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People v. Henderson

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 13, 1984.

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

v.

THOMAS D. HENDERSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Pike County; the Hon. Robert L. Welch, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 29, 1985.

This is an interlocutory appeal by the Attorney General, who asks us to overturn an order of the circuit court suppressing the contents of several tape recordings made pursuant to a one-party consent authorization.

We agree that the suppression was improvidently allowed.

We reverse and remand.

On September 29, 1983, a Pike County grand jury returned a two-count bill of indictment against defendant. Count I charged defendant with the unlawful delivery of cannabis in that on March 7, 1983, he knowingly and unlawfully delivered cannabis in the amount of more than 30 grams, but not more than 500 grams, in violation of section 5(d) of the Cannabis Control Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 705(d)). Count II charged that defendant unlawfully possessed cannabis in that on March 7, 1983, he knowingly and unlawfully had in his possession more than 30 grams, but not more than 500 grams, of a substance containing cannabis, in violation of section 4(d) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 704(d)).

The indictment was the result of an investigation begun in 1982 by William Rinehart, a special agent of the Illinois Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). He was contacted by a person named Ron Dell. Dell told Rinehart that he had some information regarding John Lenerts and others which he wished to provide DCI in exchange for assistance in a prosecution which was proceeding against him in Adams County. As a result of the information given to DCI by Dell, a petition for an overhear was submitted on November 17, 1982. The period of the overhear was one day — November 17, 1982, from 1:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. Ron Dell was named as the consenting party, and a conversation between Dell and Lenerts was to be overheard.

On November 17, 1982, Dell and Lenerts met at the Ollie Pop Tavern in Quincy. They had a brief conversation which did not relate to a drug transaction. Dell mentioned defendant's name as they talked in the tavern, but did not indicate that he was in any way connected with drugs. Lenerts then told Dell to go to another tavern, at which time he would meet him. Dell left and was later met by Lenerts. Lenerts told him that he had just found out from his source that he could get 10 pounds of marijuana the next day. Lenerts also told Dell that the marijuana which he was going to supply was locally grown in a three-county area. He also indicated that the source of the marijuana lived 45 minutes from his home in Golden.

The agents knew that defendant was present at Ollie Pop's Tavern on the evening of November 17, 1982. They also knew that he lived in Pittsfield, which was a 45-minute drive from Lenerts' home in Golden, and that he owned farm real estate which was available for growing marijuana.

On November 17, 1982, Lenerts delivered cannabis to Ron Dell at the Pittsfield airport. During subsequent conversations, Lenerts told Dell that he could get more marijuana and cocaine, but the opportunity to make any additional deliveries evaporated when Dell left the area and moved to Florida.

In February 1983, Lenerts, during a meeting with DCI agents Michael Ernst and William Rinehart in a parking lot in Clayton, was advised that he had been under surveillance. The purpose of this meeting was to interrogate Lenerts concerning the prior delivery of cannabis to Dell. During this meeting, Lenerts was told by the agents that they knew that he had made a delivery of cannabis to Ron Dell on November 19, 1982. He was also informed that Dell had been wearing a wireless microphone during their previous meetings.

Lenerts told the agents that he would be willing to cooperate with the DCI in exchange for consideration on the drug charge. The agents told him that if he would cooperate, they would recommend to the State's Attorney that he not be prosecuted. Responding to further questions, Lenerts told the agents that he got the cannabis from Henderson. He described the delivery, including the fact that it was made at a law office maintained by the defendant, and that the marijuana was taken by the defendant from a large garbage bag apparently containing more cannabis and stored on the premises. He further stated that, to the best of his knowledge, attorney Henderson was not presently dealing in drugs because he had "cleaned up his act following a close call," but he qualified the statement by saying that he was not sure of this fact.

Based upon this information, agents Ernst and Rinehart went to Anthony Cameron, the Adams County State's Attorney. After hearing the information, Cameron advised the agents to seek further eavesdropping authority. He was told that the subject of further investigation would be the defendant, Thomas Henderson.

On March 4, 1983, Rinehart applied for an overhear in Adams County. The petition requested that Henderson be overheard, with Lenerts being a consenting party. The period of the overhear was from ...


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