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People v. Hollis

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 23, 1978.

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

v.

LEON HOLLIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS WEXLER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied March 9, 1978.

Defendant, Leon Hollis, was charged in a two count indictment with possession of controlled substances. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(a).) The controlled substances were described in the counts of the indictment as heroin and cocaine, respectively.

Before trial, the court denied defendant's motions to conduct a hearing to inquire into the truthfulness of the allegations contained in the complaint for the search warrant and to produce the informer. The judge also denied, after a hearing, defendant's motion to quash the search warrant and to suppress certain evidence.

The trial commenced on January 12, 1976, before a jury. The following day, during the State's presentation of its case-in-chief, defendant chose to waive the jury. The case then continued on as a bench trial. Defendant was found guilty on both counts, and sentenced to a term of four to 12 years in the Illinois State Penitentiary.

On appeal, defendant contends that: (1) certain physical evidence, objected to by him at trial, should not have been admitted into evidence; (2) the police officers' manner of entry into his dwelling, although pursuant to a search warrant, violated his constitutional right prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures; and (3) the trial judge improperly refused to conduct a hearing into the truthfulness of the allegations contained in the complaint for the search warrant.

We affirm the decision of the trial court.

At 12:15 a.m. on September 10, 1973, pursuant to an application by Officer Earnest Cain of the Chicago Police Department, a search warrant was issued authorizing the search of defendant and his premises and the seizure of "Heroin, Cocaine and other Narcotic articles used in the destribution [sic] and sale of Narcotics and the Money derived from such activitys [sic]."

Officer Cain and his partner, Officer James Ahern, testified at the hearing on the motion to suppress and at trial. Their testimony disclosed that after obtaining the search warrant, they proceeded with eight other Chicago police officers to the apartment building at 7834 S. Phillips where defendant resided. The officers arrived at approximately 1:45 a.m., and observed, as they had been previously told by an informant, that the front door of defendant's second floor apartment was protected by locked burglar bars.

Officer Ahern and two other officers entered the apartment building and approached the front door to the second floor apartment. Other officers were assigned to the rear door. Officer Cain positioned himself in a gangway on the south side of the building.

Officer Ahern testified that he took out a pair of bolt cutters and attempted to cut the lock on the burglar bars covering the front door. He was unsuccessful in cutting the lock as the bolt cutter he was using broke. He then hit the lock approximately five times and the lock broke. Immediately thereafter, he proceeded to knock down the front door and gain entry into the apartment.

Officer Ahern further testified that he neither announced himself as a police officer; nor did he mention that he had a search warrant; nor did he hear the officers stationed in the rear so announce themselves prior to the entry into the apartment. Immediately after the bolt cutters broke, Ahern did hear intermittent sounds in the apartment which he characterized as the running of someone in their bare feet. Ahern stated that he entered the apartment almost simultaneously with the officers entering through the back door.

Officer Cain, while stationed in the gangway, observed that there were no lights discernible in the second floor apartment windows. Cain heard a knocking sound and a muffled voice which he believed belonged to Officer Wallace. The voice was saying words to the effect that they were police officers armed with a search warrant. Cain then heard a loud crashing noise which sounded like a door being knocked down. He then observed a small light appear in the second floor apartment and the window being raised halfway. Cain crouched down and when he looked up, he saw a man from the shoulders up leaning out the window. The man turned his head to each side and then pulled back into the apartment. The man leaned out a second time and Cain observed that he was wearing a sleeveless, multicolored T-shirt. The man then took a bag and threw it out the window close to the wall of the building. When the bag hit the ground, Cain retrieved it and began walking towards the front of the building. As he was walking, he examined the bag and noticed it was a blue Seagram Crown Royal liquor pouch. Inside the bag were nine plastic packets containing white powder, and a plastic bag containing crushed green plant.

When Cain entered the apartment, the other police officers were already there and were searching various rooms. A man, wearing a multicolored, sleeveless T-shirt was in the living room. Cain placed him under ...


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