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People v. Douglas

OPINION FILED JULY 7, 1980.

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

v.

MATTHEW DOUGLAS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MARVIN J. PETERS, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a bench trial, Matthew Douglas (defendant), was found guilty of two counts of forgery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 17-3(a)(1) and par. 17-3(a)(2)), and one count of attempt (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 8-4) to violate the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. He was sentenced to two years. He appeals.

Following this factual statement, defendant's contentions will be considered in order:

At a pretrial hearing, a motion of defendant to quash his arrest and suppress evidence was denied. At this hearing, Officer Hachmeister testified that on July 1, 1977, working in plain clothes, he was called to the Des Plaines Pharmacy. The caller told him someone there was "trying to pass a fraudulent prescription." At about 10:15 p.m. the officer spoke to the pharmacist, Morris. Morris said a person had tried to fill a prescription. Morris walked outside with the officer and identified the defendant as that person. Defendant was seated on the passenger side of a parked automobile some 15 or 20 feet away. The driver of the car "sped away." The officer followed. After a chase, defendant and the driver were apprehended and returned to the pharmacy. Morris again identified defendant. The defendant was violating no law when arrested.

The officer found defendant's name, Matthew Douglas, on the prescription. The evidence also shows after the arrest the officer contacted the Hines Veterans Hospital because the prescription stated that it was to be filled only in Veterans Administration Health Care Facilities. There was no doctor at that hospital bearing the name of the one who had signed the prescription. The prescription was for "preludin." The hospital told the officer "they would not issue that type of drug on their forms."

Morris testified the defendant presented the prescription and gave him an identification card from the Veterans Administration Hospital with defendant's picture. Morris called the hospital and spoke to several people. He could get no information. He could not locate the doctor who had signed the prescription.

The trial court then denied defendant's motion.

At trial, Dr. Gerbie, a practicing obstetrician for 26 years, with practice limited to that field, testified he had not prescribed preludin during the past two years. It is a drug useful for dieting as it suppresses the appetite. He had never seen the prescription before. The signature was not his. There was a drug control number on the form which had been his for many years. He did not know and had never previously seen Matthew Douglas (defendant). To the best of his knowledge, preludin is a controlled substance in Illinois.

Officer Hachmeister testified as he had on the motion. He added defendant was the man identified to him as the person who tried to pass the fraudulent prescription. The parking lot had lights and he was 10 to 15 feet from the defendant when he announced his office.

The pharmacist testified as he had on the motion. He added preludin was a Class II controlled substance in Illinois described as an anorexant.

Defendant testified he entered the pharmacy, spoke to Morris and asked if the prescription could be filled at "an outside pharmacy." Morris said he could do so. Defendant did not give an identification card to Morris. He identified the prescription form as the one he used. On January 21, 1976, he pleaded guilty of attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud and deceit. He was sentenced to 70 days considered served. On April 6, 1977, he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and was given five years felony probation. This information appeared on certified copies shown to the witness.

I.

• 1 We find probable cause existed for arrest of the defendant. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 107-2(c).) Under the totality of circumstances, the officer passed the subjective test. Any man of reasonable caution would believe an offense was committed by the identified defendant. See People v. Creach (1980), 79 Ill.2d 96, 101-02, 402 N.E.2d 228, and authorities there cited.

This conclusion is particularly warranted in the case at bar. The officer received his information not from a paid informer but from an informed citizen. (People v. Lawson (1976), 36 Ill. App.3d 767, 770, 345 N.E.2d 41, and cases there cited. See also People v. Wright (1974), 56 Ill.2d 523, 528-29, 309 N.E.2d 537.) The ...


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