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People v. Brown

October 20, 2003

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
BRUCE BROWN, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 01--CF--4107 Honorable James K. Booras, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gilleran Johnson

UNPUBLISHED

The defendant, Bruce Brown, was charged with numerous offenses under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570/101 et seq. (West 2000)) and the Cannabis Control Act (720 ILCS 550/1 et seq. (West 2000)). The defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, which the trial court granted. The State appeals from the May 31 and June 14, 2001, orders of the circuit court of Lake County granting the defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence and denying its motion to reconsider. We affirm.

On January 3, 2002, the defendant was charged by indictment with (1) unlawful possession of, with the intent to deliver, between 100 and 400 grams of a substance containing cocaine (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(B) (West 2000)); (2) unlawful possession of between 100 and 400 grams of a substance containing cocaine (720 ILCS 570/402(a)(2)(B) (West 2000)); (3) unlawful possession of, with the intent to deliver, between 500 and 2,000 grams of a substance containing cannabis (720 ILCS 550/5(e) (West 2000)); (4) unlawful possession of between 500 and 2,000 grams of a substance containing cannabis (720 ILCS 550/4(e) (West 2000)); (5) unlawful possession of less than 15 grams of a substance containing heroin (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2000)); and (6) three counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24--1.1(a) (West 2000)). On February 13, 2002, the defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence.

The trial court conducted a hearing on the defendant's motion on April 4 and 5, 2002. Sergeant Kirk Henderson of the Zion police department testified that on December 8, 2001, he was working the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. At about 8:30 p.m., dispatch informed him that he had a telephone call at the station from someone who wanted to give him some narcotics information. Sergeant Henderson directed dispatch to transfer the call to his voice mail. Sergeant Henderson retrieved the voice mail around 9 p.m.

The caller, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the defendant was a drug dealer in the Zion area. The defendant was supposedly, at the time the caller was leaving the voice mail, driving home from Chicago with a kilo of marijuana. The caller stated that the defendant lived at 3303 Colgate in Zion. The defendant had a white van with burgundy pin-striping and a gray car.

According to the caller, a young lady known as "P-Diddy" had assisted the defendant in selling drugs and would often drive the defendant's gray car. The defendant also has a cousin who had assisted him. The defendant's cousin drove a gray vehicle. Finally, the caller stated that the defendant was a "felony" and "keeps a pistol in his house." Sergeant Henderson did not know the person who made this anonymous tip.

Sergeant Henderson had had previous contact with the defendant. A year prior to the defendant's arrest in this case, the defendant was the victim of an alleged robbery. In that incident, someone had supposedly forced his or her way into the defendant's apartment, shot either a relative or a friend of the defendant's, and then stole money or drugs from the defendant. On another occasion, Sergeant Henderson had seen the defendant talking with one of his narcotics informants. At that time, Sergeant Henderson ran the defendant's criminal history and learned that the defendant had convictions of felony drug offenses.

Based on the anonymous tip, Sergeant Henderson set up a surveillance at the defendant's residence. A little before 11 p.m., Sergeant Henderson spotted a white Chevy conversion van with maroon pin-striping traveling east down 33rd Street. A gray Honda Accord followed the van. Both vehicles turned into the parking lot of 3303 Colgate. Sergeant Henderson was not able to see who was driving the van or if there were any passengers in it. He did see that a black female was driving the gray car and that there were no other occupants in the car. At that point, Sergeant Henderson initiated a traffic stop.

Sergeant Henderson waited for backup officers and then approached the van. When he approached the van, Sergeant Henderson recognized the defendant. Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant to step out of the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs. Sergeant Henderson explained to the defendant that he was not under arrest. Sergeant Henderson was concerned that the defendant might have a weapon. Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant if he had anything in the van that police should know about. The defendant replied that he had cleaning supplies in the van.

Additionally, Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant if he knew the driver of the gray car. The defendant identified the driver as Pam. Sergeant Henderson approached the gray car. The driver identified herself as Sherry Wright and did not know why the defendant would refer to her as Pam. Sergeant Henderson then returned to his squad car, where the defendant had been taken by another officer.

Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant who owned the vehicles. The defendant responded that he owned both of them. Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant for permission to search the vehicles. The defendant did not answer. Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant if he had any drugs in the van. Again, the defendant did not answer. Sergeant Henderson told the defendant that he should help himself out. He then asked the defendant if he had anything illegal in the van. The defendant replied that he did. The defendant stated, "You'll find it." When Sergeant Henderson asked the defendant to be more specific, the defendant told him to look behind the front seat.

Sergeant Henderson searched the van. Under the front seat, he found two large zip-lock bags containing a compressed, greenish-brown leafy substance. He suspected the substance to be cannabis. He requested a K-9 officer. The dog alerted on the front seat. Sergeant Henderson subsequently had the defendant's van towed.

About this time, another officer had ascertained that the driver of the gray vehicle was not Sherry Wright, but Tepaingar Wright. Tepainger Wright's license was revoked. Both Wright and the defendant ...


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