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People v. Doll

OPINION FILED JULY 27, 1984.

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

v.

SHEILA DOLL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. John Nickles, JUSTICE HOPF DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 30, 1984.

After a jury trial the defendant, Sheila Doll, was convicted of unlawful delivery of cocaine (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(a)(2)). The Kane County circuit court sentenced her to six years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections.

On appeal the defendant asserts that the trial court erred on the following points: (1) by excluding evidence that a defense witness had been offered leniency in exchange for not testifying on behalf of the defendant; (2) by allowing the State to make a misleading argument that this same defense witness, who had pled guilty on a related charge in a related case, gave inconsistent testimony in the present case; (3) by allowing certain arguments which may have led the jury to believe the defendant was involved in unrelated criminal activity; and (4) by restricting defense counsel's cross-examination of a State witness, Captain J.W. Smith.

On July 13, 1982, the defendant was indicted for unlawful delivery of more than 30 grams of a substance containing cocaine, a controlled substance, in contravention of section 401(a)(2) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(a)(2)). Rodney Nally, a defense witness, was indicted on three counts of the same charge arising from the same transaction. The State's motion to consolidate the Nally case with the present case was denied.

At trial Randall Kucaba, special agent with the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement, Division of Criminal Investigation, was the principal witness for the State. Kucaba testified that on the morning of July 13, 1982, he contacted Rodney Nally for the purpose of buying some cocaine from him. The parties agreed on a price of $2,775 and made arrangements to meet at a certain parking lot in Aurora at about 4 p.m. on the day in question. Agent Kucaba brought his partner, Theodore Rizo, with him and Nally indicated he would probably bring his brother, Ken.

Kucaba and Nally met at the parking lot at the agreed location, though Nally was late. Nally was driving a red 1974 Chevrolet and the defendant, not Nally's brother, was with him in the car. Kucaba approached the vehicle and asked Nally where Ken was. Nally responded that Ken could not make it, so Sheila Doll came along instead.

Kucaba testified that he introduced himself to defendant and inquired if she was Nally's wife. Defendant responded that her name was Sheila and that she was Nally's "old lady." Kucaba then asked if Nally had brought the ounce and a quarter with him. Nally had the cocaine in a woman's cigarette case which he opened, and Kucaba could see a plastic bag inside. Kucaba explained that the quarterounce package was for him and the one-ounce package was for his partner, Agent Rizo, and that he wanted it in two separate packages. Nally glanced at Sheila Doll and Doll responded by saying something to the effect of "don't worry, there's two separate packages in there." Kucaba indicated he wanted a sample of the cocaine prior to purchasing. He testified that Nally told him not to worry, it was good quality, and Sheila Doll agreed, stating they had done a "line" before they came down to Aurora. Kucaba explained that doing a "line" means inhaling an amount of cocaine in the nose. Kucaba took the sample back to his vehicle, and Agent Rizo did a field test (chemical) of a portion of the sample. Kucaba returned to the vehicle and exchanged $2,775 in marked money for the cocaine.

As Nally was counting the money Kucaba inquired as to whether or not they would be able to purchase 10 to 12 ounces of cocaine from him in the future. Kucaba testified that Sheila Doll responded by saying, yes, they could; it would take them about one day to come up with that much cocaine. Nally agreed with defendant. Kucaba testified that after Nally finished counting the money he handed it to Doll, Nally shook hands with Kucaba and Kucaba walked away with the cocaine. No arrest was made at the time. Kucaba testified as to the chain of evidence and that the tests performed on the substance indicated that it did contain cocaine.

On cross-examination Agent Kucaba testified that he identified Sheila Doll through the license plates on her vehicle. The colloquy which followed this statement is the subject of an issue discussed in more detail below. Kucaba testified that he made no arrests at the time of the July 13 purchase because he wanted to try to set up a larger buy. However, he was unable to set up another purchase with Nally in the ensuing months.

Agent Rizo corroborated the Kucaba testimony. A forensic scientist testified for the State that the total weight of the powder was 34.2 grams and that test results indicated that the substance contained cocaine.

The postmaster for St. Charles testified that he knew Sheila Doll because she was a regular rural carrier with that office. Her work records for July 13, 1982, reflected that she came to work on that day but went home sick. A substitute filled in for her position. A copy of the work sheet for that date was admitted as an exhibit for the State.

