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. Ash

February 23, 2004

[5] THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RUSSELL S. ASH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



[6] Appeal from Circuit Court of Adams County No. 02CF51 Honorable Scott H. Walden, Judge Presiding.

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

[8]  A jury found defendant, Russell S. Ash, guilty of possession of a controlled substance (less than 15 grams) (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2002)). Ash appeals on four grounds: (1) the trial court violated Supreme Court Rule 608(a)(9) (177 Ill. 2d R. 608(a)(9)) and his right to due process by allowing voir dire to proceed off the record; (2) defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by waiving the reporting of voir dire; (3) the trial court erroneously admitted evidence of an uncharged crime, possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 2002)); and (4) the evidence was too weak and improbable to support the conviction. We affirm.

[9]  I. BACKGROUND

[10]   The State charged that on February 4, 2002, Ash knowingly and unlawfully possessed methamphetamine.

[11]   A Quincy police officer, Shannon Pilkington, testified that at 1:20 a.m. that day, he was patrolling the city in his- 1 -squad car when he noticed a state trooper had pulled someone over. He stopped and got out to help. The trooper arrested the driver for driving under the influence and asked the passenger, a woman in a miniskirt, to step outside so he could search the vehicle. It was icy out and close to zero, and Pilkington told her she could wait in his squad car, if she liked, where it was warm. She accepted. "I did a quick pat[-]down of her person," Pilkington testified, "I didn't actually search her pockets." She climbed into the backseat. When the trooper said it was all right for the woman to leave, Pilkington let her out of the squad car and "searched the [backseat] area *** and underneath both the driver's and passenger seats," shining his flashlight, "to see if that female" (as he called her) had "left any contraband." He saw nothing.

[12]   A little over an hour later, Pilkington helped to arrest a man, wanted on a warrant, who was standing in the bay of an automatic car wash, beside a Chevrolet Blazer. Ash, a passenger in the Blazer, got out and gave Pilkington permission to search his person. (Because the search and seizure of Ash's person are not at issue in this appeal, we express no opinion thereupon.) He searched the front and back pockets of Ash's pants as well as his coat pockets. In the right jeans pocket, he found "a nylon pouch that contained a glass vial and a glass tube. It also contained a *** small metal tin. *** It appeared that the glass tube was a snort tube *** [f]or ingesting methamphetamine or cocaine." Users of methamphetamine commonly placed the drug "on the foil" and "plac[ed] the lighter underneath *** it[,] *** heating it up and then ingesting the fumes from the foil through a tube." Pilkington arrested Ash for possession of drug paraphernalia, handcuffed his hands behind his back--securely, so he could not get his hands loose--and put him in the backseat of the squad car, where he sat for 10 to 15 minutes. No one else had been in the backseat since the woman in the miniskirt left.

[13]   Pilkington testified he then drove Ash to police headquarters, three blocks away, for booking. After parking the squad car in the police parking garage and walking around to the backdoor of the squad car to get Ash out, Pilkington saw, through the window, a white object on the back passenger floorboard. He pretended not to see it. "I did not know if he had anything else on him[,] and I didn't want any problems at this time," he testified. "I didn't want the evidence to be destroyed by [his] stepping on it or pushing it far underneath the seat." He took Ash out of the squad car, locked the car, and escorted him to an interview room.

[14]   In the well-lit police headquarters, Pilkington realized, for the first time, that Ash was wearing not one but two jackets, one on top of the other. He had searched the outer jacket but not the inner one. He then searched the inner jacket and in the right front pocket found a stack of coffee filters. "Coffee filters," he testified, "are commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The product is poured through the filters to filter out the ingredients that you don't want." He then returned to the squad car and picked up the white object from the floorboard. "It was *** a small plastic bag that contained another plastic bag that had a white powdery substance [resembling] methamphetamine. The outer [B]agg[ie] looked [as if] it had been ripped open."

[15]   The powder in the plastic bags field-tested positive for methamphetamine, and the crime laboratory confirmed, by more thorough testing, that it was indeed methamphetamine, 2.5 grams of it. The laboratory saw no residue, however, on any of the items that Pilkington had found in Ash's pants pocket and therefore did not test those items. Testing of the coffee filters proved inconclusive. On the plastic bags, the laboratory found no fingerprints "suitable for comparison."

[16]   The jury found Ash guilty of possessing methamphetamine, a Class 4 felony, for which the trial court sentenced him to three years' imprisonment. This appeal followed.

[17]   II. ANALYSIS

[18]   A. Waiving the Reporting of Voir Dire

[19]   Before trial, the trial court asked both the prosecutor and defense counsel if they wanted voir dire to be reported. Both declined. Ash argues that by allowing voir dire to proceed without a court reporter, the trial court violated Rule 608(a)(9) and his right to the due process of law. He also argues his defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance by waiving the reporting of voir dire. He cites Entsminger v. Iowa, 386 U.S. 748, 18 L. Ed. 2d 501, 87 S. Ct. 1402 (1967), among other authorities.

[20]   Unlike the Iowa statute in Entsminger, 386 U.S. at 749-50, 18 L. Ed. 2d at 503, 87 S. Ct. at 1402-03, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 608(a) requires that the record on appeal be exhaustively inclusive. See 177 Ill. 2d R. 608(a) (listing the numerous items that "[t]he record on appeal must contain"). Iowa law required the compilation of merely a skeletal record on appeal, unless the defense counsel affirmatively requested a fuller record. Entsminger, 386 U.S. at 749-50, 18 L. Ed. 2d at 503, ...


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.