APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
546 N.E.2d 238, 189 Ill. App. 3d 952, 137 Ill. Dec. 484 1989.IL.1604
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. James A. Hendrian, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH, P.J., and SPITZ, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND
On October 9, 1988, following an arrest for a traffic violation, the vehicle of defendant David Kinney was towed, with an inventory search being conducted. A handgun was found in the glove compartment, which resulted in defendant being charged with the offense of unlawful use of weapons. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 24-1.) On December 9, the circuit court of Macon County granted defendant's motion to suppress. The State appeals.
Defendant's testimony was that on October 9 at 1:30 a.m., he was stopped by Officer James Stenger for a speeding violation he did not commit. Stenger asked him, since he had a Florida license, to sign the ticket. Defendant asked one question, and Stenger told him that he would be taken to the station to post a cash bail. At that point, he was handcuffed and put in a police car. The police searched and towed his car, finding a gun, according to defendant, in the locked glove compartment. At no time did the police ask him if he wanted his car inventoried or towed.
Stenger's testimony was that he stopped defendant for speeding and, after telling defendant he would do so, commenced writing a ticket. While he did so, he stayed in his police car. Several times, defendant came back to his car and yelled at him. When asked to sign the promise to comply on his ticket, defendant refused, saying they could take him to the jail because he was not posting bond. At this time, due to his belligerent attitude, defendant was handcuffed and taken to the station to post a cash bond. Stenger had defendant's car towed. It is departmental policy that a routine inventory be conducted on the contents of a vehicle and of any damage it may sustain prior to the vehicle's being towed. During this inventory, according to Stenger, the gun was found in the unlocked glove compartment. Officer Doug Taylor's testimony corroborated Stenger's concerning defendant's refusal to sign his ticket.
The court granted the motion to suppress, though it is unclear on what grounds this decision was based. In announcing its decision, the court stated:
"While a Police Department has or can have a procedure for an inventory search, every inventory search is restricted, if you want to, as far as necessity and extent.
The arresting officer in this case indicated, one; he had no probable cause to believe anything illegal was in the car.
There is no evidence to indicate that the Officer was in fear of anything. There is nothing in here to indicate that the defendant could not drive the automobile to the Police Department, as we all know occurs probably every shift of every day. In fact, there was no reason to tow the car. There was no reason to inventory the car.
It is apparent, and I don't know what the nature of it is, but there are other, at least, unstated problems.
Here you have an individual who was given a traffic ticket and, if he chooses to post the bond, then he can post the bond. And the Officer, himself, said it was ...