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UNITED STATES EX REL. STAMPS v. HARTIGAN
June 20, 1984
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. WILLIAM STAMPS, PETITIONER,
NEIL F. HARTIGAN, RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
William Stamps was convicted of possession and illegal
delivery of more than 30 grams of cocaine and more than 30
grams of heroin. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the
conviction. People v. Stamps, 108 Ill. App.3d 280, 63 Ill. Dec.
919, 438 N.E.2d 1282 (1982). Leave to appeal was denied by the
Illinois Supreme Court.
Stamps filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus
claiming that the trial court denied him due process of law by
refusing to allow a requested jury instruction as to the
theory of his defense. Presently before the Court is the
State's motion for summary judgment. Jurisdiction is invoked
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated below, the
State's motion for summary judgment is granted, and the
petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.
On January 5, 1981, William Stamps was convicted by a jury
of the Circuit Court of Cook County of possession and delivery
of more than 30 grams of cocaine and more than 30 grams of
heroin. (Tr. 1300-1301).*fn2 The trial judge sentenced Stamps
to two concurrent terms of 15 years imprisonment. (Tr. 1333).
Stamps' only defense at trial was that he was innocently
present in a room containing a controlled substance when
police officers found him while in pursuit of a suspected drug
dealer. Stamps argued this defense during opening (Tr. 167
et seq.) and closing (Tr. 1227 et seq.) statements of the
Having presented his defense, Stamps requested that the
trial court instruct the jury that mere presence at the scene
would constitute a defense to the charges. (Tr. 1116). The
requested jury instruction reads: "Mere presence in a room
where narcotics are found is insufficient to prove
possession." (Tr. 1116). This requested instruction is a
non-Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction ("non-IPI"). The State
objected to Stamps' requested instruction and the trial court
sustained the State's objection. (Tr. 1119). No clear reason
was given for the rejection by the trial court. (Tr.
The jury instructions allowed by the trial court, in part,
are as follows:
Possession is a voluntary act if the offender
knowingly procured or received the thing
possessed, or was aware of his control thereof
for a sufficient time to have been able to
terminate his possession. [State's No. 11,
Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Criminal, No.
A person commits the offense of possession of a
controlled substance when he or she knowingly and
unlawfully possesses a controlled substance.
[State's No. 14 (non-IPI)].
A person is in possession of a thing when it is
knowingly in his or her immediate and exclusive
Possession may be actual or constructive. When a
person knowingly has direct physical control over
a thing, he or she is then in actual possession.
A person who lacks actual physical possession of
a thing but who has control over the area where a
thing is found, (either directly or through
another person) is then in constructive
Such control may be shared jointly with others
and still be exclusive. [State's No. 15
To sustain the charge of possession of a
controlled substance, the State must prove the
That a defendant knowingly and unlawfully
possessed 30 grams or more of a ...
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