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People v. Rogers

OPINION FILED APRIL 28, 1978.

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

v.

JOE ROGERS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Piatt County; the Hon. JOHN P. SHONKWILER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Search warrants.

"Knock and announce" rule.

Quashed.

We affirm.

Rogers was charged with unlawful possession of amphetamines. Following the trial court's suppression of certain evidence obtained under two search warrants (which were also quashed), the State appeals.

Both warrants were issued and executed on May 27, 1977, at Rogers' rural home in Piatt County. At approximately 5 o'clock p.m. on that date, Mrs. Rogers, her little boy, and a friend (Terry Waller) were sitting in the living room when her little son stood up and said the police were there. She stood, turned around and saw three or four policemen come in through the front door. A search warrant was handed to her and one of the policemen stated who they were — but only after they had entered the house. Mrs. Rogers' testimony was that the officers (some in uniform) rushed in and neither knocked nor announced their identity or purpose until after they were inside. Terry Waller also testified that immediately after the little Rogers boy said there were police in the yard, police were coming in the front door, not having knocked or announced themselves first. In fact, they came through both a closed screen door and a wooden door, both unlocked. The house is a large one: three stories in height, 15 or 16 rooms, three doors on the first floor (the basement), two doors upstairs (first living floor), doors on three sides of the house.

On the day of the hearing, the trial court denied the motion to suppress. However, the next day the trial judge filed an order reversing his previous day's action, finding that an unannounced entry through two unlocked doors was a forcible entry within the meaning of the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution, and that although it was a large house with many exits, there were no exigent circumstances present since the police had already surrounded the house to prevent an escape. The first search warrant (cannabis) was thus improper, and since the second search warrant (amphetamines) was the result of the first improper search, that evidence was suppressed.

The State argues (1) that the complaints for the two search warrants were sufficient to establish probable cause, and (2) the policemen's unannounced entry did not violate the fourth amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

I. The complaints were good.

• 1, 2 The first search warrant complaint was sworn to by "Jerry Smith," a fictitious name. But under People v. Stansberry (1971), 47 Ill.2d 541, 268 N.E.2d 431, this fact does not taint the complaint or resulting warrant. As to the facts asserted in the complaint, we judge them quite sufficient to establish probable cause that the substance observed was marijuana:

"That at or about 9:00 p.m. on May 26, 1977, the undersigned was at the residence of Joe Rodgers [sic], located as above described, that the undersigned is acquainted with the said Joe Rodgers [sic] and recognized him at said residence on the date and at the time mentioned above; that on the date and at the time mentioned above, the undersigned observed in said residence a number of clear plastic bags containing a deep brown colored vegetable material; that the undersigned is familiar with Cannabis or Marijuana, having seen it on numerous previous occasions, and recognized the contents of the bags referred to above to be Cannabis or Marijuana, having seen the contents thereof."

The informant stated that he saw a brownish vegetable material in plastic bags and compared it with his previous experience to form a belief that it was marijuana. It would be totally unreasonable to impose a requirement for a search warrant that the material be analyzed, or that the informant has used or smelled it. The observations, the past experience and the belief that it is an illegal substance is sufficient. People v. Krug (1976), 38 Ill. App.3d 383, 347 N.E.2d 807; People v. Beck (1975), 28 Ill. App.3d 782, 329 N.E.2d 325.

• 3 A second search warrant was sought upon the complaint of one of the deputy sheriffs who ...


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