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People v. Bailey

July 07, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CHARLES K. BAILEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 98--CF--1607 Honorable Amy Bertani-Tomczak Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Homer

The defendant, Charles K. Bailey, was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 1998)) and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5 (West 1998)). He later moved to suppress the evidence against him. The court conducted a suppression hearing and granted his motion. The State appeals, and we affirm.

BACKGROUND

At the suppression hearing, police officer Tab Jensen testified that he and three other officers went to an apartment to execute an arrest warrant on Tomel Keese. The warrant had been issued because Keese failed to appear on a drug charge. The officers wore plain clothes and drove an unmarked squad car. Upon arriving, they saw Keese and the defendant attempting to enter the apartment. One of the officers yelled "stop," but Keese and the defendant proceeded hurriedly through the apartment door. The officers ran to the door and entered behind them before they could close it.

The first room inside the door was the kitchen. Two of the officers caught Keese between the living room and the kitchen and began apprehending her there. Meanwhile, Jensen and Officer Ambrosini stopped the defendant in the kitchen to keep him from interfering with Keese's arrest. They did so by standing in front of him and blocking his path. Jensen asked the defendant his name, and the defendant identified himself. Jensen testified he then asked the defendant "if he had anything illegal on his person." The defendant said he had a pipe and began reaching for his right shirt pocket. Jensen did not know if he was reaching for a weapon and consequently stopped him by grabbing his arm. Ambrosini then reached into the pocket and pulled out a crack pipe.

The defendant was subsequently arrested and searched. The search revealed two off-white rocklike substances (which tested positive for cocaine) in his left shirt pocket. Jensen testified that the encounter with the defendant occurred before the other officers finished arresting Keese. He explained that he asked the defendant about illegal items for officer safety purposes and that the defendant was not free to leave at that time.

Officer Ambrosini offered testimony substantially similar to Jensen's testimony. However, as far as she knew, the other officers had Keese under control when she and Jensen spoke with the defendant. The only reason they asked him about illegal items was because he ran into the house with Keese.

The defendant testified that he heard someone yell "stop" when he and Keese were entering the apartment. They entered anyway and closed the door behind them. He sat down at the kitchen table and was pouring some wine when he heard a knock at the door. He had been in the apartment for one to two minutes when the knock occurred.

Keese's mother opened the door. Four police officers ran inside, and Keese was apprehended. While Keese was being taken from the apartment in handcuffs, a male and a female officer stood in front of the defendant in the kitchen. The male officer said to him, "What do you have illegal in your pockets?" The female officer simultaneously reached for his shirt pocket, and he reached up to stop her. The male officer grabbed his hand, and the female officer took a crack pipe from his pocket. He was arrested, and the police searched him and also found cocaine in his pocket.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge found that the officers had a right to enter the apartment and separate the defendant from Keese to prevent him from interfering with the arrest. However, she also found that the officers had no reason to further detain the defendant and question him about his own conduct. She consequently suppressed the drugs and drug paraphernalia seized from him.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The judge's ruling is entitled to deference because more than one inference may be drawn from the facts presented at the suppression hearing. See People v. Sweborg, 293 Ill. App. 3d 298, 688 N.E.2d 144 (1997). Accordingly, we will not overturn the ruling unless it is manifestly erroneous (i.e., "arbitrary, unreasonable, and not based on the evidence"). People v. Nadermann, 309 Ill. App. 3d 1016, 1020, 723 N.E.2d 857, 861 (2000).

ANALYSIS

First, the State claims that the judge erred in granting the defendant's motion to suppress because he was never detained by the police. "If there is no detention--no seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment--then no constitutional rights have been infringed." Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 498, 75 L. Ed. 2d 229, 236, 103 S. Ct. 1319, 1324 (1983) (plurality opinion). Such a detention or seizure has occurred if a reasonable person in the ...


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