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11/30/89 the People of the State of v. Donald Mcclanahan

November 30, 1989





547 N.E.2d 681, 191 Ill. App. 3d 276, 138 Ill. Dec. 514 1989.IL.1855

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Jeanne E. Scott, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH, P.J., and KNECHT, J., concur.


The State appeals the order of the trial court granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence. The State alleges that the trial court incorrectly found that no probable cause existed to justify the search of defendant's automobile.

We disagree and affirm.

On September 2, 1988, defendant Donald McClanahan was arrested and charged with the offenses of possession and delivery of a controlled substance (Ill. Rev Stat., 1988 Supp., ch. 56 1/2, pars. 1402(b), 1401(b)(2)) and unlawful use of a weapon (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 38, par. 24-1(a)(4)). Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, alleging that the search of his automobile prior to his arrest was in violation of his fourth amendment rights. The court ruled that, although the officers had probable cause to stop defendant's automobile, they were without probable cause to search it. As a result, the court granted defendant's motion to suppress the handgun found within the vehicle and the controlled substances found on the defendant. The controlled substances were found after defendant was placed under arrest because of the handgun found in the vehicle.

Testifying for the State at the suppression hearing were Ralph Caldwell (Caldwell) and Richard Wiese (Wiese), the two Springfield police officers who were present at defendant's arrest. Caldwell testified that on September 2, 1988, at approximately 10 p.m., he was investigating an armed robbery that had occurred a few minutes earlier. After learning the description of the armed robbers from other officers investigating that armed robbery, Caldwell advised them that the description fit Michael Lipscomb (Lipscomb) and Rochelle Williams (Williams).

Fifteen minutes later, Caldwell went to Lipscomb's residence and knocked on his front door. No one answered. Caldwell then went into Lipscomb's backyard to speak to Wiese when a vehicle pulled into the front driveway. Caldwell observed at least two occupants in the vehicle, but could not identify who they were or even whether they were men or women. Caldwell testified that he saw the automobile back out of the driveway at a fast pace. He then ran to his police car, turned it around, and chased the vehicle.

Caldwell testified that he had difficulty in catching up to defendant's car because defendant was traveling at a high rate of speed. He chased the vehicle for about 10 to 12 blocks because the car looked "awful suspicious." Caldwell also testified that he pulled the car over because he thought that Lipscomb was in the car.

After Caldwell stopped defendant's car, he radioed dispatch, approached the vehicle, and spoke with defendant, who remained in the driver's seat. Caldwell saw no one else in the car. He asked defendant for his driver's license and found the license to be valid. While defendant was giving Caldwell his license, Caldwell asked defendant where "Mike" was. Caldwell testified that defendant said, "Mike who?" Caldwell then stated that he told defendant that "Mike" was Michael Lipscomb. Defendant then answered Caldwell and told him that Lipscomb had told him "to get out of there," and that defendant had dropped him off.

It was at this point that Caldwell asked defendant to step to the rear of his car. As Caldwell was running checks on defendant, Wiese walked up to the driver's side of defendant's automobile, entered it, searched it, and found a gun. Defendant did not consent to a search of his car. Defendant was then placed under arrest, told to put his hands on the car and searched. Caldwell recovered $100 and cocaine from a pouch that defendant was holding. Defendant told Caldwell that the gun and cocaine were not his, that they were "Mike's." Caldwell did not have the results of the check until "everything was over." No warrants were out on defendant, and no tickets were issued for any violations.

Wiese corroborated much of Caldwell's testimony. Wiese testified that he also went to Lipscomb's house 10 to 15 minutes after being present at the scene of the armed robbery because Caldwell knew the description of the armed robber to match that of Lipscomb. Wiese further testified that while he was talking to Caldwell in the backyard, defendant's car pulled into Lipscomb's driveway and shined its headlights on the two officers. Wiese observed that the car immediately backed out of the driveway and drove away. He also noticed that the car seemed to pull out of the driveway faster than normal. Wiese followed Caldwell and indicated that he had difficulty in ...

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