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People v. $280

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

June 12, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
$280, 020 in UNITED STATES CURRENCY, Defendant-Appellee (Shayne Kolody and Stephen M. Komie, Claimants-Appellees).

Held: [*]

In an action contesting the seizure of a large amount of cash found in a warrantless, nonconsensual search of claimant’s luggage at a train station, the judgment ordering the State to return the cash was affirmed, since claimant’s possession of the cash gave him standing to contest the forfeiture, even though he did not claim the cash was his, the exclusionary rule applies to forfeiture proceedings and allowed claimant to challenge the evidence of the seized currency on the ground that the search and seizure violated his rights, probable cause for the search was not established, despite the State’s contention that claimant met the profile of a drug courier, claimant’s motion to suppress was properly granted, and without the evidence of the cash, there were no grounds for forfeiture.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 01-M1-605300; the Hon. Mark J. Ballard, Judge, presiding.

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Douglas P. Harvath, and Tobara S. Richardson, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

Komie & Associates, of Chicago (Stephen M. Komie and Brian E. King, of counsel), for appellee.

Justices Sterba and Pierce concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

NEVILLE, PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 Police officers found cellophane wrapped bundles of cash in Shayne Kolody's luggage at Union Station. The officers seized the luggage and the State filed a complaint under the Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act (Act) (725 ILCS 150/1 et seq. (West 2000)), alleging that either someone intended to use the cash to purchase narcotics or someone received the cash in exchange for narcotics. Shayne filed a claim for the cash. He moved to suppress the evidence discovered in the search of his luggage. During a trial at which Shayne and police officers testified, the trial court granted the motion to suppress, based on its findings that Shayne did not consent to the search and that the police lacked probable cause to search the luggage. The trial court found that without the evidence discovered in the search, the State lacked any basis for forfeiture of the cash. The court ordered the State to return the cash to Shayne.

¶ 2 On appeal, the State argues: (1) Shayne lacked standing to claim the cash; (2) the court erred when it suppressed the evidence; and (3) the State showed probable cause for forfeiture of the cash. We find: (1) Shayne's possession of the cash at the time of the seizure gave him standing to claim the cash; (2) Shayne's testimony adequately supports the trial court's decision to suppress the evidence; and (3) without the suppressed evidence, the State cannot prove its case for forfeiture of the cash. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 On January 23, 2001, Sergeant Daryl Johnson of the Chicago police department received a report that Shayne, a Canadian citizen, paid cash for a one-way ticket for a train trip from Chicago to Seattle, and Shayne bought the ticket less than 24 hours before the train's scheduled departure. Johnson and his partner found Shayne on the train platform. Shayne agreed to answer some questions about his trip. Johnson searched Shayne's luggage, where he found a number of cellophane-wrapped bundles of cash. Johnson took the luggage and the cash to the police station. He did not arrest Shayne.

¶ 5 On April 26, 2001, the State's Attorney for Cook County filed a complaint for forfeiture of the cash seized in Shayne's luggage. According to the complaint, Shayne agreed to permit Johnson to search his luggage, and the officers found a total of $280, 020, mostly in $20 bills. Shayne, through counsel, filed a verified claim for the cash. He said he acquired the cash on "numerous dates, " in "multiple transfers over a lifetime."

¶ 6 The State moved for summary judgment, arguing that Shayne lacked standing to claim the cash. The State relied on Shayne's answers to interrogatories, in which he said his father, John Kolody, loaned him the money, which John had received from John's sister, Mildred Morrison. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment.

ΒΆ 7 Shayne moved to suppress the evidence seized from him at the train station. The trial court heard evidence on the motion at ...


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