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People v. Thompson

March 08, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WAYNE THOMPSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 99-CF-1462 Honorable K. Craig Peterson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'malley

Released for publication March 13, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WAYNE THOMPSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 99-CF-1462 Honorable K. Craig Peterson, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'malley

After a jury trial, defendant, Wayne Thompson, was found guilty of the unlawful delivery, while on a public way within 1,000 feet of residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency, of less than 1 gram of a substance containing cocaine (720 ILCS 570/401(d), 407(b)(2) (West 1998)) and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court improperly allowed a public housing security manager to testify about the ownership of the property near the site of the narcotics transaction. We affirm.

A first trial resulted in a mistrial after the jurors reported that they were unable to reach a verdict. During the second trial, the State's first witness was Ivan Martinez. Martinez testified that he was employed in the technical investigations unit of the Illinois State Police and was responsible for assisting investigative agencies using audio and video equipment. On October 10, 1998, Martinez installed video recording equipment in a vehicle that Sergeant Mark Fritz would be using to conduct an undercover drug operation. Martinez tested the equipment, determined that it was working properly, and inserted a new tape in the machine. After the equipment was used during the October 10 investigation, Martinez retrieved the tape from the machine and gave it to Inspector Andrew Montalbano.

Montalbano testified that he was employed with the Roscoe police department and assigned to the State Line Area Narcotics Team (SLANT). On October 10, 1998, he received the tape from Martinez and viewed it. The tape contained about one hour of video of Fritz meeting with people on the street. Montalbano placed the tape in an evidence vault.

Fritz testified that he was employed with the Illinois State Police and assigned to SLANT. On October 10, 1998, he was assigned to purchase drugs. Fritz was dressed as a contractor and rode in an unmarked pickup truck equipped with hidden video recording equipment.

At about 4 p.m., Fritz went to the Blackhawk housing development. He explained that the streets in the Blackhawk development were more narrow than public streets and that houses across the street from each other were about 25 feet apart. Looking for people who might be willing to sell drugs to him, he drove around the development. Fritz explained that, if he nodded his head or waved at a person and the person waved or nodded in return, then that person was probably interested in purchasing or selling drugs.

When Fritz arrived near 1403 Birch Court, he saw a man, whom he identified in court as defendant, sitting in a brown vehicle parked on the street. As Fritz drove past the other vehicle, he nodded and waved at defendant, and defendant nodded back. Fritz turned his truck around and came back to defendant. Defendant exited his vehicle and instructed Fritz to park across the street from 1403 Birch.

Fritz showed defendant his money and told him that he was "looking for a twenty," which means a $20 rock of cocaine. Defendant walked to 1403 Birch, opened the door, and said something like, "You got a customer out here." After about one minute, defendant returned with a woman. Defendant stood near his car while the woman walked to Fritz and made the delivery. Fritz went to a designated location, met with Inspector Denis Reser, and gave him the item that he had just purchased.

Fritz explained that, after making purchases like the one on October 10, 1998, he would show the video to police officers assigned to the area where the purchase took place. If an officer was able to identify the person on the video, then Fritz would view a jail photo, if available, to confirm whether the named person was the individual who sold him drugs. Fritz testified further that he met with defendant after he was arrested and believed that defendant was the person who arranged the October 10, 1998, sale on Birch Court.

Reser testified that he was involved in the undercover operation on October 10. After returning from the Blackhawk housing development, Fritz handed Reser a plastic bag containing a tan-colored rock substance. Reser placed the item into a plastic evidence bag and sealed it. Both Reser and Fritz initialed it. Reser transported the item to the police department and placed it in an evidence vault. One or two days ...


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