Rodney Nally was the principal witness for the defendant. He testified that he had been convicted of delivering cocaine as a result of the transactions described by Agent Kucaba. He had known the defendant for nine years and had had an on-and-off relationship with her over that period of time. During the course of their relationship he had abused her on many occasions and caused her various injuries. When the defendant had attempted to break off the relationship, Nally admitted he would go into a violent rage. He indicated he was using cocaine quite often and drinking a lot. Nally testified he was also seeing a girl named Cheryl Vivarino during the time prior to the July 13 delivery. He testified that on the day in question Cheryl was going to come by his mother's house and pick him up and give him a ride. When Cheryl did not arrive he asked for a ride from Sheila, who had come to see Nally's sister. Defendant told him she would not let him use her car because she did not want Nally's sleazy girlfriends in her car. Nally said he was not going to do that and said she could come with him. Defendant indicated she would ride with him.

Nally testified that he drove the car on the trip to Aurora. He pulled into the parking lot at Gaylord's and got out of the car to get the cocaine out of the trunk where he had put it. After Kucaba came up to the car Nally gave him a sample of the cocaine. At this point, according to Nally, the defendant figured out what was going on and said she wanted to get out of the car and he could pick her up later at the shopping center. Nally testified that he grabbed her by the arm and told her to stay in the car. Nally then introduced the defendant to Agent Kucaba. However, he testified, prior to their arrival at the parking lot, she had no knowledge of the drug deal and did not participate in any of the conversations that took place during the time of the deal. Nally testified that when Kucaba inquired about the quality of the stuff he did not say that he and defendant had done a "line." Rather, he had used a needle and had "shot" some. Nally testified that if at any time he had told the defendant that he intended to use her car to make a drug sale she would not have let him use the car and he would end up "hitting" her and just taking the car. All he told her about going to Aurora was that he was going to meet someone at the shopping center. Nally testified that the defendant was afraid of him and she knew better than to talk back to him when he was doing something. He would have "beat her ass" if she got out of the car. Nally also stated that he had been offered a certain number of years by the State's Attorney's office on his case if he would agree not to testify on behalf of the defendant in this case. After the State objected, this line of inquiry was disallowed by the court.

On cross-examination Nally was asked, when Kucaba asked him how good the stuff was, if he responded at the previous trial by saying "we just `took a line' * * * before we came down." Nally stated that he guessed that defendant had said that, but Nally did not think defendant said anything of significance to Kucaba and that he had told her to agree with whatever Kucaba said.

The defendant testified that she had lived in Kane County for all but three years of her life and had been a regular rural carrier with the St. Charles post office for five years. She testified that Nally had lived with her for about a year, until June of 1982, but when she realized he was taking drugs frequently she tried to kick him out. She finally had to call the police to get him out. During that summer she had been injured by him on a few occasions and had filed charges against Nally for aggravated battery. She reiterated Nally's testimony concerning how he had come to borrow her car on the day of the drug deal. She testified that during the ride she asked several times what they were going to do when they got to Aurora but that Nally kept shrugging off the question. She did not realize what was going on until she actually saw Nally pull the powder out from the pouch. At this point she said she wanted to leave and Nally told her to sit still and be quiet. She did not touch the money and had no conversation except to agree with whatever Nally said.

The St. Charles postmaster, Robert Maller, testified that the defendant had worked for the post office for five years, that she had a good work record, and that she was honest and he knew of her reputation for honesty only through work. Three other postal employees testified to the defendant's good reputation for truth and veracity. They indicated that their information was based on her conduct at work and at union activities.

As a rebuttal witness, the State called Captain Smith of the Elgin police department. He testified that he knew of the defendant's reputation for truth and veracity and that she was not always known to be truthful. On cross-examination Smith testified he had obtained knowledge of her reputation by talking to individuals, but the court sustained an objection when defense counsel asked who those individuals were. Smith testified that he came to know of the defendant because he knew Rodney Nally.

During closing argument the State argued that the Nally testimony was incredible because he had pled not guilty at his own trial but then claimed he had done all the criminal acts in the present case. The State also pointed out that Nally had nothing to lose by testifying on behalf of defendant herein. It urged that the defendant's reputation witnesses were limited to those who only knew her through her work; no one from outside the work environment testified.

After deliberation the jury found the defendant guilty as charged. The court sentenced her to a term of six years and denied ...


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