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12/05/88 the People of the State of v. Curt Hermann

December 5, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

CURT HERMANN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

536 N.E.2d 706, 180 Ill. App. 3d 939, 129 Ill. Dec. 656 1988.IL.1747

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard Kavitt, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. MANNING and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE QUINLAN

The defendant, Curt Hermann, was charged by information with two counts of delivery of 30 grams or more of a controlled substance containing cocaine, in violation of section 401(a)(2) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 56 1/2, par. 401(a)(2)). The defendant waived his right to a jury trial and was convicted on both counts, following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County. The trial Judge sentenced the defendant to two concurrent terms of seven years and fined him $4,500.

Glenn Schneider testified that in July 1983, when he was an undercover agent with the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement, he had several telephone conversations with the defendant concerning the sale of cocaine. In one of the conversations, the defendant told Schneider that he had a "ton" of cocaine, and the parties then agreed that Schneider would pay $2,725 for an ounce and a quarter of cocaine.

Schneider met the defendant on July 22. The defendant gave him two white envelopes, each containing a clear plastic bag filled with white powder. Schneider gave the defendant $2,720 in prerecorded bills. Schneider testified that he put the envelopes in either his shirt or his sock.

Following this transaction, Schneider met with Illinois Department of Law Enforcement agents and Hoffman Estate police officers at a prearranged location. Schneider initialed and dated the envelopes that the defendant had given him, put each envelope in a clear plastic bag, and then put the bags in an evidence envelope, which he also initialed, dated and sealed. He then locked the evidence envelope in his briefcase, where it remained until July 25, when he delivered it to Debra Jurasic, a crime lab analyst. On cross-examination, Schneider testified that he did not have continuous possession of the briefcase from July 22 to July 25.

Following the July 22 transaction, Schneider and the defendant had another telephone conversation and agreed that the defendant would sell Schneider two ounces of cocaine for $2,050 an ounce. Schneider met the defendant on August 3. Schneider gave the defendant $4,100 in prerecorded bills, and in exchange he received two more white envelopes containing plastic bags full of white powder. The defendant told Schneider that he would sell him more cocaine, but no more than two ounces at a time and only at half hour intervals. When this transaction was completed, the defendant was arrested.

Following the arrest of the defendant, Schneider went to the Hoffman Estates police department and once again signed and initialed the envelopes that the defendant had given him. Each envelope was then placed into a clear plastic bag and the bags were then put into an evidence envelope. Schneider sealed and initialed the envelope and delivered it to Jurasic on August 4. Schneider could not recall where the evidence envelope was kept overnight.

Debra Jurasic testified that she had a B.A. in chemistry and that she had trained for five months with the Bureau of Forensic Sciences Laboratory, learning to identify controlled substances. She had been employed by the Illinois Department of State Police and the Bureau of Forensic Scientists Laboratory for the past 8 1/2 years. She had analyzed substances for the presence of cocaine on approximately 6,000 to 7,000 occasions and had never made any mistakes. The trial court received Jurasic as an expert witness over the defendant's objections.

Jurasic stated that she received the first evidence envelope, which was sealed, on July 25. When she opened the envelope, she found two sealed clear plastic bags, each containing a white envelope, which in turn contained a clear plastic bag full of white powder. The two bags were described as exhibits 1A and 1B. Jurasic weighed the powder and performed five different tests on the samples of the powder. Exhibit 1A weighed 28 grams and tested positively for the presence of cocaine. She determined that exhibit 1A was 48% pure cocaine. Exhibit 1B weighed 6.8 grams and was found to contain cocaine, with a 52% purity.

On August 4, Jurasic received the second evidence envelope from Schneider. All seals on this envelope were intact. The two bags contained in this evidence envelope were also weighed and tested for the presence of cocaine. Sample 1A weighed 27.7 grams and indicated that cocaine was present. Sample 1B also tested positively for the presence of cocaine and weighed 27.6 grams. Jurasic did not test either sample for purity. Jurasic testified that she did not calibrate the scale which she used to weigh the samples, but she did ...


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