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People v. Martine





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Theodore M. Swain, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, the defendant, Verna Martine, was convicted of possession with intent to deliver more than 30 grams of cocaine, possession of more than 30 grams of cocaine, possession of cannabis, possession of methaqualone, possession of benzphetamine, and possession of Iysergic acid diethylamide. She was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, four years for possession of cocaine, two years for possession of methaqualone, benzphetamine, and lysergic acid diethylamide, and one year for possession of cannabis, all to be served concurrently.

On appeal the defendant contends (1) that she was not proved guilty of possession of the controlled substances beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) that the search warrant was unreasonably executed; (3) that the State failed to establish a sufficient chain of possession of the controlled substances; (4) that she was improperly convicted of both possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver; (5) that she was denied her right to be present during all aspects of her trial; (6) that the legislature improperly classified cocaine as a narcotic; (7) that the legislature unlawfully delegated to the Dangerous Drug Commission the authority to add, delete or reschedule controlled substances; and (8) that the law upon which her indictment was based was void.

Officer Steven Kuhn of the Chicago Police Department testified that on December 13, 1977, following a conversation with an informant, he obtained a search warrant for the defendant and the single-family dwelling located at 1427 West Henderson in Chicago. Officer Kuhn and four other police officers went to that address at approximately 8:30 p.m.

When they arrived at the house, Officer Kuhn and Officer Thomas Riley knocked on the front door. When defendant asked what the men wanted, they identified themselves as police officers. The defendant went to the window, and Officer Kuhn showed her his star and his identification and announced that he was a police officer and that he had a search warrant. When the defendant retreated to the back of the house, the two officers forced entry into the house and stopped the defendant in the dining room. No one else was present in the house.

Officer Kuhn searched the bedroom and recovered a purse containing $600 in cash. In a dresser drawer among lady's laundry, he found more cash and three clear plastic bags of powder. Officer Kuhn conducted a field test on the powder which indicated that it was cocaine. Underneath a suitcase on the floor of the closet, Officer Kuhn discovered four clear plastic bags containing crushed green plant material and one bag containing miscellaneous pills.

After the search was completed, three friends of the defendant arrived at the house. The officers searched these persons but found no contraband. Officer Kuhn took the contraband which he found in the apartment to the police station where he marked it for identification. The clear plastic bags were never out of his sight. He placed the bags in a mail envelope and took the evidence to the crime lab where it was inventoried and placed in a sealed bag.

Christine Provo, a police chemist, testified that she analyzed the various substances contained in the plastic bags and determined them to be cocaine, marijuana, benzphetamine, and methaqualone. Certain pink pieces of paper which were found in the bag of pills and tested by criminalistic aide Ann McCann contained lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Charles Zeller, a real estate broker, testified that he was the contract seller of the property located at 1427 West Henderson. The defendant was the contract purchaser.

The defendant testified that she had no knowledge of any controlled substances on the premises of 1427 West Henderson. On the evening of December 13, 1977, she was in her home with two friends, Dale Powers and Joseph Radziejewski. At approximately 8 p.m., the doorbell rang. Radziejewski answered the door. Thereafter, the defendant observed several men with guns drawn. The men stated that they were police officers.

The defendant testified that 10 to 12 police officers searched the house. She stated that she saw several officers come out of her bedroom with small plastic bags containing white powder. One officer took a bag of sugar from her pantry and marked it "1 lb. coke." The officers then winked at each other. The defendant further testified that the police took her prescription pill bottles and emptied the contents into one plastic bag.

Joseph Radziejewski corroborated the testimony of the defendant. On December 13, 1977, he arrived at the defendant's home around 6:30 p.m. He stated that when he answered the door, someone said he was from the gas company. Radziejewski replied, "hold on a second" and went to ask the defendant if she was expecting anyone. Thereafter, he heard a loud bang and saw the front door being knocked down.

Michael Wisniewski testified that he had watched the defendant's house on several occasions when she was out of town. During these periods he had a key to the house, would sleep in defendant's bedroom and would use her closet. Early in December 1977, Wisniewski stayed at the house and entertained several friends there.

Kenneth LeVey testified that he often had been in defendant's home when she was not present. LeVey visited the defendant almost every day because she was ill and terrified of being alone in her house. LeVey was at defendant's home from 6 to 8 p.m. on the date of the arrest. He stated that two men and a woman were also present.

Several character witnesses also testified on defendant's behalf. Over the State's objections, they testified that they had never known or heard that the defendant ...

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