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People v. Fullwiley

April 19, 1999


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 97--CF--307 Honorable John R. Goshgarian, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Bowman


Defendant, Keveen Fullwiley, was charged by information with unlawful possession of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(d) (West 1996)), unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5(d) (West 1996)), resisting a peace officer (720 ILCS 5/31-1 (West 1996)), and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 1996)). The charges arose from a February 2, 1997, roadblock safety check conducted by the Waukegan police department at the intersection of Butrick and Brookside in Waukegan. Defendant now appeals the trial court's order denying his motion to suppress. We reverse and remand.

The facts relevant to the Disposition of this appeal are as follows. On April 4, 1997, defendant filed a motion to suppress. A hearing on the motion was held on April 9, 1997. The hearing commenced with the testimony of Keith Zupeck, a police officer with the City of Waukegan. Zupeck testified that on February 2, 1997, Sergeant Quinn, his supervisor, instructed him to conduct a roadblock safety check and to stop every fifth vehicle traveling in the northbound lanes at the intersection of Butrick and Brookside. According to Zupeck, Sergeant Quinn selected the location and method of the roadblock. The purpose of the roadblock was to check for valid license, insurance, and registration. Zupeck was on assignment with Officer DeBaufer. Both officers wore uniforms and drove police vehicles.

Zupeck testified that defendant was a passenger in a vehicle that he stopped at the roadblock at approximately 6:10 p.m. Zupeck initially stopped the vehicle by himself. When the vehicle was stopped, Zupeck observed that there were four occupants, three males and one female, in the vehicle. After Zupeck advised the driver of the reason for the stop, the driver gave Zupeck an insurance card, but he did not have a driver's license. Thereafter, Zupeck asked the occupants to step out of the vehicle "one at a time." He asked them to exit the vehicle so that he could perform a "safety pat down." He explained that the reason he felt that he needed to perform a "safety pat down" was because there were four people in the vehicle and he "couldn't keep [his] eyes on them at all times." He wanted to pat them down for his own safety.

Zupeck began the patdown with the driver of the vehicle. After he performed the patdown of the driver, Zupeck ordered the driver to step to the rear of the vehicle. Defendant was the third person to step out of the vehicle. After defendant exited the vehicle, Zupeck performed a patdown search and located a hard object in defendant's front right pocket of his pants. Zupeck believed that the object was possibly a knife. Based on this belief, he removed the object from defendant's pocket. Zupeck discovered that the object consisted of a lighter and a clear plastic baggy. He observed that the plastic baggy contained several small white rocks. While Zupeck was observing the contents of the plastic baggy, defendant fled. Thereafter, Zupeck pursued him, and defendant was apprehended approximately one block away with the assistance of other officers. Once defendant was apprehended, Zupeck arrested him.

During cross-examination, Zupeck testified that Sergeant Quinn verbally explained the procedure by which to conduct the roadblock. Zupeck did not know whether the roadblock was publicized. Zupeck did not issue the driver of the vehicle a ticket; the driver had a valid driver's license when Zupeck checked his name. He admitted that he did not observe any of the occupants commit any criminal offense, nor did he have any suspicion that they were committing any offense. He also admitted that none of the occupants gave him any suspicion that they were carrying weapons. He did not ask the occupants if he could perform a patdown, and defendant did not give Zupeck permission to search him.

Defendant's first witness was Antoine Taylor. Taylor testified that he was the driver of the vehicle. A police officer stopped Taylor and informed him that the stop was a safety stop. Taylor stated that the officer did not ask him for his license, insurance, and registration but instead asked him to exit the car. After Taylor exited the car, the officer performed a patdown. Thereafter, the officer asked the female occupant to exit the car, but he did not search her. However, the officer did search the remaining occupants once they exited the vehicle.

Defendant testified that he was a passenger in the vehicle that was stopped. A police officer asked the driver of the vehicle for his license and proof of insurance. Thereafter, the officer asked each occupant to exit the car. When defendant exited the car, the officer searched him, and defendant fled. On cross-examination, defendant admitted that he ran from the officer because the officer removed drugs from defendant's pocket.

At the Conclusion of the hearing, the trial court denied the motion. In denying the motion, the court made the following statements:

"Well, the defendant and witnesses testified to some degree differently and the defendant himself indicated that he saw the lights when he was pulled over and asked for a driver's license and insurance and so forth. And then he was asked to get out and be searched. Whereas Taylor indicated he just pulled him over and had him get out."

"He also indicated that he had his license. I don't think the defendant indicated one way or the other as to that."

"The Officer indicates that he did pull them over. He asked for insurance and license and he did not have a license. He had insurance. It was at that point that he had everyone get out of the car. It seems to be corroborated by the defendant himself and what he said."

"So now, he has a driver without a license, according to the officer, although the actual driver said he did have his license. And it's at this point that ...

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