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04/07/88 the People of the State of v. Chester Clark

April 7, 1988





526 N.E.2d 356, 173 Ill. App. 3d 443, 122 Ill. Dec. 97 1988.IL.493

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. John J. Bowman, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE UNVERZAGT delivered the opinion of the court. REINHARD and WOODWARD, JJ., concur.


The defendant, Chester Clark, was indicted for and was found guilty by a jury in Du Page County of possession of a controlled substance (hydromorphone) with intent to deliver. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(b)(11).) He appeals, contending (1) he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (2) the jury was improperly instructed; (3) he was denied his right to a trial by a fair cross-section of the community; and (4) the court abused its discretion in allowing comments and testimony concerning his involvement in other crimes. We affirm.

Illinois State Police special agent Richard Pott testified he was on duty on June 25, 1986, operating undercover, when he received a phone call in the late morning or early afternoon. The caller identified himself as "Chester." Pott met Chester face-to-face two times subsequent to that and spoke with him about five or six times more. He recognized the voice as belonging to Chester Clark, the defendant.

The defendant told Pott he had heard that Pott could supply him with some pills. A meeting was arranged for the following day at a restaurant in the village of Oakbrook Terrace. Pott was accompanied by Agent Nowaczyk and four or five other officers provided surveillance of the meeting. Pott and Nowaczyk sat down and ate; they observed the defendant enter the restaurant and sit in a booth. Pott approached the defendant, they identified themselves to each other, and the defendant did not object to Nowaczyk joining them.

Defendant asked Pott if Pott could supply him with Dilaudid, morphine, Ritalin, "T's," "Blues," and pharmaceutical cocaine. Pott said he could not supply him with morphine, Ritalin or pharmaceutical cocaine. Over defendant's objection and motion to strike the reference, Pott was allowed to testify that the defendant said he "usually sells heroin and cocaine and he would like to sell the pills because it is a much cleaner business."

Defendant then asked Pott to supply him with the price for Dilaudid, which are pills normally prescribed by doctors for extreme pain or for terminally ill cancer patients. Pott responded the price would be $15 per pill. Over defendant's objection and motion to strike, Pott was allowed to testify the defendant told him that he "was a wholesaler and would be selling to the other drug dealers and that he needed a better price because he would only be making $7 on each pill." Pott then agreed to a $10-per-pill price and said the more defendant would purchase, the cheaper the price would be.

Defendant stated he would take 3,000 Dilaudids and an equal number of any other controlled substance Pott could obtain. Pott wrote out a price list; Dilaudid was $10; Ritalin was $2 a pill, Talwin and "Benamin" [ sic ] ("T's and Blues") were $250 a pair (based on the other prices quoted, and with reference to expert testimony received in an unrelated case, People v. Hunter (1984), 124 Ill. App. 3d 516, 521, we believe it is likely the $250 price per pair for T's and Blues is a typographical error in the record). Over objection, Pott testified the defendant said it was a good price and gave Pott a telephone number to call when Pott had the products. Pott and the defendant shook hands and left the restaurant.

Pott had four or five telephone conversations with the defendant after that meeting. Over defendant's objection, Pott testified that during the last conversation defendant told Pott he wanted 1,000 Dilaudids on Thursday and 2,000 on Friday. A meeting at a motel in Elmhurst was arranged for July 10.

On that date at the motel, Pott and Nowaczyk met with defendant. Pott had obtained the pills to sell to the defendant from the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. The pills were packaged 100 to a bottle, the bottles were sealed, and the bottles were inside a small cardboard box. Defendant stated the money was downstairs in a van with another person and that that person wanted to see a sample pill. Pott opened a bottle of pills and gave one pill to the defendant. The defendant in turn took the pill downstairs to the van.

When the defendant returned to the room, he had a paper bag with money in it. Over defendant's objection, Pott identified the bag which defendant had told him contained $12,000. Over defendant's further objection, Pott testified the defendant stated the man in the van "had shorted him $3,000," but that Pott's $10,000 was in the bag.

Pott removed the money from the bag and gave it to Nowaczyk to be counted. Defendant said Nowaczyk should just take out $2,000 and give it to him and that the rest of the money was then theirs. Afterward, with ...

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