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People v. Pulling

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

June 17, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FRANK E. PULLING, Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois, Circuit No. 13-CF-310. Honorable Richard A. Zimmer, Judge, Presiding.

Matthew P. Schutte, State's Attorney, of Cambridge (Judith Z. Kelly, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

Larry S. Vandersnick, of Farber Law Office, of Geneseo, and Matthew Paulson, of Rock Island, for appellee.

PRESIDING JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

McDADE, J.

Page 1199

[¶1] The State appeals the trial court's order that granted defendant Frank E. Pulling's motion to suppress evidence. On appeal, the State argues that the trial court erred in finding that the traffic stop was unreasonably prolonged prior to the canine alert, and therefore, the motion to suppress should not have been granted. We affirm.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] Defendant was charged by information with unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(B) (West 2012)), and unlawful possession of a controlled substance ( id. ) Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence.

[¶4] At the hearing on defendant's motion, Illinois State Trooper Andrew Fratzke testified that on November 2, 2013, he stopped a 2013 Hyundai for speeding. Phillip Macon was driving the car and defendant was riding in the front passenger seat.

[¶5] During Fratzke's testimony, Macon's attorney introduced the dash camera video recording of the traffic stop. Approximately one minute into the recording, Fratzke initiated the traffic stop and approached the Hyundai. Fratzke asked for the two occupants' identification cards, and one of the occupants stated that they were driving to Iowa. Macon told Fratzke that his driver's license was suspended due to unpaid child support. Thereafter, Fratzke returned to his patrol car and ran various background and records checks. Approximately four minutes into the stop, Fratzke had all of the information needed to prepare the citations. Fratzke stated that it generally took him between three and five minutes to write a speeding ticket, but this stop would be longer because he also prepared a citation for driving on a suspended driver's license.

Page 1200

[¶6] After six minutes, Fratzke reapproached the Hyundai and asked Macon to accompany him to the patrol car to complete some paperwork. At the time, Fratzke did not notice anything unusual about Macon, defendant, or the contents of the Hyundai. Inside the patrol car, Fratzke asked Macon several questions. Macon explained that defendant was his " godbrother," and they were driving to Sioux City, Iowa, because his cousin, Tony Brown, had been killed.

[¶7] Approximately eight minutes into the stop, Fratzke exited the patrol car and approached defendant, who was still sitting in the Hyundai. Defendant stated that he was not driving because he was ill. Defendant also said that he and Macon were going to his aunt's funeral in Sioux City. Fratzke testified that Macon and defendant's inconsistent stories raised his suspicion of criminal activity, and Fratzke returned to his patrol car and confronted Macon about the discrepancies. Macon maintained that he and defendant were going to a funeral for his cousin, Brown. In an effort to verify Macon's story, Fratzke used Google to search the internet for information on Brown's death. Fratzke stated that he had stopped preparing the traffic citations while he conducted the Google search. Fratzke was unable to locate information on Brown's death, and Macon stated that he did not understand why news of Brown's death was not in the newspapers. Fratzke told Macon ...


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