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12/19/96 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. PAUL KRUEGER

December 19, 1996

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
PAUL KRUEGER, APPELLEE.



Chief Justice Bilandic delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Miller, dissenting.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bilandic

CHIEF JUSTICE BILANDIC delivered the opinion of the court:

The central issue in this appeal is whether section 108-8(b)(2) of the "no-knock" statute (725 ILCS 5/108-8(b)(2) (West 1994)) violates constitutional guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures. We answer in the affirmative. We next hold that the Illinois Constitution of 1970 prohibits the application of the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule recognized in Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 94 L. Ed. 2d 364, 107 S. Ct. 1160 (1987).

FACTS

On November 15, 1995, an agent of the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group and an informant identified as John Doe appeared before a judge of the circuit court of Lake County and presented a complaint for a search warrant. The complaint requested a warrant to search the defendant, Paul Krueger, and his home for the purpose of seizing cocaine and other items related to the sale of controlled substances.

According to the affidavit signed by the agent and John Doe, they had conducted a controlled purchase of cocaine from the defendant at his residence within the last 72 hours. John Doe also attested that he had purchased cocaine from the defendant on prior occasions and the defendant told him that he keeps guns in his home. John Doe had personally seen one firearm in the defendant's home, sometime within the previous two months.

The circuit judge issued a warrant authorizing the police to search the defendant and his home. The judge further authorized the police to enter the defendant's home without knocking and announcing their office. The judge found that an unannounced entry was permitted under the no-knock statute (725 ILCS 5/108-8(b) (West 1994)) because the defendant was known to keep a firearm there. Subsection (b)(2) of the statute classified the prior possession of a firearm as an exigent circumstance (725 ILCS 5/108-8(b)(2) (West 1994)), which authorized a no-knock entry.

The next morning police forcibly entered the defendant's home without knocking and announcing their office. The defendant was arrested and later charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 1994)), unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 1994)), and armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-2 (West 1994)), based on evidence seized during the search.

On January 5, 1996, the defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. The parties stipulated to the above facts and asked the circuit court to rule on the motion as a matter of law. In the motion, the defendant contended that the mere presence of a firearm in his home did not constitute an exigent circumstance, which would excuse the knock-and-announce requirement. He thus asserted that the police officers' unannounced entry into his home violated his constitutional rights. The circuit court of Lake County agreed and granted the defendant's motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence.

Upon a request for clarification by the State, the circuit court declared subsection (b)(2) of the no-knock statute to be unconstitutional. The State then argued that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule recognized in Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 94 L. Ed. 2d 364, 107 S. Ct. 1160 (1987), should apply because the officers, in making their unannounced entry, were acting in objectively reasonable reliance on a statute later declared to be unconstitutional. The circuit court declined to follow Krull based on People v. McGee, 268 Ill. App. 3d 32, 205 Ill. Dec. 883, 644 N.E.2d 439 (1994), where our appellate court held that to do so would violate the Illinois Constitution.

This direct appeal by the State followed. 134 Ill. 2d Rule 603. We now affirm the circuit court's judgment.

ANALYSIS

I

The State contends that the circuit court erred in granting the defendant's motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. According to the State, the police were not required to knock and announce their office before entering the defendant's home because they had a warrant issued pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of the no-knock statute authorizing their unannounced entry.

The defendant counters that subsection (b)(2) of the no-knock statute contravenes the fourth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and article I, section 6, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. He asserts that subsection (b)(2) unconstitutionally classifies the mere presence of a firearm in a home as an exigent circumstance. He therefore maintains that the officers' unannounced entry into his home based on subsection (b)(2) violated his constitutional rights.

A circuit court's ruling on a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence generally is subject to reversal only if manifestly erroneous. People v. Saechao, 129 Ill. 2d 522, 534, 136 Ill. Dec. 59, 544 N.E.2d 745 (1989). This case, however, involves the circuit court's application of the law to uncontroverted facts. Consequently, this case presents a question of law for which we conduct de ...


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