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People v. Miller

January 15, 2004

[5] THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM A. MILLER, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



[6] Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County No. 02CF163 Honorable Harold J. Frobish, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton

[8]  The State charged defendant, William A. Miller, with unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis (720 ILCS 550/5(c) (West 2002)) and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 2002)). Defendant filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence. At the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted the motion. On appeal, the State argues the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion and suppressing evidence. We affirm.

[9]  I. BACKGROUND

[10]   In August 2002, the State charged defendant by information with one count of unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis (720 ILCS 550/5(c) (West 2002)), alleging he knowingly and unlawfully possessed, with intent to deliver, more than 10 grams, but not more than 30 grams, of a substance containing cannabis. The State also charged him with one count of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 2002)), alleging he knowingly possessed a gold metal smoking pipe with the intent to use it to smoke cannabis.

[11]   In October 2002, defendant filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress evidence. He alleged that at the time of the stop, neither he nor any of the car's occupants had committed a crime or violated any traffic laws. Further, he argued the police officer had stopped and detained him without probable cause.

[12]   In November 2002, the trial court held a hearing on defendant's motion. Defense counsel called Daniel Davis, a police officer with the Pontiac police department. Davis testified he stopped a car driven by defendant at approximately 3:56 p.m. on August 24, 2002. Approximately an hour before the stop, Davis was advised of an anonymous tip that defendant had been participating in illegal activity involving cannabis. Davis was therefore "looking to speak" with defendant, whose vehicle he saw parked at a residence in Pontiac. After following defendant, Davis pulled him over because of "a defective muffler, loud exhaust system." He characterized the muffler as "abnormally loud, and when the vehicle accelerated, it was even louder, a lower guttural sound."

[13]   After stopping defendant's car, Davis approached and spoke with defendant regarding the muffler. He obtained defendant's driver's license and insurance card and returned to his squad car, while another officer spoke with two passengers in the car. Having determined that defendant had a valid license, Davis wrote a warning for the muffler, returned to defendant's car, and (according to Davis's testimony) handed those documents to defendant.

[14]   Defense counsel asked Davis:

[15]   "Q. *** So, traffic stop completed at that point, you're giving him the warning and giving him his insurance card and his license back?

[16]   A. That is correct.

[17]   Q. At some point, did someone ask [defendant] to remove himself from the vehicle?

[18]   A. Yes, I did, so I could speak with him regarding the earlier complaint.

[19]   Q. *** Was this after you had given him the insurance card and license and warning ticket?

[20]   A. Yes.

[21]   Q. And what was your motivation in asking him to remove himself from the vehicle?

[22]   A. Just so I could speak with him separate from his two passengers regarding the information that we had received."

[23]   Davis testified that Sergeant Hugh Roop was observing the stop in a separate vehicle approximately 200 feet away. When defendant got out of the car and walked toward Davis, Roop warned Davis, over the radio, that he saw "some type of shiny object similar to a knife, a large knife, in [defendant's] pocket." Davis asked defendant about the object, which, defendant admitted, was a knife. Davis removed a "large sheath knife" and set it on the hood of the car "for officer safety." Davis asked defendant if there was anything else on him he should know about, and defendant told him "about the cannabis and other parapherna-lia in his pocket." Davis then searched defendant for other potential weapons and found a bag of cannabis and a gold smoking pipe. He placed defendant under arrest. A search of defendant's car revealed a "large amount of cannabis."

[24]   Defense counsel then played a videotape, shot from Davis's squad car, showing the traffic stop. Davis narrated the events up to when he pulled defendant's car over. The videotape showed Davis approaching the driver's side of the car and another police officer, Adam Fulkerson, on the passenger side. Thereafter, defense counsel fast-forwarded the tape to when Davis returned to defendant's car, because the trial court wanted to hear that conversation. Upon watching that ...


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