Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 02-CF-69. Honorable Grant S. Wegner, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice O'malley
Defendant, Tavares O. Mitchell, appeals his conviction of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570/401(a) (West 2002)). Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress drug evidence found pursuant to a strip search; (2) his stipulated bench trial was tantamount to a guilty plea, and the trial court failed to properly admonish him pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 402 (177 Ill. 2d R. 402); (3) the evidence was insufficient to show his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; and (4) the mittimus must be amended to reflect the correct amount of credit for time served. We reverse and remand.
On January 10, 2002, Officer Rodriguez of the Kane County sheriff's office pulled over a driver he suspected of driving with a suspended license. As he walked to the car, he noted that neither the driver nor her passenger (defendant) was wearing a seat belt. He asked defendant to identify himself so that he could issue a seat belt citation, and defendant gave the officer a false name. Officer Wolf, who had attempted to locate defendant the previous night in order to serve two arrest warrants on him, joined Rodriguez on the scene shortly thereafter. Wolf suspected that defendant had given a false name and that he was actually Tavares Mitchell. After some questioning, defendant admitted his true identity.
The officers arrested defendant pursuant to two outstanding arrest warrants, one a felony warrant and one a misdemeanor warrant. Defendant was transported to the Kane County jail, where he submitted to a strip search that revealed he was carrying a bag with 23.2 grams of a "white rock-like substance" that appeared to the officers to be cocaine. The officers later learned that the felony arrest warrant had been recalled and only the misdemeanor warrant remained valid at the time defendant was taken into custody.
The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress the drug evidence discovered pursuant to the strip search, and the case went to trial. Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and entered into a stipulated bench trial. The written stipulation stated that defendant "waive[d] all claims or issues at bench trial based on 1) chain of custody of cocaine seized; 2) [t]he introduction or failure to introduce [t]he actual cocaine seized from [defendant]; 3) sufficiency of evidence at trial for court's finding defendant guilty at trial if such finding is entered." The trial court did not give complete admonitions under Rule 402. Following the stipulations, the trial court found defendant guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and it sentenced him to six years in prison. Defendant timely appeals.
Defendant's first contention on appeal is that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence discovered pursuant to the strip search. We disagree.
A trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress presents mixed questions of both law and fact. People v. Pitman, 211 Ill. 2d 502, 512 (2004). Thus, our standard of review is twofold. First, we will uphold the trial court's findings of historical fact, unless such findings are against the manifest weight of the evidence. Pitman, 211 Ill. 2d at 512. However, we review de novo the ultimate legal question of whether the evidence should be suppressed. Pitman, 211 Ill. 2d at 512.
In the current case, the trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress based on the language of section 103--1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code) (725 ILCS 5/103--1 (West 2002)). The Code states:
"No person arrested for a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense, except in cases involving weapons or a controlled substance, shall be strip searched unless there is reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon or controlled substance." 725 ILCS 5/103--1(c) (West 2002).
Defendant emphasizes on appeal that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to search him upon taking him to the jail. However, the Code provides an exception to the above-quoted rule:
"[Section 103--1(c)] shall not apply when the person is taken into custody by or remanded to the sheriff or correctional institution pursuant to a court order." 725 ILCS 5/103--1(j) (West 2002).
The trial court found that the plain language of the above exception made "a distinction between in-custody arrest based on a new offense and in-custody based on failure to appear, which occurred in this case." Thus, the trial court ruled that the plain language of the statutory exception applied to defendant and that the strip search was not statutorily prohibited.
We agree with the trial court's reading of the Code. The officers in this case took defendant into custody pursuant to a misdemeanor arrest warrant, which meets the "court order" requirement of section 103--1(j). See People v. Johnson, 334 Ill. App. 3d 666, 672-73 (2002) (section 103--1(j) exception applied where defendant was taken into custody pursuant to a civil arrest warrant). Therefore, the ...