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People v. Haycraft

June 04, 2004


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. No. 01-CF-160. Honorable John P. Coady, Judge, presiding.

Justices: Honorable Terrence J. Hopkins, J., Honorable Clyde L. Kuehn, J., Honorable James K. Donovan, J. Concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hopkins


Following a stipulated bench trial, the defendant, Scott A. Haycraft, was convicted of criminal drug conspiracy and unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance. The trial court sentenced the defendant to concurrent prison terms of 19 years for each conviction.

On appeal, the defendant argues that the search of his home was unconstitutional, that he was denied due process during his stipulated bench trial, that the State failed to prove he possessed more than 900 grams of methamphetamine, that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel, that his conviction for criminal drug conspiracy must be reversed, and that he was entitled to credit toward fines for the time he spent in custody prior to sentencing.

We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand.


On August 24, 2001, the defendant was charged by an indictment with criminal drug conspiracy (720 ILCS 570/405.1 (West 2000)), unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(6.5)(D) (West 2000)), unlawful possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(6.5)(D) (West 2000)), and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(a)(6.5)(D) (West 2000)).

On April 8, 2002, the defendant filed his motion to suppress and alleged that members of the drug task force had unlawfully entered his home without a warrant and without probable cause. The defendant requested that, as a result of the illegal search and seizure, the contraband illegally seized and his resulting incriminating statement be suppressed.

On May 2, 2002, at the hearing on the motion to suppress, Shannon Champion, senior parole agent for the Illinois Department of Corrections, testified that she was assigned to supervise the defendant's parole. In the defendant's parole agreement, which the defendant signed on November 2, 2000, the defendant agreed to permit an agent of the Department of Corrections to visit him at his home or "elsewhere as [the agent] directs."

Agent Champion testified that the defendant tested positive for amphetamines on December 8, 2000; on May 12, 2001; and on June 2, 2001. At 11 p.m. on July 13, 2001, Agent Champion went to the defendant's home. Before Agent Champion's visit to the defendant's home that evening, other parolees whom Agent Champion supervised had told her that the defendant had been cooking methamphetamine. Nothing indicated, however, that the defendant would be cooking methamphetamine in his home at the time of her visit.

Officer Rick Robbins and the drug task force, along with Jim Ferry and Ron Howard, Agent Champion's fellow parole agents, waited a block away while Agent Champion proceeded to the home. Agent Champion requested their assistance because she had little experience with methamphetamine but knew that manufacturing methamphetamine could be very dangerous.

Agent Champion testified that upon arriving at the defendant's home, she smelled an "unbelievable" chemical smell that signaled to her that methamphetamine was cooking. Agent Champion stopped the defendant's son from running to the door of the home, the agent stating that the chemical smell was too strong. Agent Champion hit her radio to signal the awaiting officers to come to the home. The defendant met Agent Champion at the door. Agent Champion could see a gentleman in the kitchen.

Agent Champion testified that she "knew that [the defendant] was cooking" and asked the defendant who else was in the house. Upon stepping into the house, Agent Champion entered the kitchen and observed a semiclear liquid cooking in pans on the stove, smelled the odor emanating from the pans, and witnessed fans blowing steam out the window. The other officers arrived at the defendant's home, and Agent Champion and a deputy walked through the house to a bedroom and told the defendant's pregnant wife to exit the home to avoid danger. Agent Champion arrested the defendant for his parole violation.

Montgomery County Deputy Rick Furlong, from the drug task force, testified that he had received informal training in drug-related investigations. On July 13, 2001, Deputy Furlong stayed a block and a half down the street from the defendant's home while Agent Champion proceeded to the home. After Agent Champion signaled that she needed assistance, he proceeded to the defendant's home.

Deputy Furlong testified that methamphetamine laboratories involve anhydrous ammonia; lithium; pseudoephedrine; Coleman fuel, ether, starting fluid, glass jars, hydrogen generators, or gas generators; and jars with tubes coming out of them. Deputy Furlong explained that methamphetamine laboratories pose a significant hazard to persons nearby and that his first concern is for the safety of those present.

Deputy Furlong testified that prior to searching the defendant's home, Deputy Furlong had observed lighter fluid and Coleman fuel. Upon stepping into the defendant's home, Deputy Furlong entered an enclosed porch adjacent to the kitchen. Deputy Furlong smelled the chemical odor, and upon entering the kitchen, he observed pots on the stove with a clear liquid that was steaming and a fan blowing steam out the window. Deputy Furlong notified Agent Champion that it was a methamphetamine laboratory and that it was necessary to exit the premises for safety reasons. Deputy Furlong accompanied Agent Champion through the home for the safety of persons in the home. When Deputy Furlong arrived at the bedroom, he observed a pan in the bedroom and expressed urgency to exit the home for safety reasons.

Heather Haycraft, the defendant's wife, testified that on July 13, 2001, she was pregnant, that Agent Champion woke her in the bedroom of the defendant's home, and that upon leaving the home, she did not smell a chemical odor. Heather did not recall empty bottles of lighter fluid or a hot plate and a fan in the bedroom.

Following the hearing, the court denied the motion to suppress.

On May 13, 2002, the defendant waived his right to a jury trial, signing a waiver-of-jury-trial form. On May 23, 2002, the court proceeded with a stipulated bench trial and stated, "[I]t is likely that the court will find the defendant guilty." The court also stated:

"So on the one hand I am telling the [S]tate it's not 100 percent guaranteed, but yet almost to the defendant I am saying it's 100 percent guaranteed that he will be found guilty. So I will admonish [the defendant].

*** Now, we are going to go ahead *** with the stipulated bench trial. It means it is very probable that you will be found guilty of it and have sentencing hearing set in about 6 weeks and then you will be given a prison sentence and then you are going to appeal the court's rulings.

*** [I]f we have the stipulated bench trial[,] it's almost certain you will be found guilty. *** And at the same time I turn to the [S]tate and say just because it's a stipulated bench trial there is [sic] no breaks. You really have to prove it."

Throughout the proceeding, the trial court referenced that the proceeding was a stipulated bench trial. The court explained to the defendant that he was waiving "the traditional right to a trial, a trial where the [S]tate is required to present evidence in the courtroom," but the court also stated, "The [S]tate has the burden *** even at the stipulated bench trial [to prove the defendant] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." The court questioned whether the defendant had been coerced, forced, or made ...

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