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People v. Jackson

June 7, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ANTHONY L. JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 00CF297 Honorable Leo J. Zappa, Jr., Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Released for publication.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ANTHONY L. JACKSON, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 00CF297 Honorable Leo J. Zappa, Jr., Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Following a routine traffic stop, defendant, Anthony L. Jackson, was charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(A) (West 2000)) and obstructing justice (720 ILCS 5/31-4(a) (West 2000)). Following defendant's arrest, the police officer searched the engine compartment of defendant's car, where he found a plastic bag containing 48.7 grams of cocaine. The trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress any evidence obtained during the officer's search of the engine compartment because the search was not proper as a search incident to arrest and because the facts were insufficient to support a finding of probable cause to justify the officer's warrantless search of the entire vehicle. The State appeals.

We reverse.

I. BACKGROUND

The State and defendant stipulated to the facts as stated in the arresting officer's written report of the incident. According to the report, on March 18, 2000, at approximately 12:20 a.m., Illinois State Police Sergeant Eric Biswell was patrolling Interstate 55 near Springfield. Biswell viewed an "applied for" vehicle registration sticker on defendant's car. Biswell followed defendant's car to get a closer look at the temporary registration sticker, and as Biswell approached defendant's car, defendant reduced his speed to 50 miles per hour. Defendant's vehicle then twice drove onto the right shoulder of the roadway, crossing the solid lane line by approximately one foot. Biswell stopped the vehicle for improper lane usage.

When Biswell approached defendant, he smelled an "odor of an alcoholic beverage" coming from the vehicle. He asked defendant for his driver's license, proof of insurance, and documentation of registration. Defendant told Biswell he recently purchased the vehicle and did not have insurance yet. Defendant was also unable to present any identification. Defendant told Biswell his name was Aaron B. Jackson and his date of birth was May 11, 1976. Defendant was able to produce paperwork for the purchase of the vehicle. When defendant was searching his pockets for identification, a small, clear plastic bag fell out of his pants. Defendant said the bag was empty and he smoked cannabis every now and then. Biswell also observed a large sum of money inside defendant's pocket.

As defendant opened the glove box to retrieve the paperwork for the purchase of the vehicle, Biswell observed a box of clear plastic sandwich bags. The paperwork stated the name of the person who purchased the vehicle was Anthony Jackson. Defendant told Biswell that Anthony was his cousin. Biswell then asked defendant for his address. Defendant hesitated for a moment, but then stated he lived in Belleville, Illinois. Defendant hesitated again when asked for his street address, but finally stated he lived at 1516 N. 47th Street in Washington Park, Illinois. Biswell noted the paperwork for the purchase of the vehicle showed the vehicle was purchased on March 15, 2000, in Springfield. Defendant stated his cousin, Anthony, gave him the car to use.

Biswell performed a computer inquiry on Aaron B. Jackson, which revealed no driver's license information. However, the inquiry did reveal several alias names and numerous criminal charges. A computer inquiry on Anthony Jackson also returned several alias names and criminal charges. At this time, master sergeant Eric Echols arrived on the scene. Biswell then informed defendant the information he provided did not indicate he possessed a valid driver's license. Biswell asked defendant how old he was and he stated "24." Biswell again asked for his date of birth and defendant replied, "May 11, 1974, no[,] 76."

At this point, Biswell handcuffed defendant and informed him he (Biswell) did not believe he was providing his true identity. Biswell told defendant neither date of birth would make him 24 years old. Defendant then stated, "I'm Anthony and my license is revoked." Biswell then asked defendant if he had been drinking and defendant stated he had some gin a long time ago.

Biswell searched defendant's car and felt a wet area on the floor that "smelled of an alcoholic beverage." Biswell also observed a "burnt suspected cannabis cigarette" in the ashtray. As Biswell continued his search, he asked defendant if he "sold it all." Defendant said, "Oh, you mean the bags. Someone left those in there." Biswell asked defendant how much money he had on him and defendant said "around ...


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