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09/27/89 the People of the State of v. John Arman

September 27, 1989




Before the close of the State's case in chief, the parties stipulated that the credit manager of the company operating the paging service would testify that a person named John Arman leased a pager from the company on November 22, 1983. The parties also stipulated to the testimony of the police department chemists who had assayed the cocaine purchased by Detective Flynn in the course of the investigation.


545 N.E.2d 658, 131 Ill. 2d 115, 137 Ill. Dec. 5 1989.IL.1515

Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Christy S. Berkos, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court.


Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, the defendant, John Arman, was convicted of narcotics racketeering and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. The appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction and remanded the cause for a new trial. (171 Ill. App. 3d 232.) We allowed the State's petition for leave to appeal (107 Ill. 2d R. 315(a)), and we now reverse the judgment of the appellate court and affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

The defendant was charged by indictment with the offense of narcotics racketeering, in violation of section 4(a) of the Narcotics Profit Forfeiture Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 56 1/2, par. 1654(a)). The indictment alleged, in the language of the statute, that the defendant had "received income knowing such income to be derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of narcotics activity." The pattern of activity alleged in the indictment included six separate transactions occurring between March 19 and July 19, 1984.

The State's sole witness at trial was Detective Patrick Flynn of the Chicago police department. Detective Flynn testified that in March 1984 he learned from an informant of the operation of a drug ring in a certain neighborhood in Chicago. The informant gave the detective the telephone number of a paging service and the five-digit number of a particular pager. The informant instructed Flynn to call the paging service and to enter both the pager number and a telephone number where he could be reached. The informant explained to Flynn that his call would be returned and that he could then make arrangements to purchase narcotics.

Flynn made his first transaction on March 19, 1984. On that day the detective called the telephone number the informant had given him and entered the five-digit pager number and the number of the pay phone he was using. Less than a minute later, Flynn received a call at the pay phone from a person identifying himself as Chino, who asked the detective "how much did [he] need." Flynn said that he wanted to buy two grams of cocaine. Chino told Flynn that the cocaine would cost $200 and that he could pick it up in the vicinity of a specified intersection. Flynn went to the designated area and called the pager number back, as he had been instructed to do. Flynn's call was returned by a person who again identified himself as Chino. Flynn was told that the cocaine would be delivered to him by Felix, who would be driving a silver Oldsmobile Cutlass. Flynn walked a short distance and was met by a silver Cutlass. The vehicle stopped, and a Latin male got out and approached Flynn. After identifying himself as Felix, the man asked Flynn if he was looking for Chino's package. Flynn responded that he was. Felix then handed Flynn a plastic bag containing two tinfoil packets. Flynn opened one of the packets and found that it contained a white powder, which later tests established to be cocaine. Flynn kept the two packets and gave Felix $200.

Following that transaction, Detective Flynn initiated an investigation of the drug ring. He learned that the telephone number he had called was registered to the Radio Relay Corporation, and that Radio Relay had leased the five-digit pager number to a business called Spaulding Auto Parts. According to Radio Relay's records, the contract for the pager had been signed on Spaulding's behalf by a person named John Arman.

Detective Flynn testified that he then contacted the State Drug Enforcement Administration and the Chicago police department identification section to determine whether a person by the name of John Arman had an arrest record. The detective explained that as a result of his inquiry he obtained a photograph of an individual named John Arman. At trial, the prosecutor showed the photograph to Flynn and asked the witness to identify it. Flynn responded that the photograph was a "Chicago Police Department identification --." Interrupting the witness, defense counsel objected to the testimony and moved for a mistrial. The trial Judge sustained the objection but declined to grant the request for a mistrial.

Detective Flynn testified that on April 6, 1984, he called the pager again. His phone call was immediately returned by the same individual who had previously identified himself as Chino. Flynn agreed to buy two grams of cocaine for $200; Chino told Flynn that the cocaine would be delivered by Felix. Detective Flynn met Felix and consummated the deal.

On April 13, 1984, Detective Flynn called the pager telephone number to arrange another purchase. The man who returned the call first identified himself as Chino but then said that Flynn could call him Johnny rather than Chino. On this occasion Flynn agreed to buy an eighth of an ounce of cocaine for $325, and the narcotics were delivered to Flynn by a person named Frog. Later that month, on April 26, Flynn and Johnny arranged another transaction, with Flynn agreeing to buy a quarter ounce of cocaine for $575. Felix delivered the cocaine, as he had done previously. A fifth transaction ...

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