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People v. Wolsk

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 13, 1983.

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

v.

WILLIAM WOLSK, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Alan Lane, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE DOWNING DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The State appeals pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (87 Ill.2d R. 604(a)(1)), contesting the propriety of an interlocutory order entered by the trial court granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence of weapons and various controlled substances seized from his person and automobile. A summary of the pertinent facts follows.

On February 7, 1982, at approximately 1:15 a.m., Officer Baron of the Skokie police department was dispatched to the scene of an automobile accident in the vicinity of 7606 N. Karlov in the Village of Skokie. Upon arrival, Officer Baron observed defendant, William Wolsk, seated behind the wheel of his car. In addition, he noticed an oriental gentleman standing near defendant's vehicle. Officer Radom of the Skokie police department also responded to the report of this accident, and arrived at the scene shortly after Officer Baron. Officer Radom observed that defendant's car, as well as the parked, unoccupied vehicle which defendant admitted he crashed into, were extensively damaged. The initial impact of this accident occurred when the right front end of defendant's car struck the left rear portion of the other vehicle parked curbside along Karlov Avenue.

After forming the opinion that defendant was "definitely intoxicated," Officer Radom placed him under arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501), read him the Miranda warnings, and transported him to the Skokie police department for processing. Upon arrival at the booking area of the police station, Officer Radom conducted an in-custody search of defendant which revealed several different types of narcotics, including valium, cocaine, methoqualone and tuinal.

Since the wheel well of defendant's car was smashed against the tire, it was necessary for Officer Baron to call for a tow truck. After filling out the two slips, Officer Baron returned to the station to report the information concerning vehicle identification. At this point, Officer Radom informed Officer Baron of the controlled substances found on defendant's person. Officer Baron thereupon arranged for defendant's car to be towed to the police station for inventory.

At approximately 1:45 a.m., the tow truck arrived with defendant's car and backed it into the police garage. After the vehicle was unhooked, Officer Baron went to close the trunk lid which he had seen bouncing up and down when the car was backed into the garage. As he proceeded to slam the trunk lid shut, Officer Baron noticed a clear plastic bag, measuring approximately 16 inches long, 12 inches wide and three inches deep, which contained a "crusty plant-type" substance. A further search of the trunk revealed many other such bags filled with the crushed green plant. Two switchblade knives were also found in the trunk, along with an unlatched suitcase out of which portions of other plastic bags protruded. Inside this suitcase, Officer Baron found still more of these clear plastic bags containing the crushed green plant. A search of the passenger compartment revealed a large amount of currency found lying on the floor in front of the driver's seat. A total of 22 bags of cannabis were recovered from defendant's vehicle during Officer Baron's search that night.

Defendant was thereupon charged with one count of possession of cannabis (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 704(c)); one count of delivery of cannabis (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 705(e)); six counts of possession of a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(b)); two counts of unlawful use of weapons (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 24-1(a)(1)); one count of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501); and, one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to vehicle (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-402).

At the May 4, 1982, pretrial hearing on defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, defendant took the stand and asserted that, as he was driving on the early morning of February 7, 1982, he slid on ice and collided with a parked vehicle; he then circled the block; and, after stopping his car, he was approached by a man who proceeded to hit him in the face.

The trial court believed this assertion and thereby granted defendant's motion to suppress, ruling that the police officers lacked probable cause to arrest defendant for driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. It is from this interlocutory suppression order that the State now appeals.

I

• 1 The threshold issue for consideration is whether a proper appeal can be taken from the suppression order entered on May 4, 1982, in light of defendant's contention that a nolle prosequi was entered on all charges then pending against defendant.

When a defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence is granted, and when an order of nol pros is entered on each charge pursuant to the State's motion, the State cannot then appeal from the interlocutory suppression order where it has failed to appeal from either (1) the final order that nol prossed the complaints; or (2) the denial of the motion to vacate this final order. People v. Zeigler (1982), 106 Ill. App.3d 783, 784, 436 N.E.2d 722.

In the case at bar, following the trial court's suppression ruling as to the possessory offenses, it noted that two non-possessory misdemeanor charges were still pending. Defendant thereupon entered a plea of not guilty. The State requested a continuance in order to locate the complainant-owner of the damaged parked vehicle; however, the court immediately denied this motion. It was at this point that the following colloquy took place:

"[THE STATE]: Motion State nolle pros.

[THE DEFENDANT] Defendant demands trial.

THE COURT: Motion to suppress sustained on all ...


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