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The People of the State of Illinois v. Anthony Young

December 15, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
ANTHONY YOUNG, APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke

JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Section 407(b)(2) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (the Act) (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(2) (West 2008)) provides that the offense of delivery of a controlled substance is a Class 1 felony when committed within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any "school." The single issue before us in this appeal is whether the term "school" contained in this section includes preschools. The appellate court held that it did not and reduced defendant's conviction to simple delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2008)), a Class 2 felony. No. 1-08-2690 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).

¶ 2 For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 Defendant Anthony Young was charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2008)) and one count of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(2) (West 2008)). Prior to trial, in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of the location of the preschool, arguing that a preschool is not a "school" within the meaning of section 407(b)(2) of the Act. The trial court denied the motion.

¶ 5 At defendant's jury trial, the State presented evidence which established that defendant was arrested on June 28, 2007, after an undercover officer drove to the location where defendant was standing on the sidewalk at 4958 West Augusta Boulevard in Chicago, and made a controlled purchase of a substance containing heroin from defendant. According to testimony adduced at trial, the incident occurred approximately 443 feet from the "High Mountain Church and Preschool." No other testimony was offered to describe the "High Mountain Church and Preschool" or its attendees.

¶ 6 The jury found defendant guilty of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, but the appellate court reduced the conviction to delivery of a controlled substance, finding that a preschool is not a "school" within the meaning of section 407(b)(2) of the Act.

¶ 7 We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal.

¶ 8 ANALYSIS

¶ 9 Section 407(b)(2) of the Controlled Substances Act provides, in pertinent part:

"(b) Any person who violates:

(1) subsection (d) of Section 401 [720 ILCS 570/401] in any school *** or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school *** is guilty of a Class 1 felony, the fine for which shall not ...


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