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People v. Norris

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 6, 1981.

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

v.

JOHN THOMAS NORRIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Vermilion County; the Hon. JAMES K. ROBINSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GREEN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This interlocutory appeal by the State from a pretrial order suppressing evidence raises the question of: (1) our jurisdiction under the terms of Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (73 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1)) and People v. Young (1980), 82 Ill.2d 234, 412 N.E.2d 501; (2) the standing of defendant, John Thomas Norris, to challenge the search and seizure by which the evidence was obtained; and (3) the reasonableness of the search and seizure.

Defendant had been charged in the circuit court of Vermilion County with the offenses of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and cannabis. The property was seized by police officers from an automobile in which defendant was a passenger, after a search of that vehicle. The suppression order was entered in that court on January 27, 1981. We hold: (1) we have jurisdiction; (2) defendant had no standing to challenge the search; and (3) the seizure was shown, as a matter of law, to have been reasonable.

Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) states:

"In criminal cases the State may appeal only from an order or judgment the substantive effect of which results in dismissing a charge for any of the grounds enumerated in section 114-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963; arresting judgment because of a defective indictment, information or complaint; quashing an arrest or search warrant; or suppressing evidence." (73 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1).)

The question of whether we have jurisdiction arises from the requirement of Young that in order to appeal orders of suppression, the State must file a certificate setting forth that the suppression substantially impairs the prosecution. Here, the State filed timely notice of appeal on February 5, 1981, but did not file the required certificate in the trial court until May 27, 1981.

The order in Young, the appealability of which was in question, was one suppressing an accident report and other statements made by the accused pursuant to certain statutory requirements (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 95 1/2 par. 11-401). The opinion traced the development of the State's power to appeal, in criminal cases, orders not amounting to acquittals. Particular focus was placed upon the troubled history of the development of a workable rule for determining when pretrial orders excluding evidence come within the coverage of Rule 604(a)(1). The court recognized the intolerable situation that would result from permitting State's appeals from every order prohibiting introduction of any type of evidence.

The court then stated:

"After weighing these considerations, we conclude that the State should be allowed to appeal from a pretrial suppression order which substantially impairs its ability to prosecute the case involved." 82 Ill.2d 234, 247, 412 N.E.2d 501, 507.

Rather than providing for the court to determine whether the suppression imposed substantial impairment upon the prosecution, the supreme court stated.

"We hold, therefore, that Rule 604(a)(1) allows an interlocutory appeal by the State of a pretrial suppression order whenever the prosecutor certifies to the trial court that the suppression substantially impairs the State's ability to prosecute the case." (82 Ill.2d 234, 247, 412 N.E.2d 501, 507.)

The court noted that the procedure it was promulgating was very similar to that required for government appeals from orders of suppression in Federal criminal cases. 18 U.S.C. § 3731 (1976).

The Young opinion explained how we and various other districts of the appellate court had interpreted their decision in People v. Van De Rostyne (1976) 63 Ill.2d 364, 349 N.E.2d 16, to limit appeals by the State from orders excluding evidence to those grounded upon an illegal search or seizure or an involuntary confession. The opinion then overruled Van De Rostyne to the extent it so limited such appeals. The State maintains the opinion indicates the certification requirement is applicable only to suppression orders not appealable under the described interpretation of Van De Rostyne and is not applicable to the present appeal from an order suppressing evidence because of an unlawful search or seizure. We disagree.

• 1 We find nothing in Young indicating an intention to limit its certification requirement to orders not previously deemed appealable. Every expression of the court's holding is stated in terms indicating its applicability to all pretrial orders of suppression entered against the State. Its rationale is to limit such appeals to orders substantially impairing the prosecution. An order suppressing evidence because its procurement resulted from an illegal search or seizure does not necessarily do so. We hold the order on appeal to be subject to the certification requirement even though it ...


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