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People v. Brumfield





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT L. MASSEY, Judge, presiding.


Defendants, Willie L. Brumfield and Terry Gregory, were charged with one count of possession of cocaine and one count of possession of heroin. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 56 1/2, pars. 1402(a), 1402(b).) Prior to trial, defendants' motion to quash the search warrants and to suppress the evidence was granted. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred in granting defendants' motion.

On March 10, 1978, four search warrants were issued authorizing a search of Brumfield and the premises located at 2929 West Arthington, 1569 South Kedzie, 4501 South State and 1526 North Austin. Brumfield owned the above premises while Gregory was a tenant at 2929 West Arthington.

On March 11, Officer Riley observed Brumfield exit the premises at 2929 West Arthington and depart in a Cadillac. After Brumfield had driven a few blocks, he was stopped by Riley and shown a copy of the search warrant. Although a search of Brumfield and his automobile failed to turn up any controlled substances, Riley continued to detain him.

Thereafter, Brumfield was taken back to 2929 West Arthington and the second floor apartment was searched pursuant to the previously issued warrant. This search resulted in the seizure of more than 30 grams of heroin and less than 30 grams of cocaine.

At trial defendants asserted that after the search of Brumfield failed to disclose any illegal contraband, he should have been released. They argued that his continued detention amounted to an illegal arrest and that everything that followed the arrest was invalid. The State argued that the seized evidence flowed from a valid search warrant and not Brumfield's arrest; that the search of the apartment was not in any way occasioned, precipitated or effected by the continued detention of Brumfield; and that, therefore, the evidence was not the "fruit of the poisonous tree."

In allowing defendants' motion, the court stated:

"* * * [I]t appears to me that after an arrest is made of an individual on the street, then, of course, nothing being found on him and not seeing him in the commission of any offense, that he then is taken to various buildings which he may or may not own in attempting to find something in those buildings, and it sounds like it is a real fishing expedition or the State should produce the confidential informant who might produce whatever evidence he has, but I would grant the motion of the defendants."

This appeal followed.


The State contends that the granting of defendants' motion to quash the search warrants and to suppress the evidence was manifestly erroneous. It argues that seized evidence was discovered during the execution of a valid search warrant which was issued prior to Brumfield's arrest. Alternatively, the State argues that even if the seized evidence somehow flowed from Brumfield's arrest, its suppression was manifestly erroneous since its discovery was totally independent from any illegality associated with the arrest and would have been gained regardless of Brumfield's arrest. Defendants maintain that the affidavits supporting the search warrants failed to meet the constitutional requirements of Aguilar v. Texas (1964), 378 U.S. 108, 12 L.Ed.2d 723, 84 S.Ct. 1509, and Spinelli v. United States (1969), 393 U.S. 410, 21 L.Ed.2d 637, 89 S.Ct. 584, and that therefore the trial court properly granted their motion to suppress. Defendants also assert that the court's ruling was not based on any fruit of the poisonous tree theory.

In Aguilar v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court enunciated the criteria upon which search warrants issued on the basis of information supplied by an undisclosed informant are to be judged. That court held that the issuing judge must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances from which the informant concluded that the narcotics were where he claimed they were, and some of the underlying circumstances from which the officer concluded that the informant, whose identity need not be disclosed, was credible or his information reliable. (People v. Mitchell (1970), 45 Ill.2d 148, 258 N.E.2d 345; see also Spinelli v. United States.) The affidavit is presumed valid, and allegations of negligence or innocent mistake are an insufficient attack against it. (People v. O'Dell (1980), 84 Ill. App.3d 359, 405 N.E.2d 809; see also Franks v. Delaware (1978), 438 U.S. 154, 57 L.Ed.2d 667, 98 S.Ct. 2674.) It is to be interpreted in a realistic manner, and not tested by elaborate technical requirements. (People v. Thomas (1975), 62 Ill.2d 375, 342 N.E.2d 383.) Generally, any challenge to the issuance of a search warrant is limited to questions concerning the sufficiency of the affidavit and an accused is not allowed to go beyond the "four corners" of the affidavit to show the lack of probable cause. (People v. O'Dell; People v. Jakuboski (1976), 42 Ill. App.3d 1067, 356 N.E.2d 646; see also People v. Bak (1970), 45 Ill.2d 140, 258 N.E.2d 341.) In any event, a defendant is not entitled to the production of the informant for the purpose of attempting to disprove the allegations made under oath which the issuing judge found supportive of the warrant. (People v. Jakuboski; People v. Berry (1970), 46 Ill.2d 175, 263 N.E.2d 487.) Finally, a suppression order will be reversed only if it is manifestly erroneous. People v. Davis (1980), 86 Ill. App.3d 557, 407 N.E.2d 1109.

The search warrants in the instant case were obtained on the basis of the following:

"I, Thomas Riley a Chicago Policeman had a conversation on March 10, 1978 with a Confidential Informant (CI) whom I have known for approximately two years. During the time I have known this CI he has given me information relative to narcotics law violations on four separate occasions. The information supplied to me by this CI resulted in four narcotic raids in which narcotic was [sic] recovered each time (verified by the Crime Lab of the Chicago Police Department) and one arrest was made each time. Two of the persons arrested have their cases still pending in court, one was discharged and one person was convicted of narcotic law violations. This CI told me that on this date (March 10, 1978) he was with one Willie Brumfield a M/N at the second floor apartment at 2929 W. Arthington Chicago, Illinois and while there he observed Willie Brumfield place tinfoil packets containing heroin which was brown in color into brown paper bags for delivery to locations owned and run by Willie Brumfield for further distribution of the heroin. The CI told me that he knew that it was in fact heroin because Brumfield gave the CI some of the heroin for helping Brumfield distribute the heroin. The CI stated that he snorted some of the heroin and that he knew it was in ...

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