Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 14th Judicial Circuit Henry County, Illinois. Nos. 95--CM--377, 95--CM--354. Honorable Jay Hanson, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication June 30, 1997.
Present - Honorable Michael P. Mccuskey, Justice, Honorable William E. Holdridge, Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice. Justice McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court. Slater, J., concurs. Holdridge, J., dissents
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mccuskey
The Honorable Justice McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court:
The defendants, Roger L. Easley and Brian J. Terrill, were convicted of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 1994)) and unlawful possession of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(c) (West 1994)). Easley was fined $1,250, and Terrill's fine was $1,750. On appeal, the defendants challenge the stop and search of their vehicle, the conduct of the trial and the sufficiency of the evidence. After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm.
On May 12, 1995, Officer Shane Oleson of the Geneseo police department (the officer) saw a white 1985 Toyota vehicle with no rear registration light make an unsignaled right turn. The car pulled into a parking lot, and the officer stopped his squad car behind it. When the officer approached the car, he found the defendants inside. The officer then asked the driver, Terrill, for his driver's license. When Terrill opened his wallet, the officer saw a business card decorated with a picture of a marijuana leaf inside the wallet. Terrill immediately tried to hide the card from the officer's view. The officer observed that Terrill appeared nervous and was perspiring, and the vehicle's ashtray was open.
The officer returned to his squad car to run Terrill's license through the computer. Because the officer saw the picture of the marijuana leaf, he ran a check of Terrill's criminal history. During this time, the defendants remained in the car. The officer's investigation revealed that Terrill's license was valid, and he had a prior conviction for a drug offense. When the officer returned to the defendants' car, he noted that the ashtray was closed. The officer gave Terrill a verbal warning concerning the rear registration light and the need to signal his turns.
At this time, a conversation took place during which the defendants asked how much farther they would have to drive to reach Chicago. When the officer asked why they were going to Chicago, the defendants said they were going to a festival to advocate the legalization of hemp. The officer told the defendants that he was concerned, based upon seeing the marijuana leaf picture and Terrill's previous criminal history, that there might be illegal drugs in the vehicle. The defendants denied carrying any illegal substances. As a result of their response, the officer asked if he could search the car. The defendants refused to give permission for the officer to search the vehicle.
The officer informed the defendants that they were free to go. However, he told them that he would detain the vehicle to give a canine unit the chance to walk around the car to determine if drugs were present. Approximately two minutes elapsed before the canine unit arrived. The dog proceeded to alert when he reached the trunk area of the car. The officer then searched the trunk of the vehicle and found a large box of glass pipes ordinarily used to smoke marijuana, another box of glass pipes with brass screens also used to smoke marijuana, several products made from hemp, including cookie dough mix, pancake mix, lip balm and sunblock, and various items promoting the legalization of hemp, including bumper stickers.
Based upon the possession of these items, the officer arrested the defendants on a charge of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, the officer searched the interior of the defendants' car and found 12 1/2 grams of marijuana located inside a camcorder case on the front seat. Consequently, the defendants were charged with unlawful possession of cannabis.
Prior to trial, the State waived the prospect of any incarceration for the defendants if they were found guilty of the various offenses. Based upon this waiver, the trial court denied the defendants' request for appointment of the public defender. The defendants filed numerous motions attacking the jurisdiction of the court and the propriety of the officer's stop and search of the vehicle. All of the defendants' motions were denied.
At trial, Officer Oleson testified about his observations of the defendants on May 12, 1995, as well as their arrest and his search of the vehicle. Two other officers of the Geneseo police department testified on behalf of the State. Their testimony corroborated Officer Oleson's testimony.
Following the presentation of the evidence, the defendants tendered to the court several non-pattern IPI jury instructions. The judge refused to give the jury these instructions.
After deliberating, the jury found the defendants guilty as charged. This timely appeal followed.
The defendants first challenge the propriety of the stop and search of their vehicle. Where, as here, there is no real question regarding the facts, we conduct a de novo review of the trial court's determination of reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle and probable cause to conduct a search. Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. , 134 L. Ed. 2d 911, 920-21, 116 S. Ct. 1657 (1996); see also People v. Kidd, 175 Ill. 2d 1, 25-26, 675 N.E.2d 910, 922, 221 Ill. Dec. 486 (1996). Following our de novo review, we conclude that the trial court correctly found that the stop and search were proper.
Generally, a traffic violation provides a sufficient basis for a traffic stop. People v. Hood, 265 Ill. App. 3d 232, 241, 638 N.E.2d 264, 271, 202 Ill. Dec. 618 (1994). Accordingly, a police officer may properly stop a motor vehicle when the driver turns without signaling. People v. Shepherd, 242 Ill. App. 3d 24, 29, 610 N.E.2d 163, 166, 182 Ill. Dec. 739 (1993). Officer Oleson's testimony that Terrill failed to signal his ...