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02/29/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. CURTIS SINGLETON

February 29, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CURTIS SINGLETON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Thomas P. Durkin, Daniel Locallo, Judges Presiding.

As Corrected March 5, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Greiman delivered the opinion of the court: Rizzi, P.j., and Tully, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greiman

The Honorable Justice GREIMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a 50-month delay between indictment and arrest, defendant Curtis Singleton was convicted for the offense of delivery of a controlled substance and received a six-year term of imprisonment. Prior to trial, the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment which was based on the delay between indictment and arrest. The sole issue presented on appeal is whether defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated by reason of the 50-month delay between indictment and arrest.

We reverse defendant's conviction and find that under the facts of the present case, the more than four-year delay violated defendant's speedy trial rights.

At the same time on November 17, 1989, defendant was indicted in three consecutive indictments (89 CR 25510, 89 CR 25511 and 89 CR 25512). These indictments are referred to as the 10, 11 and 12 cases respectively. Each indictment charged the same offense, i.e., delivery of a controlled substance. Each indictment arose from the same undercover police investigation and with the same undercover police officer, Michael Cooper. The three indictments arose from drug transactions which occurred on three different dates: September 7, 1988 (the 12 case); December 8, 1988 (the 11 case); and May 26, 1989 (the 10 case). The 10 case is the charge and conviction at issue in the instant appeal.

In December 1989, defendant was arrested and charged on the 11 and 12 cases only. At this time, defendant was not informed about or served with any documents regarding the 10 case. On January 19, 1990, defendant pled guilty to the two offenses charged and received 18 months felony probation on each case, the sentences to run concurrently.

On April 10, 1991, a petition for violation of probation was filed and allowed. A warrant was also issued for violation of probation.

In 1992, defendant was arrested four times, i.e., on February 28, March 26, May 20 and September 17, according to his criminal history sheet in the record.

On January 19, 1994, defendant was arrested for the 10 case. This date of arrest occurred almost four years and eight months after the alleged drug transaction (May 26, 1989) and four years and two months after the indictment was filed (November 17, 1989).

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on the 10 case based on constitutional and statutory grounds. At the hearing on defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment, defendant testified that he was in custody during the pendency of the 11 and 12 cases which would be at least three weeks, i.e., from December 29, 1989, until January 19, 1990. During the term of his probation, defendant had a probation officer and lived in Chicago. When asked about the 10 case, defendant testified that he had "no idea" where he was on May 26, 1989, and doesn't "even remember that date."

The State admitted that the execution of the warrant in January 1994 was the first time defendant knew of the indictment in the 10 case. The State further admitted that the State at no time notified defendant of the charges against him in the 10 case, even though he was at one time in the State's custody and, at other times, reachable through the State's probation department. Furthermore, the State conceded that it had proceeded with a prosecution pursuant to the same investigation and had obtained consecutive indictment numbers.

At the hearing, however, the State attempted to argue that "there was a violation of probation warrant issued for the defendant," suggesting that defendant was a fugitive during part of the 50-month delay. The trial court sustained ...


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