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People v. Reed

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

December 31, 2013

BELTON REED, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 10 CR 17863, The Honorable Maura Slattery Boyle, Judge Presiding.

Neville and Mason, Justices concurred in the judgment.



¶ 1 Defendant Belton Reed was convicted of possession of a controlled substance, after a bench trial. The trial court sentenced Reed to a five-year extended prison term. On appeal, Reed contends the trial court impermissibly restricted Reed's sixth amendment right to confront the evidence against him by denying disclosure of the surveillance location of the only officer who saw Reed possess the narcotics. We affirm. Our careful review of the record does not establish that the trial court abused its discretion in precluding disclosure of the officer's surveillance location.

¶ 2 Background

¶ 3 Reed filed a pretrial motion for disclosure of Chicago police officer Daniel Honda's surveillance location, alleging that the location was material to the issue of his guilt and that the case against him turned almost entirely on the officer's testimony. The assistant State's Attorney informed the court that the officer was in court, that he provided distances, and that he did not wish to disclose the exact location where he had been. Defense counsel indicated that he expected greater specificity in terms of distance and direction. The trial court then conducted an in camera interview of the surveillance officer, which was not transcribed, and denied the motion to disclose surveillance based on the "ongoing investigation."

¶ 4 The State's trial evidence established that at around 11 a.m. on September 6, 2010, Officer Honda, from his vantage point in the area of Douglas Park, in the vicinity of Roosevelt Road and Whipple Street, observed Reed engage in three transactions. Officer Honda's surveillance location was slightly elevated and about 100 feet from Reed. In the morning daylight, Officer Honda had an unobstructed view of Reed and watched as Reed engaged in three separate transactions at about 3034 West Roosevelt Road. One of the individuals who engaged in the transactions was a white male, and two were black males.

¶ 5 During each transaction, an individual approached Reed on foot and gave an unknown amount of cash to him. Reed placed the cash in the right pocket of his shorts. Officer Honda could not see the denominations of the cash. After Reed placed the cash in his clothing, he directed the individual to cross Roosevelt Road by pointing with his finger. The individual then relocated to the sidewalk on the other side of the street at about 3033. Officer Honda's view of the individuals was unobstructed. Reed walked over to a grassy area near the sidewalk at the address of 1147 South Whipple Street, walked to the curb, lifted the weeds that covered the curb, and retrieved a clear plastic bag from underneath the weeds. When Reed went to the grassy area, he remained within Officer Honda's sight. Nothing obstructed Officer Honda's view of Reed when Reed lifted the patch of weeds. Reed removed an item from the clear plastic bag, placed the bag back underneath the weeds, relocated across the street, and gave the item to the individual who was waiting. The individual then left the area. The three transactions took a total of about 20 to 25 minutes. While Officer Honda was on surveillance, he did not see anyone else go to the grassy area at 1147 South Whipple Street.

¶ 6 After the third transaction, Reed walked back and forth from the front of a store at around 3034 West Roosevelt Road to the Whipple Street side of the store. Officer Honda radioed his partner, Officer Acevedo, and provided a full description of his observations and of Reed. Enforcement was asked to detain Reed. Officer Honda left his surveillance point and relocated to where Officer Acevedo and Reed were. The officers had a conversation and Officer Honda confirmed Reed's identity as the offender. Officer Honda believed that the three transactions were narcotics transactions. Officer Honda directed Officer Acevedo to the curb at 1147 South Whipple Street, and Officer Acevedo recovered a clear plastic bag containing five small Ziploc bags, each of which contained two tinfoil packets for a total of 10 tinfoil packets.

¶ 7 During cross-examination, Officer Honda testified that his distance from Reed was about 100 feet when Reed relocated to 1147 South Whipple Street. At a preliminary hearing on September 30, 2010, Officer Honda testified that he was about 50 to 100 feet from Reed when defendant was at the area of the weeds. There was no traffic control device at Roosevelt and Whipple and there were no buildings around 3033 West Roosevelt. There was just a park with a lot of trees. Other than that, it was an open area. The drugs were nowhere near the tree shown in a photograph of the area of 1147 South Whipple, which was not included in the record on appeal. Only Officers Honda and Acevedo were out there, but, in his reports, Officer Honda referred to multiple enforcement officers. The parties stipulated that during a preliminary hearing on September 30, 2010, Officer Honda testified that he provided a full description to enforcement officers, who arrived on the scene shortly after and detained Reed. Officer Honda did not recall from which direction any of the unknown individuals had come, nor did he recall in which direction any of them had left. Officer Acevedo lifted the weeds and retrieved the bags. At the preliminary hearing, Officer Honda testified that he lifted the weeds. Officer Honda could not identify whatever Reed gave to the unknown individuals, the amount of cash tendered between the individuals and Reed, or any further description of the unknown black males or any information about the unknown white male, beyond their race and gender. The bag that Officer Honda observed was not visible except when Reed lifted the patch of weeds. No drugs were found on Reed's person. Officer Honda observed Officer Acevedo approach Reed, and Reed did not run or attempt to flee. Reed was on the scene when Officer Honda arrived. After Officer Acevedo recovered the plastic bags from underneath the weeds at 1147 South Whipple Street, Officer Honda saw that the bags were clear plastic Ziploc bags, each one containing two tinfoil packets. He believed that there was "some blue Superman imprint, " which he did not mention in his reports.

¶ 8 During redirect examination, Officer Honda testified that he did hear someone near Reed yelling out "blows" or "rocks" at the location before the transactions, but he observed only Reed engaging in hand to hand transactions there. There were a lot of trees in Douglas Park, but trees did not obstruct Officer Honda's view of Reed and the unknown individuals.

¶ 9 Chicago police officer Jason Acevedo testified that he was the enforcement officer and maintained radio communications with Officer Honda during the surveillance. Officer Honda indicated that Officer Acevedo should detain someone, and Officer Honda directed him to the area of 3034 West Roosevelt, where there were overgrown weeds at the curb. From there, Officer Acevedo recovered one clear plastic bag containing five Ziploc bags, each of which contained two tinfoil packets of a white powdered substance suspected to be heroin. Officer Acevedo identified Reed in court as the individual who was detained. Officer Acevedo participated in his detention. Officer Acevedo gave an inventory bag containing the narcotics to Officer Wrigley, the inventory officer.

¶ 10 Chicago police officer John Wrigley testified that he inventoried the items of suspected narcotics that Officer Acevedo had recovered, and the $71 that Officer Beyna had recovered from Reed's person.

ΒΆ 11 The parties stipulated that Kimberly Blood, an Illinois State Police forensic chemist, would testify that she tested the substance in 6 of the 10 plastic bags, that those 6 bags proved positive for 1.1 grams of heroin, and that if she had tested the ...

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