Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 95 CR 8135. Honorable Robert Bertucci, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication June 2, 1997.
The Honorable Justice Gallagher delivered the opinion of the court. Cerda and Greiman, concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gallagher
The Honorable Justice GALLAGHER delivered the opinion of the court:
On March 14, 1995, defendant was charged by information with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Following a bench trial, defendant was acquitted of both charges, but found guilty of possession of a controlled substance, a lesser included offense, and sentenced to a one-year prison term, which was to be served consecutively to an unrelated one-year prison term for possession of a controlled substance. On appeal, defendant contends that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The evidence introduced at trial established that on February 10, 1995, Chicago police officer James O'Donnell was at 5659 South Racine Avenue in Chicago, investigating a complaint of narcotics sales in the area, when he saw defendant. According to Officer O'Donnell, defendant dropped a "clear plastic bag" while running through a nearby vacant lot. Officer O'Donnell immediately ran to where he saw defendant drop the bag, some 30 to 40 feet away. He found it and noticed that it contained 19 other clear plastic packets, each containing what he believed to be cocaine. Officer O'Donnell arrested defendant several minutes later.
Officer O'Donnell then transported defendant and the evidence to a police station where that evidence was weighed and inventoried. Using a scale at the police station, he estimated the weight of the evidence to be two grams with an attendant street value of $253.28 and recorded those estimates in his arrest report. Thereafter, he assigned that evidence to inventory number 1441897.
Following Officer O'Donnell's testimony, a stipulation was entered into between the parties. It was as follows:
"THE COURT: State, do you have any other witnesses?
[ASSISTANT COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY] *** GAMBINO: No other witnesses.
THE COURT: Anything else?
MS. GAMBINO: Stipulation.
THE COURT: All right. What is the stipulation?
MS. GAMBINO: The stipulation would be that Inventory 1441897 was tested at the Chicago Crime Lab by Francis Mannison; that the total items received were 20, the total estimated weight was 9.3 grams; that three items were tested and ...