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People v. James

April 19, 1999

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TIMOTHY R. JAMES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County. No. 96--CF--60 Honorable Gerald F. Grubb, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Rapp

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Defendant, Timothy R. James, appeals his conviction of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 1994)). Defendant argues that the prosecutor's questions to the jury during voir dire regarding jurors' possible prior illegal drug use denied him of the right to an impartial jury. We affirm.

Defendant was charged with unlawful delivery of 15 grams or more, but less than 100 grams, of cocaine. 720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 1994). The matter proceeded to a jury trial.

At the beginning of voir dire, the panel of prospective jurors was sworn by the clerk. The trial Judge permitted the attorneys to question the prospective jurors. The prosecutor, without objection by defense counsel, asked all but one of the prospective jurors who were ultimately seated as jurors questions regarding their prior illegal drug use. Those questions are summarized as follows:

The prosecutor asked one juror, "Have you ever used or had exposure to cocaine or any narcotic substance?" That juror replied, "No."

The prosecutor asked another juror, "Have you ever used or had exposure to any narcotic substance?" That juror also denied any use.

The following colloquy then transpired between the prosecutor and yet another juror:

Prosecutor: "All right. Have you ever been exposed to any narcotic substance?"

Juror: "Yes."

Prosecutor: "Is that something you're comfortable talking about in court?"

Juror: "Exposed meaning have I ever been around it in the use of it?"

Prosecutor: "No, have you ever used?"

Juror: "No, not narcotics, no. Marijuana, yes."

Prosecutor: "Have you been around cannabis?"

Juror: "Yes; yes."

Prosecutor: "Can I presume this is the old college days, that kind of thing?"

Juror: "Yes."

Prosecutor: "Okay. Cocaine, heroin, that stuff is pretty much out?"

Juror: "No. I've never been around it, huh-uh."

The following colloquy then transpired between the prosecutor ...


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