presented to a judge of the circuit court a complaint for a search warrant which contained the following sworn statement:

"I, Victor Vega, a Chicago police officer had a conversation with John Doe who appears before the court today. In this conversation John Doe told me that on February 3, 1975 he was in the apartment of Alice Adams, located at 3016 W. Polk Street, at 7:30 P.M. and observed about fifty handguns in the apartment. He also told me that he observed four shotguns with barrel length of fifteen inches or less. It was also learned that many of the handguns had the serial numbers filed off and defaced. These same weapons have been seen by John Doe on numerous occasions prior to February 3, 1975 in the apartment of Alice Adams. Due to the above facts I still have probable cause to believe that these weapons are still in the apartment and Alice Adams is in violation of ch. 38, sec. 2401(a)(7), unlawful use and possession of weapons. The above mentioned Alice Adams is the lessee of the apartment and at the time John Doe saw these weapons no one else was in the apartment except him and Alice Adams."

A warrant was issued for the search of defendant and her apartment and for the seizure of four sawed-off shotguns. Later that day the warrant was executed and four weapons were seized, three of which were registered. Defendant was charged with failing to register a pistol not described in the warrant but seized in the search.

Defendant moved to quash the search warrant and suppress the evidence on the grounds that the affidavit was insufficient to show probable cause. The record shows the following:

"THE COURT: Let me clarify this. What took place on February 4, 1975, when you appeared before Judge Pompey to obtain the search warrant?

THE OFFICER: The complainant gave us information. He has been in Mrs. Adams' apartment several times and observed the weapons, sawed-off shotguns and guns with filed serial numbers.

THE COURT: Did the complainant appear with you before Judge Pompey?

THE OFFICER: Yes.

THE COURT: Did the judge swear the witness?

THE OFFICER: Yes."

The circuit court denied the motion, found defendant guilty, and fined her the sum of $100.

In reversing the conviction, the appellate court held that when an informant appears before an issuing judge the sworn testimony of the informant must be reduced to writing and signed so that if his statements are untrue he can be charged with perjury. It held further that because the sufficiency of the warrant must be determined from ...


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