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01/14/98 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. EDDIE LEE CRISS

January 14, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDDIE LEE CRISS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County. No. 96CF293. Honorable Thomas J. Difanis, Judge Presiding.

Honorable Robert W. Cook, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J. - Concur, Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J. - Concur. Justice Cook delivered the opinion of the court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cook

The Honorable Justice COOK delivered the opinion of the court:

In March 1996, defendant Eddie Lee Criss was charged with unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in Champaign County, Illinois. 720 ILCS 570/401 (West 1996). Defendant argued the police did not have probable cause to search and arrest him and filed a motion to suppress evidence. A hearing on that motion was held in August 1996.

At the suppression hearing, Officers Walton and Beuschlein testified that on March 2, 1996, they were stationed at two separate concealed locations to survey suspected illicit drug transactions at the residence at 1410 North Market, Champaign, Illinois. In the past, several drug search warrants had been executed at that residence and the garage behind it and several drug arrests had been made in that area. From approximately 2:30 a.m. until 4 a.m., both officers witnessed a heavy-set black male wearing a blue and white Fila coat interact with several individuals at the residence. The officers identified defendant as the individual wearing the Fila coat.

Officer Walton testified that, at approximately 3 a.m., he witnessed a burgundy Hyundai pull up to the residence. A black male got out, looked in all directions, and walked behind the house. He came back a few minutes later, accompanied by defendant. The Hyundai left, and defendant went to and stood on the porch of the residence. Officer Walton then witnessed a black female walk up to defendant on the porch. They looked around in all directions and exchanged something from their pockets. The black female left, glancing over her shoulders and looking back and forth. About 3:30 a.m., a gold Ford Bronco approached the residence. Two white males exited the Bronco and engaged in conversation with defendant. Officer Walton testified he distinctly heard defendant say, "You aren't the police, right?" One of the white males responded, "No way[,] man." One of the white males went with defendant into the residence and came back out about a minute later. The white male walked very quickly to the Bronco and left. Officer Walton then radioed other officers and instructed them to arrest defendant. Defendant was arrested on the porch, wearing a blue and white Fila coat and possessing crack cocaine in his coat pocket.

On cross-examination, Officer Walton was questioned about his surveillance location by defense counsel, Brian Silverman:

"Q. [Silverman]: Where were you located when you did this surveillance?

A. [Officer Walton]: In a concealed location within 50 yards of the front porch at 1410 North Market.

Q. [Silverman]: Could you tell me where you were located?

MR. DALY [(Prosecutor)]: Objection, Your Honor.

MR. SILVERMAN: Judge, I don't think his last answer was responsive.

THE COURT: Well--

MR. SILVERMAN: Concealed location ...


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