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People v. Gonzalez-Carrera

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

September 2, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JESUS GONZALEZ-CARRERA, Defendant-Appellee

Page 130

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 13-CF-670. Honorable George J. Bakalis, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

The grant of defendant's motion to suppress the controlled substances found in his vehicle following a stop for a taillight violation was affirmed and the denial of the State's motion to reopen the proofs was upheld, since the record showed that although defendant's left taillight had a two-inch hole that emitted white light when the taillights were illuminated, that condition did not constitute a traffic violation under section 12-201(b) of the Vehicle Code during the daylight hour when defendant was stopped, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the State's motion to reopen the proofs, especially when it was attempting to establish an entirely new basis for the traffic stop.

Robert B. Berlin, State's Attorney, of Wheaton (Lisa A. Hoffman and Edward R. Psenicka, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

James D. Tunick, of Chicago, for appellee.

JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Hudson concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

SCHOSTOK, JUSTICE.

Page 131

[¶1] The State appeals the judgment of the circuit court of Du Page County granting defendant Jesus Gonzalez-Carrera's motion to suppress evidence found in his vehicle pursuant to a traffic stop and denying the State's motion to reopen the proofs. Because the State failed to establish a valid basis for the traffic stop and because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reopen the proofs, we affirm.

[¶2] I. BACKGROUND

[¶3] Defendant was indicted on one count of unlawful possession with intent to deliver 900 grams or more of a controlled substance (cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(D) (West 2012)) and one count of possession with intent to deliver 400 grams or more but less than 900 grams of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) (720 ILCS 646/55(a)(1), (a)(2)(E) (West 2012)). He was also charged by traffic citation with violating section 12-201(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Vehicle Code) by " driving with one red tail light" (625 ILCS 5/12-201(b) (West 2012)).

[¶4] Defendant moved to suppress evidence found in his vehicle, contending that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle for a traffic violation. On July 26, 2013, the trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing. At the ...


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