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The People of the State of Illinois v. Detertoring Sanders

February 14, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DETERTORING SANDERS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 08 CR 19852 Honorable John A. Wasilewski, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Epstein

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

Presiding Justice Lavin and Justice Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 After a bench trial, defendant Detertoring Sanders was convicted of the offense of armed habitual criminal and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Defendant appeals contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence because there were no specific and articulable facts to justify a stop pursuant to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

¶ 2 At the hearing on defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, Officer John Dolan testified that he was on patrol in the vicinity of Normal Avenue and 79th Street in Chicago when he was flagged down by a woman. He described this woman, whom he had not met before, as black, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and "heavy set." She was wearing black clothes. During their approximately 15-second conversation, the woman told Dolan that she had seen a short black man, aged 30 to 35 years old, wearing a red coat and blue pants put a machine gun into the backseat of a Chrysler with the license place A739050. She also indicated that the Chrysler was gold or brown and traveling north on Halsted Street. After speaking to this person, Dolan relocated to 7401 South Halsted Street, approximately a mile away.

¶ 3 Two to three minutes later, Dolan saw a Chrysler, driven by defendant, stopped at a light at the intersection of 74th and Halsted. Dolan and fellow officers then placed their vehicles in the front and back of the Chrysler, and defendant was asked to exit the car. As defendant was being taken out of the car, Officer Wagner yelled "gun." Officer Triantafillo*fn1 then recovered a machine gun from the car.

¶ 4 At the time that the car was pulled over, Dolan did not have either an arrest warrant for defendant or a search warrant for the Chrysler. He did not see defendant violate any traffic laws.

¶ 5 Officer Joseph Wagner testified that he and his partner assisted in the stop of the Chrysler based upon information provided over the radio by Dolan. As he approached the Chrysler, he saw defendant sitting inside. He also saw a large black "AR150-type" machine gun in the backseat of the car. He yelled "gun" and ordered defendant out of the car.

¶ 6 In denying the motion, the trial court stated that the citizen who spoke to Dolan had firsthand knowledge of the gun and had provided a specific description of defendant to the officers.

¶ 7 The matter then proceeded to a bench trial. Officer Wagner testified consistently with his testimony at the suppression hearing. He further testified that the two squad cars were positioned around the Chrysler in order to avoid a car chase. When Wagner exited the squad car, he drew his weapon and announced his office as he approached the Chrysler. Wagner saw defendant raise his hands. He also saw a large machine gun located two to three feet away from defendant on the rear bench seat of the car. The gun had a scope, an infrared laser, and a magazine containing 10 rounds. A bag recovered from the car contained two additional magazines.

¶ 8 Defendant was taken into custody and transported to a police station. During a subsequent conversation defendant told Wagner that Clifton "Flex" Hall had paid him $15 to drive the Chrysler from one location to another. Wagner later learned that the Chrysler was registered to Hall.

¶ 9 Ultimately, the trial court found defendant guilty of the offense of armed habitual criminal and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

ΒΆ 10 Before reaching the merits of defendant's appeal, this court must address the State's argument that defendant forfeited this issue by failing to include it in a posttrial motion. See People v. Enoch, 122 Ill. 2d 176, 186 (1988). Defendant concedes that he failed to raise this issue in his posttrial motion and asks this court to review the issue pursuant to the plain error doctrine. In the alternative, defendant contends that he ...


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