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People v. Mitchell

June 29, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hopkins

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Effingham County.

Nos. 96-CM-801 & 96-TR-7065

Honorable Michael R. Weber, Judge, presiding.

Appellant, Captain Dennis Lovell of the Illinois State Police, appeals from the trial court's order that found him in civil contempt for refusing to comply with defendant's, Robert L. Mitchell's, subpoena duces tecum and from the order that denied his motion to quash defendant's subpoena. We affirm in part and vacate in part.


The facts adduced are from police reports contained in the record. These reports established that on December 3, 1996, at approximately 12:10 p.m., Illinois State Trooper Mitchell McClaren stopped defendant's vehicle on Interstate 57 for speeding. Defendant was going 81 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour zone. During the stop, Trooper McClaren ran a computer check on defendant, which revealed that defendant had prior drug-related arrests. According to Trooper Vogles' report, Vogles arrived at the scene at 12:10 p.m. to assist Trooper McClaren with the stop. Vogles also reported that Trooper Mehl and his "K-9" police dog were already there when he arrived. Trooper Mehl's report of the incident stated that he arrived at 12:20 p.m. with his police dog Icar and did a walk-around of defendant's car. Icar alerted positive for the presence of drugs. While stopped, defendant inadvertently disclosed $1,000 he had in his pocket, and when defendant was told that Icar detected drugs in his car, defendant admitted he had five marijuana cigarettes in his glove box. The marijuana cigarettes were retrieved by the officers. Defendant was placed under arrest at 12:50 p.m. for possession of cannabis. At the time of his arrest, defendant was found to have approximately $5,200 on him.

On January 3, 1997, defendant was charged by information with possession of less than 2.5 grams of cannabis, a misdemeanor (720 ILCS 550/4(a) (West 1996)). Subsequently, defendant's counsel directed a subpoena duces tecum to Lovell, asking Lovell to produce the following documents:

"all photographs; complete log of telecommunicator's notes of audio recordings of radio transmissions and telephone calls; December 3, 1996 Activity, Notes, and Inquiry Transaction Report for M. McClaren, T. Mehl, and B. Vogles; written and recorded statement(s) (Robert Mitchell and Paul Golish); Statement of Constitutional Rights and Waiver (Robert Mitchell and Paul Golish); and video recordings, related to the apprehension, arrest, and post-arrest interrogation, of Robert L. Mitchell on December 3, 1996 ***."

The Illinois Attorney General's office, representing Lovell, filed a motion to quash the subpoena duces tecum.

At the hearing on the motion to quash the subpoena, Lovell advised the trial court that no photographs, no written and recorded statements of the defendant, no statements of defendant's waiver of rights, and no video recordings existed and that, therefore, none could be provided. Lovell objected to producing the remaining two items sought, the log of the telecommunicator's notes and "the activity, notes and inquiry transactions reports" of the arresting officers, arguing that the documents were irrelevant to whether the officers had probable cause to arrest defendant, that the requests were too broad, and that defendant was using the subpoena as a discovery tool. In response, defendant contended that he wanted the documents in order to investigate whether the length of defendant's stop was unreasonable, that the documents sought were relevant to this issue, and that the documents were not otherwise discoverable.

The court denied the State's motion to quash the subpoena duces tecum and stated its reasons as follows:

"He [defendant] has limited his request only to matters involving this defendant and the officers involved in the arrest. Regarding the fact that this information is sought directly from the Illinois State Police as opposed to through the prosecuting authority, this circuit has taken some pride in the fact that it does require all subpoenas to be returnable in open court so that if there [are] any objections to be raised regarding any sensitive matter or matters that are not relevant or that some way jeopardize another investigation or in any way harm anyone, [they] can be reviewed by the Court and that [sic] addressed; and it's the same thing here. The State's Attorney or the Attorney General can come to court[-- ]these records have yet to be turned over to the defendant[--]and can object. So there is a protection built in for all of that."

After the court ruled on the motion to quash, Lovell declined to produce the records. The court found Lovell to be in "willful contempt" and fined him $100, to be paid within seven days. An additional fine of $100 was to be imposed for every week thereafter that Lovell failed to comply with the order. The court stated that filing a notice of ...

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