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People v. Ward

December 04, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Honorable Dennis A. Dernbach, Judge Presiding.

Following a jury trial, defendant Reginald Ward was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that the trial court erred in (1) failing to suppress the introduction into evidence of his State of Illinois Identification Card (I.D. card); (2) failing to grant him a continuance to prepare for an evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress the I.D. card; and (3) allowing a police officer to testify that he ran a check on defendant's I.D. card and a positive result came back from the check, which all resulted in depriving defendant of a fair trial. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

Prior to defendant's trial, defendant filed a motion in limine to bar the State from introducing any evidence of contraband found within the house where the police subsequently discovered defendant lived, which the trial court granted. At this time, the State informed the trial court and defendant that the officers had viewed photographs of defendant inside the house and that is how they had originally identified him. Defendant's counsel inquired whether any of the photographs were inventoried or any report made relating to the photographs that had not been disclosed. The State responded that everything had been disclosed. The trial court ruled, "Picture goes in. *** But the drugs and guns don't go in." The trial court then proceeded with jury selection.

The following day, the issue of suppressing evidence recovered from the house arose again when the parties informed the trial court that at 9:23 p.m. the night before, the State had discovered defendant's I.D. card in an inventory. It had been inventoried in conjunction with another case, of another defendant, that arose out of related incidents. Defendant also presented another motion in limine to bar the State from introducing testimony of a conversation between Yolanda McGee and the police officers investigating the ownership of a Buick they had stopped. McGee had answered the door after the police discovered the Buick they had pulled over was registered to the house in which she lived. The police asked McGee who was driving the vehicle and she answered that "Reginald Ward" was. The trial court ruled that this conversation was inadmissible because it was more prejudicial than probative. Defendant then sought to bar the introduction of the I.D. card because it was illegally obtained or, in the alternative, as a sanction for failing to produce the card in discovery. The trial court ruled that the I.D. card was not subject to suppression as hearsay because the officers in the course of their investigation came across the I.D. card which had a picture of defendant and his name on it. As to barring the admission of the document as a sanction for failing to disclose it, the trial court ruled:

"[A]s to the photograph, I will deny the motion in limine. I will allow the state to use the photograph on the standard that it was tendered to counsel--counsel was given that last night, informed of that last night as soon as the state found out about it. It's one of those things which goes to--which was filed in another case, *** it came to attention last night, upon finding out about it they notified defense counsel. I think in balancing the statement and the pictures to entitle defendant a fair trial and to allow [sic] state to present their evidence, that being the conduct of the police officers, I think that balancing all the factors that is the appropriate ruling. *** [The] state can introduce the evidence of observing the photographs of the defendant and introduce the I.D. that was recovered in the house."

After the trial court denied the motion in limine, defendant asked for a continuance to "investigate the fact they got the photograph and also to make an oral motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence." Defendant requested a continuance to locate a witness he felt necessary for an evidentiary hearing on the suppression of the I.D. card. Defendant's counsel stated that he was not aware whether defendant lived at the house where the I.D. card was discovered by the police. The trial court then initially questioned whether defendant had standing to challenge the seizure of the I.D. card. The trial court ultimately ruled: "I'm going to deny your motion. I find that the photograph is not evidence of defendant's guilt. I'm allowing it in only for the purposes of showing the police officers' conduct. I'm allowing it in because I have granted the motion in limine barring the statement of Yolanda McGee. All this evidence we're talking about, the statement of Yolanda McGee and the photographs do not go to the issue of whether the defendant possessed drugs, the allegations in the indictment, they only go to show the course of conduct of the police officers. I'm leaving that in for that limited purpose, not as evidence against the defendant. For those reasons your request to ask that a motion to exclude, a motion to suppress, is denied. Your objection to the introduction of that evidence is denied."

At defendant's trial, the State's evidence consisted of the testimony of two Chicago police officers and the stipulated testimony of a chemist and an expert on narcotics value. Officer Mike Jedlowski testified that on June 18, 1994, he and his partner were assigned to the Special Operations section of the Chicago police department. Special Operations is a unit that patrols different areas of the city designated as high crime areas. On June 18, he was on patrol with his partner, Officer Walter Muszynski, when he observed a Buick exit an alley near St. Louis and Augusta in Chicago without stopping. Officer Jedlowski was the passenger in an unmarked squad car. He and his partner proceeded to activate their vehicle's emergency equipment to curb the Buick. The Buick stopped at approximately 949 North Drake. After stopping their vehicle, Officer Jedlowski and his partner exited their vehicle and the driver of the Buick exited his vehicle. At this time, Jedlowski heard the driver of the Buick ask, "Why are you stopping me? I didn't do nothing." The driver of the Buick was approximately 10 feet from Jedlowski at this time. The weather was bright and sunny, and Jedlowski testified he had a clear view of the driver. Jedlowski identified the driver of the Buick as defendant. Jedlowski further stated that after defendant asked why he had been pulled over, defendant turned around and ran. After defendant ran, Jedlowski pursued him south on Drake, and then west through some gangways. Jedlowski was unable to locate defendant and returned to where defendant had abandoned the Buick. Jedlowski looked inside the driver's door and observed "on the floor of the vehicle on the right side *** a brown paper bag was open." Inside the bag, he could "see two large clear plastic bags with white rock suspect cocaine and bunches of U.S.C. that were rubber banded or tied together." Jedlowski recovered the bag and placed it in the trunk of his police vehicle.

Jedlowski further testified that at this time he and his partner called in the Buick's license plate to receive registration information. The information disclosed that the car was registered to an individual with an address of 946 North Drake. The officers proceeded to that address and knocked on the door. A female answered the door and identified herself as Yolanda McGee. McGee allowed the officers into the home, and after asking her, "Do you know whose car this is? The car registers here," McGee directed the officers to a basement bedroom. In the basement, Jedlowski observed a collage of pictures on the wall. Within the pictures, Jedlowski recognized defendant. In addition to the photographs on the wall, Jedlowski recovered defendant's I.D. card with his photograph and name. Approximately 10 minutes had passed from the time defendant ran from Jedlowski to the time Jedlowski saw defendant's picture in the house.

After recovering the I.D. card, the officers returned to the police station, where they inventoried the cocaine and bag. Officer Jedlowski then began the paperwork associated with the case, and ran a check on defendant using the I.D. card. With respect to the check on defendant's I.D. card, the following colloquy occurred:

Q. [MR. GEBHARDT, Assistant State's Attorney]As part of the paperwork, in doing your paperwork did you do anything to find the defendant, Reginald Ward?

A. [OFFICER JEDLOWSKI]We ran a check on the defendant.

Q.And did you get a result of that check? MR. SPECTOR [defendant's attorney]:Objection. THE COURT:Read back that question. (The record was read backby the court reporter asrequested.) THE COURT:Overruled. BY MR. GEBHARDT:

Q.Your answer to that question was yes, is that correct?


Q.You got a result of the check that was made?


Jedlowski further stated that after receiving the I.D. check information, he took the information ...

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