APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
537 N.E.2d 395, 181 Ill. App. 3d 576, 130 Ill. Dec. 328 1989.IL.526
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Alvin Ira Singer, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and DUNN, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCLAREN
Defendant, Clifford Jones, was charged by indictment with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1402(b)) and unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1401(b)(2)). Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence. The circuit court of Lake County granted the motion. The State appeals. We affirm.
Six witnesses testified at the suppression hearing. Detective Curtis Brahme, an agent for the Metropolitan Enforcement Group , was the first witness. Detective Brahme testified that the MEG office was informed of narcotics traffic in North Chicago. On November 17, 1987, at 8 p.m., Brahme and another officer set up surveillance on the 1800 block of Greenfield Street in North Chicago. Brahme stated that a brown Delta 88 Oldsmobile was parked on the street. The officers watched the car for two hours. During this time, approximately 20 individuals approached the car and appeared to make transactions with the individuals inside the car. Brahme indicated that he could not identify any of the persons inside the car due to the lighting conditions.
Around 10:10 p.m., the officers halted the surveillance and decided to obtain assistance from the North Chicago police department. Around 10:30 p.m., the officers, along with two additional officers, returned to the 1800 block of Greenfield Street. At this time, the officers approached the vehicle. Brahme testified that all persons in the area were stopped and searched for weapons. Brahme stated that defendant left the vehicle and was stopped and searched. A search of defendant revealed several small packets of cocaine. Defendant was then placed under arrest.
Defendant also testified at the suppression hearing. Defendant stated that he played basketball in a park district league until 10 p.m. He was given a ride to the 1800 block of Greenfield after the game had ended. After being dropped off, defendant was stopped by the police and searched. Defendant stated that at no time was he in the brown Oldsmobile.
Defendant presented three alibi witnesses at the hearing. Dennis Ritz testified that he was the official scorer for the basketball league. Ritz stated that the scorebook indicated that defendant had participated in a park district game on the night in question. It was Ritz' opinion that the basketball game ended sometime between 9:30 and 10 p.m.
John Washington and Excell Robinson both testified that they left the basketball game around 10 p.m. in a borrowed brown Delta 88 Oldsmobile. Two other passengers were in the car. However, defendant was not one of the passengers. Both witnesses stated that the police surrounded the vehicle after it entered the 1800 block of Greenfield Street. Both witnesses got out of the car, were told to lie on the ground, and were subsequently searched.
Following arguments of counsel, the trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress the evidence. The court stated:
"[The] problem I have here is we have a vehicle with no identification by way of who is in the car at the time. There's no identification by way of license plate number or anything else or anything particularly unusual about the vehicle that would distinguish it from others, other than the make and color. Then we have testimony of course that I think is entirely credible that the defendant was engaged in a basketball game during the time that the officer was watching.
But the problem I have is exactly what defense counsel alluded to, we have that gap and when he [Detective Brahme] returned, he doesn't see any illegal transactions going on and there's no way to know, in fact, because there's no identification of the license plate or the car or the people if in fact it is the same ...