Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Pratcher

August 09, 2002

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TONY PRATCHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 00--CF--1700 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding.

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

Released for publication August 13, 2002.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TONY PRATCHER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 00--CF--1700 Honorable John T. Phillips, Judge, Presiding.

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

PUBLISH

Defendant, Tony Pratcher, was charged with one count each of unlawful possession with the intent to deliver more than 1 gram but less than 15 grams of a substance containing cocaine (count I) (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2) (West 2000)), unlawful possession with the intent to deliver more than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/5(d) (West 2000)), unlawful possession of less than 15 grams of a substance containing cocaine (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2000)), and possession of more than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams of cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(d) (West 2000)). Following a stipulated bench trial, defendant was found guilty of all the charges except count I. Defendant appeals and contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. For the reasons that follow, we agree and reverse the trial court's ruling.

Defendant responded to the charges against him by filing a motion to suppress evidence. At a hearing on the motion, the State called as a witness Kirk Henderson, a sergeant with the Zion police department. Henderson testified that on June 7, 2000, about 5:30 p.m., he was on duty in a fully marked squad car that was being driven by his partner, Lieutenant Dumyahn. Henderson observed a car driving northbound down the center of the road in the 2800 block of Gilead Street, a two-lane, north-south residential street in Zion. Henderson later observed the car moving northbound completely in the southbound lane of Gilead Street. Henderson told Dumyahn that they should stop the car. The squad car pursued the car and caught up with it. Dumyahn then activated the squad car's emergency lights. The car traveled about two more blocks and made at least one turn before it stopped in an alley. Defendant was the driver and sole occupant of the car.

As defendant's car came to a stop, Henderson observed defendant stick his hand into a compartment between the car's visors. Henderson was unable to determine whether defendant had anything in his hand when he removed it from the compartment.

Henderson then observed defendant open the driver's door to his car and begin to exit the car. Henderson quickly exited the squad car and moved toward defendant's car while giving defendant verbal commands to remain in the car. Defendant complied with Henderson's commands and sat back down in his car leaving the driver's door open.

As he approached defendant's car, Henderson observed defendant quickly put his right hand down toward the center console area between the front seats of the car and stick his hand into a compartment there. Upon reaching the open driver's door of defendant's car, Henderson told defendant the reason for the stop and requested defendant's driver's license and insurance card. After receiving these items, Henderson asked the police dispatcher to check the validity of the license and to check for outstanding warrants on defendant.

While waiting for the dispatcher's response, defendant remained seated in his car. Henderson was standing between the open driver's door and defendant. From that vantage point, Henderson observed defendant rapidly pivot and lean forward in the driver's seat several times as if he was trying to exit the car. Henderson also observed defendant thrust himself toward the front passenger floorboard of the car as if trying to grab something there. When defendant did this, his body obstructed Henderson's view.

The dispatcher informed Henderson that defendant's driver's license was not suspended or revoked and that there were no outstanding warrants on defendant. Henderson then asked defendant to step out of the car and put his hands on the roof of the car so that Henderson could pat down defendant. Henderson testified that he made this request to determine whether defendant was carrying a weapon. On cross-examination, Henderson acknowledged that he was also concerned that defendant might be attempting to conceal contraband. Defendant complied with Henderson's request.

Henderson conducted a pat-down search of defendant's clothing. Upon reaching defendant's left front pants pocket, from the outside of the pocket and through defendant's clothing, Henderson felt what he believed was a quantity of cannabis in the pocket. Henderson explained that he believed that what he felt in defendant's pocket was cannabis because "it was tightly compressed, soft, pliable. It appeared contained because I wasn't able to spread it out." Henderson testified that, during the more than eight years that he had been conducting traffic stops, he had come into contact with cannabis over 100 times and had felt cannabis in someone's pocket at least ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.