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People v. Pendleton

October 07, 1999

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
V.
JENTLE PENDLETON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial Circuit Kankakee County, Illinois No. 94-CF-30 Honorable Daniel Gould Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lytton

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant Jentle Pendleton faced a number of criminal charges, including calculated criminal drug conspiracy (720 ILCS 70/405(a) (West 1994)), for his involvement in a drug sale to undercover police officers. To prove that defendant "obtain[ed] anything of value greater than $500" from the drug conspiracy as required by the statute, the State relied on an accountability theory. See 720 ILCS 570/405(b)(3) (West 1994). A jury convicted defendant on all the charges. He appeals two of his convictions and his prison sentences. We reverse in part, vacate in part, and modify in part.

FACTS

In January 1994, defendant gave an undercover police officer a sample of cocaine. A drug deal was then arranged with defendant, who was to sell the officer an ounce of cocaine. On the day the sale was to take place, defendant again met with the officer, then left and returned in his pickup truck with James Harris and Ronald Cotton. The parties agreed on a price of $1,000. When the officer asked defendant about the location of the cocaine, Harris answered, stating that he did not have it but could get it. Defendant, Harris, and Cotton then left, but returned later in the truck.

Defendant vouched for the quality of the cocaine. Cotton asked the officer to see the money, then went to a nearby car driven by one of his "boys." Cotton returned to defendant's truck and tried to hand him the cocaine, but defendant did not take it. Cotton and the officer then exchanged the drugs and the money, and Cotton returned to the car. At that point, other officers arrived, arrested defendant and Harris, and found a small automatic gun in defendant's truck.

Defendant was charged with armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-2 (West 1994)), unlawful delivery of a controlled substance weighing more than 15 but less than 100 grams (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 1994)), unlawful delivery of a controlled substance weighing less than 1 gram (720 ILCS 570/401(d)(i) (West 1994)), unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 1994)), and calculated criminal drug conspiracy (720 ILCS 70/405(a) (West 1994)). A jury found defendant guilty of all charges, and he was given 2 concurrent sentences of 12 years in prison on the armed violence and criminal conspiracy charges and 2 concurrent sentences of 3 years in prison on the remaining counts. He was also given a mandatory drug assessment fine of $3,000.

Defendant filed motions for a new trial and to reconsider the sentences, which were denied by the trial court. He appeals only his convictions for calculated criminal drug conspiracy and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, as well as the trial court's failure to grant him full credit for time served in pretrial and presentence custody.

DISCUSSION

I.

Defendant argues that the State failed to establish an essential element of the calculated criminal drug conspiracy charge because it did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he received more than $500 from the drug sale. See 720 ILCS 570/405(b)(3) (West 1994).

When considering the sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine whether, after viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. ...


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