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People v. Bartee

August 12, 2004

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
EDDIE J. BARTEE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 02-CF-1834. Honorable Grant S. Wegner, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kapala

PUBLISHED

Defendant, Eddie J. Bartee, appeals from his conviction of unlawful possession of less than 15 grams of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2002)) after a jury trial in the circuit court of Kane County. We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts elicited at trial are as follows. On August 9, 2002, the Elgin police conducted a reverse sting in the River Landings apartment complex. A reverse sting consists of an undercover police officer posing as a drug dealer so that the police can apprehend purchasers of the drugs. Detective Frank Jones of the Bellwood police department posed as the drug dealer. Jones was positioned in the parking lot of the apartment complex, standing near parked vehicles. Jones was video recorded by another officer who was in the surveillance team.

After approximately one-half hour of standing, Jones observed defendant riding a bicycle. Defendant initially just rode past Jones. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes later, defendant engaged Jones and asked him if he had seen someone named Curtis. Jones replied that he had not. Defendant then informed Jones that he wanted some "forties." Jones testified that "forties" meant two rocks of cocaine for $40. Jones replied that he had the rock cocaine. Defendant inquired about the quality of the cocaine and Jones replied that it would "knock his socks off." Jones then removed from his breast pocket one of the baggies that had been prepared by the police for sale. Defendant informed Jones to be careful during the transaction because there were cameras around the complex. Defendant was not happy with the one baggie given to him by Jones because it was not sufficient to constitute a "forty." Jones then gave defendant another baggie. Defendant then gave Jones $40 and put the baggies in his mouth. Jones informed defendant that his name was "J" and defendant then rode off.

Jones then activated a pager which alerted the officers in the surveillance unit that a sale had occurred. The arrest team then proceeded in their vehicle after defendant. As the officers approached defendant, they noticed him chewing and attempting to swallow. Defendant was apprehended and handcuffed. The officers inspected defendant's mouth but did not find any substance. The baggies given to defendant were never recovered.

At trial, Sergeant Jeff Adam of the Elgin police department testified that the police were running sting operations because of the drug problem on the streets. Adam specifically testified:

"[ADAM]: [W]e analyzed our drug problem and realized that we had a very strong street level -

[Objection by defense counsel.]

***

THE COURT: Overruled.

[ADAM]: Continuing, and we realized that we had a significant street level problem.

The first part of the phase was called operation Resolve. We targeted street level dealers. Second part of the phase, which was Operation Resolve Part Two, was we were targeting the users of the cocaine. What we did is we attempted to get all the street level dealers off the street; however, we still saw the demand side of it, and we decided to replace it with our own undercover officers posing as street dealers, and that's where we were at on August 9, 2002.

[ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY]: Did the first phase result in any arrests?

[ADAM]: Yes, it did.

[ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY]: And with respect to the Rivers Landing area, did any arrests occur in that area?

[ADAM]: Yes. The entire part of Operation Resolve, we had approximately 80 arrests out of it. Out of those 80 arrests, approximately 30 to 35 of those arrests took place in the area of Clock Tower Plaza and Rivers Landing apartments, which are right next to each other."

Adam also testified that the drugs being sold by Jones were made from cocaine obtained in a previous arrest. The drugs were taken to the crime lab to be mixed with other substances. Adam testified that the mixing occurred so that if any of the drugs were not recovered by the police they would not be dangerous to anyone who consumed them. After the mixture was retrieved from the lab by the officers, it was used to coat small pieces of macadamia nuts so that the substance would look like rock cocaine. Sixteen individual baggies were made on August 9, 2002, each containing a piece of macadamia nut coated with between one-tenth to one-fourth of a gram of the mixture obtained from the lab. On cross-examination, Adam testified that the substance received from the lab was homogenous.

Edward McGill, a forensic scientist specializing in drug chemistry, testified that he received instructions from the Elgin police department to use cocaine obtained from a previous case to prepare a mixture that contained a low percentage of cocaine. He was also instructed to weigh the prepared sample and to do a quantitative analysis to determine the exact amount of cocaine in the new sample. McGill performed these tasks by taking some of the cocaine given to him and adding to it Inositol powder, used in baby formula, and Mannitol powder, a dietary supplement. This produced a powder that McGill testified contained 7.9% cocaine. The total sample prepared by McGill weighed 77.8 grams. He stated that out of 100 grams of the powder he prepared, 7.9 grams would be cocaine. McGill's report was admitted into evidence. It stated that the substance he prepared was 77.8 grams, 7.9% of which was cocaine. McGill was also asked, "[n]ow, if [the sample] was mixed with something, for example, a macadamia nut, and you had an opportunity to test it, would it test positive for the presence of cocaine?" After an objection by defense counsel was overruled, McGill answered, "[y]es, I believe I could."

On cross-examination, McGill was questioned as to the testing he performed. McGill testified that he first weighed the materials given to him by the Elgin police. After weighing, McGill used an infrared spectrophotometer to identify the substance given to him by the police. He testified that the instrument worked by sending a beam of infrared light onto the sample and then measuring the different absorptions occurring from the sample. According to McGill, different drugs, and different molecules in general, absorb infrared light at different wavelengths and degrees. The machine produces a chart which can be compared to charts of known standards to identify the substance. The following exchange then occurred between defense counsel and McGill:

"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Is [the analysis with the infrared spectrometer] qualitative or quantitative?

[McGILL]: In the manner that I used it, it's qualitative in that I am using it to identify what drug is present, not to identify a percent purity of the drug that's present.

[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: How do you perform a quantitative analysis?

[McGILL]: With that instrument, which is one I normally wouldn't use, as a matter of fact, I have never used in the form of a quantitative analysis, but it can be, you could measure the - the specific wavelength that cocaine or any drug that you might be doing a quantitative analysis on absorbs that, you could use that wavelength, measure the absorbance of a sample you prepare, then run a standard of known concentration in the ...


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