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People v. Stallings

OPINION FILED APRIL 21, 1980.

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

v.

HELEN STALLINGS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. R. EUGENE PINCHAM, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a bench trial, Helen Stallings was found guilty of delivery of a controlled substance and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 4 years to 4 years and 1 day in the Illinois Department of Corrections. On appeal, defendant contends that her conviction cannot stand because (1) the evidence of entrapment was not refuted by the State and (2) the verdict of guilt was inconsistent with the acquittal of her co-defendants.

We affirm.

Helen Stallings, Sherman Neals, Andre Reidgnal, and Ernest Cross were charged by information with delivery of a controlled substance and calculated criminal conspiracy.

Among the witnesses called by the State were George Murray and James Rose. George Murray, an undercover police officer, testified that on October 11, 1977, at approximately 10 p.m., he and James Rose went to Helen's Barbeque Stand, 214 E. 58th Street, Chicago. They went into the office area where Rose phoned someone to arrange a sale for a large quantity of heroin. After waiting 1 1/2 to 2 hours, they were approached by Andre Reidgnal, defendant's son, who stated that he knew they were in Chicago to purchase heroin. Reidgnal handed them a business card with a phone number printed on the reverse side and assured them that either he or Mrs. Stallings would supply them with narcotics on the following day.

Murray further testified that on the following afternoon, he, Rose and several police agents met and made plans for the purchase and surveillance. From a nearby phone booth, Rose called the number on the business card and Murray then obtained $10,000 from the Department of Law Enforcement. At approximately 3:15 p.m. Murray and Rose went to Mrs. Stallings' home.

Mrs. Stallings, Andre Reidgnal and Sherman Neals were present when Rose and Murray arrived. Defendant told Murray and Rose that they should not have left the barbeque stand the night before because she had been able to get the package together for them. Rose introduced Murray as his friend "Tony from St. Louis" who "would be up from now on to buy dope," and Stallings replied that this would be no problem.

Defendant showed Murray different narcotic test kits and several books about narcotics. She also made two phone calls in order to obtain the heroin for Murray. Shortly after the second call, Ernest Cross and Jacqueline Brown arrived at defendant's home. Cross handed plastic bags containing a brown powder to defendant. Murray left to get the money from his car and when he returned defendant handed him a handful of packets containing the brown powder. It was later stipulated that the substance positively reacted for heroin. Neals, whom defendant had previously introduced as her "dope tester," prepared to test the heroin. Murray then announced that he was a police officer and placed everyone under arrest.

On cross-examination, Murray stated that he did not search the apartment before he left and that the books, narcotic test kits and scale were left at the residence. He also testified that Rose knew defendant because Rose told him that he had previously purchased drugs from her.

James Rose, an informant, testified that he had been convicted for possession of heroin and was advised that any help he provided the Government would be taken into consideration in his case. He stated that on October 11, 1977, Murray and Rose went to Helen's Barbeque Stand. Reidgnal telephoned defendant and Rose spoke to her and told her that he was in town to buy 10 ounces of "dope." Defendant said she could get the package together for him. When they prepared to leave approximately 1 1/2 hours later, Reidgnal gave them a business card with a phone number printed on the reverse side and told them to call that number the next day.

When Rose called the next day, defendant stated that she had been able to get the heroin the night before. Rose and Murray went to defendant's home. Reidgnal and Neals were also present and they all conversed about drugs. Defendant and Murray later talked about narcotic test kits and drug mixtures described in a magazine. Rose also stated that defendant made two phone calls while he was there and, after the second call, she explained that the conversation was about drugs and that 10 ounces of "dope" were being brought to her home. Cross and a woman entered the apartment shortly thereafter, and Cross handed several packets to defendant who, in turn, handed them to Murray when Murray returned from his car with the money. Thereafter, Murray arrested everyone there, except Cross who ran out of the house.

Defendant, testifying on her own behalf, stated that Rose and Murray, whom Rose introduced as his friend "Tony," arrived at her home at approximately 3 p.m. on October 12, 1977. Shortly after they arrived, she and Rose entered her bedroom and Rose stated that Murray had a large sum of money and that Rose wanted to "rip him off". Rose further told defendant that he brought Murray to Chicago to buy drugs and asked her if she knew where they could get some. When defendant replied that she did not know where they could purchase some drugs, Rose replied that he did and that "if it went off," he would give her $1,000.

Defendant further testified that Rose made a phone call while Murray was out of the house. She heard Rose ask, "B, you still got ten of those things I gave you?" Rose also gave "B" her address. After Rose completed the call, he told defendant that everything had been arranged.

Approximately 45 minutes later, a man, whom Rose identified as "B", arrived. Defendant, Rose, and "B" went into defendant's bedroom. After Rose asked "B" if he had brought "10 of those things", "B" handed Rose a paper ...


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