Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Spencer

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

September 13, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KENNETH SPENCER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 12-CR-9685; the Hon. Colleen Ann Hyland, Judge, presiding.

         Affirmed.

          Jodi L. Garvey and Patrick W. Blegen, both of Blegen & Garvey, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Christine Cook, and Gina DiVito, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Neville and Simon concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HYMAN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In April 2012, Kenneth Spencer and his codefendant, Jorge Morales, traveled to Arizona with another man, Jacob Force, to purchase cocaine and bring it back to Illinois. On the return trip, Force, who was carrying the cocaine, was driving in a separate car from Spencer and Morales when both cars were stopped by police and searched. Spencer was convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment.

         ¶ 2 We find that there was sufficient evidence to support Spencer's conviction because Spencer and Morales constructively possessed the drugs, though the drugs were in a different car, and Spencer was accountable for Morales's and Force's actions. The trial court did not err in admitting coconspirator statements through Force's testimony, and any error in admitting a piece of metal seized from one of the cars was harmless. Spencer's sentence was not excessive in light of his extensive criminal history, particularly compared to his codefendants. Finally, we decline to rule on Spencer's ineffective assistance of counsel claim, as that claim would be better raised in a postconviction petition.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 Spencer was charged with possession of a controlled substance (900 grams or more of cocaine) with the intent to deliver. His two codefendants, Jacob Force and Jorge Morales, were also charged. Under a plea deal with the State, Force testified against Spencer and Morales at their joint trial.

         ¶ 5 Force testified that in March 2012, he met Morales in Chicago through Force's associate, Jose Retteguin, for whom Force had dealt drugs. During that conversation, Retteguin asked if Force would travel to California to pick up some cocaine and bring it to Chicago. Force agreed; the destination was later changed to Arizona. On April 16, 2012, Retteguin brought Force to Chicago from Peoria, and they met with Morales and another man nicknamed "Lilo." Lilo gave Force a cell phone and told him to program it with the number of Lilo, Retteguin, and Morales but not to use the phone to speak to anyone else. Lilo gave Force money to rent a room for the night.

         ¶ 6 The next day Morales took Force to meet Spencer. Morales told Force that Spencer would be traveling with them, and they would be using Spencer's car, an Audi A4. Morales said that Force would drive the Audi. Morales and Force then went to Midway airport, where Morales rented from Hertz a maroon Mazda for the trip.

         ¶ 7 On April 18, Force and Morales again met with Spencer. Spencer gave Force the Audi to drive. The Audi had an aftermarket hidden compartment (referred to as a "trap") behind the driver's seat. They met Lilo at a parking lot; Spencer had money for the drugs but could not fit the money into the trap. Spencer, Force, and Morales went to a restaurant while Lilo repackaged the money so it would fit in the trap.

         ¶ 8 After the money was placed in the trap, Spencer, Force, and Morales left for Tucson. Force drove Spencer's Audi, while Spencer and Morales drove in the Mazda behind him. When they reached New Mexico, Force felt tired because he had been driving for over 24 hours; he called Morales on the cell phone he had been given, and the three men stopped at a hotel. Morales gave Force cash for the hotel, but the hotel required a credit card, so Spencer used his credit card to pay for hotel rooms. At trial, Force identified a surveillance video from the hotel, showing himself, Morales, and Spencer in the lobby.

         ¶ 9 The next morning, the three continued on their way. Generally, the cars traveled close together and would only be out of each other's sight briefly. They arrived in Tucson ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.