APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
547 N.E.2d 732, 191 Ill. App. 3d 207, 138 Ill. Dec. 565 1989.IL.1845
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Philip Schickedanz, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE SPITZ delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and STEIGMANN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SPITZ
Defendant was charged with the possession of more than 30 grams of phencyclidine with intent to deliver and with the possession of more than 30 grams of PCP in violation of sections 402(a)(10) and 401(a)(10) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 56 1/2, pars. 1402(a)(10), 1401(a)(10)). Defendant pleaded guilty to the possession of PCP and, in exchange, the State dropped the intent to deliver PCP charge. The trial court sentenced defendant to 10 years' imprisonment but later reduced the sentence to eight years. Defendant now appeals the length of his sentence.
The record shows that on May 23, 1985, Trooper Shaw of the Illinois State Police came upon a vehicle parked alongside Interstate 55 and stopped to investigate. Trooper Shaw found defendant asleep in the car, woke defendant, and asked for identification. Shaw soon learned that defendant was wanted in California for transporting illegal drugs and arrested him. Shaw also inventoried the vehicle and found three jars containing a brown liquid. These containers were submitted to the laboratory and were found to hold 507.5 fluid ounces of PCP. Defendant was arrested on narcotics charges and pleaded guilty to the possession charge.
At the sentencing hearing, Sergeant Steve Fermon of the Illinois State Police Criminal Investigation Unit testified that the quantity of PCP found in defendant's vehicle was in excess of 507 fluid ounces. The street value of the drug was between $350 and $500 per ounce.
Gerald Long, a lieutenant with the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement, testified that defendant admitted to meeting with people in California to arrange the trip to bring the PCP to Chicago. Long also testified that defendant admitted to making similar trips in the past. Defendant claimed he never sold the drug, however, and was hesitant to assist the officers because of fear for his own safety.
Next to testify was Daniel Brown, an employee of the Bureau of Forensic Investigations Science Division of the Illinois State Police. Brown testified as an expert about the dangers of PCP. Defendant objected to Brown's testimony, claiming it to be irrelevant. The prosecution replied that the court needed to know for sentencing the implications of possessing such a large quantity of PCP. The trial court overruled the objection.
Defendant was the last to testify. Defendant stated that he had suffered a disabling injury in May of 1987. As a result, defendant was unemployable and was collecting workers' compensation. Defendant further testified that he had a lawsuit pending against his former employer.
The court found the following factors in aggravation: the defendant's conduct caused or threatened serious harm; the defendant received compensation for committing the offense; and a sentence of incarceration is necessary under the facts and circumstances of this case to deter others from committing similar crimes. For mitigating factors, the court found that defendant had a long period of time without any history of significant criminal activity or delinquency.
The court further found that defendant was not a member of any group or organization that was engaged in the sale or distribution of a controlled substance to the extent other than he was used as an individual to transport the controlled substance. However, the court did believe that defendant knew he was transporting PCP and that defendant was aware of the dangers the drug could bring upon the community. The court sentenced defendant to 10 years' imprisonment.
On December 16, 1988, defendant filed a motion to reduce his sentence. The motion alleged that the trial court had improperly considered expert testimony concerning the dangers of PCP, defendant had no significant prior record, and defendant's health had deteriorated so that in addition to his crippling back injury, defendant had been diagnosed as having asbestosis. The motion stated that defendant would probably never work again and that an adequate ...