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People v. Craig

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 31, 1979.

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

v.

LARRY CRAIG ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THEODORE M. SWAIN, Judge, presiding.

MISS JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant Larry Craig was charged by information with one count of possession of a controlled substance, phencyclidine. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(b).) Defendant Thomas Finucane was charged by information with one count of possession of a controlled substance, heroin, and one count of possession of a controlled substance, phenmetrazine. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(b).) Following a bench trial both defendants were convicted. Craig was sentenced to 1 to 3 years and Finucane was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 1 to 3 years.

Both defendants argue on appeal that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substances analyzed by the State's chemists and determined to be controlled substances were the same substances found in the defendants' possession. Defendant Finucane also contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance allegedly recovered from him was phenmetrazine.

The State's evidence showed that on January 14, 1977, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Chicago Police Officers Scapardine and Slowik observed the defendants and another man standing near a late model Oldsmobile which had stopped in the middle of the street in the 800 block at 82nd Street. Officer Scapardine observed Finucane hand an amount of currency to the driver, who handed him a tinfoil packet. When the officers attempted to arrest the defendants, they fled. A second police car containing Chicago Police Officers Cammlarie and Parrillo arrived on the scene. Scapardine told them to "grab Larry and Fig," the defendants, and that a deal had just been made.

Cammlarie arrested the defendants a block away. Later, at the police station in the presence of Parrillo, he searched Finucane and recovered, from the inside pockets of his jacket, three hypodermic needles, one large tinfoil packet containing 14 maroon pills, one tinfoil packet of brown powder and one tinfoil packet containing three peach-colored pills and five yellow pills. Parillo placed these items into an evidence bag, People's Exhibit 2, and took it to Slowik who inventoried its contents. After Parillo signed and sealed the envelope he deposited it into the police department's safe.

Parrillo was also present when Craig was brought to the lockup. Craig took his wallet out of his pocket and placed it on a table. The lockup personnel removed nine tinfoil packages from the wallet. Parrillo took these items to Slowik who inventoried them. Parrillo placed the packages in an envelope, People's Exhibit 5, signed and sealed it and deposited it into the police department's safe.

It was stipulated at trial that if called, Robert J. McMillin, a police department chemist, would testify that three pink tablets in People's Exhibit 2 contained phenmetrazine and that the brown powder in the tinfoil packet was heroin.

The parties also stipulated that if called Wilson W. Terrell, a police department chemist, would testify that the substance in the three foil packets contained in People's Exhibit 5 was phencyclidine.

It was further stipulated that the proper chain of custody of this evidence was maintained at all times since it was placed in the police mail.

Defendant Finucane testified that he had let someone else wear his jacket prior to January 14. He denied that he had any narcotics on his person on the date of his arrest.

Defendant Craig testified that he did not have any narcotics in his possession on January 14, 1977. Inside the police station he was ordered to remove his clothing. The officers did not recover any narcotics from his wallet or other possessions. When the civilian working in the lockup searched him he took Craig's wallet and left the room. When the civilian returned with Parrillo they had tinfoil packages in their hands which Craig testified he had never seen before.

The defendants contend that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substances analyzed by the police chemists were the substances taken from the defendants. However, the foregoing evidence clearly demonstrates a chain of possession from the time the evidence was discovered on the person of the defendants until the objects were placed in the evidence envelopes. The defendants stipulated at trial to the integrity of the chain thereafter, and the stipulations introduced at trial established the chemical nature of the substances obtained from the defendants. In this case there is not the slightest proof of any substitution or tampering with the contraband.

• 1, 2 The defendants contend that the fact that no mention was made in the stipulation with respect to other substances recovered from the defendants raises the possibility of tampering or substitution prior to the time the narcotics envelopes reached the chemists. However, because the defendants were charged only with possession of three controlled substances, any mention of the other substances in the stipulation would have been unnecessary. As the court observed in People v. Pagliara (1977), 47 Ill. App.3d 708, 365 N.E.2d 72, the prosecution is not required to exclude all possibility of tampering, but is only required to show a reasonable probability that the article has not been changed in any important respect. The State met its burden in proving the integrity of the chain of possession of the evidence. See People v. Valentin (1978), 66 Ill. App.3d 488, 384 N.E.2d 67.

Defendant Finucane's second contention, that the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance he possessed contained phenmetrazine, is based upon a defect in the report of proceedings at trial in which the crucial words stating the conclusion of the chemical examiner concerning the substance was not reported because it was "inaudible." The parties corrected the report of proceedings by filing a stipulation in this court which makes clear that the stipulation actually read into the record ...


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