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. Theus

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

September 22, 2016

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BYRON D. THEUS, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 14CF153 Honorable Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          TURNER, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In February 2014, the State charged defendant, Byron D. Theus, with three drug- related offenses. The trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress after several hearings.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, the State argues the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion to suppress. We reverse and remand.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 In February 2014, the State charged defendant by information with three drug- related offenses following a traffic stop in March 2011. In count I, the State alleged defendant committed the offense of controlled-substance trafficking with a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401.1(a) (West 2010); see also 720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(C), 408(a) (West 2010)) in that he knowingly brought 400 grams or more, but less than 900 grams, of cocaine into the state with the intent to manufacture or deliver it. In count II, the State alleged defendant committed the offense of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver with a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(2)(C), 408(a) (West 2010)) in that he knowingly and unlawfully possessed with the intent to deliver 400 grams or more, but less than 900 grams, of a substance containing cocaine, a controlled substance. In count III, the State alleged defendant committed the offense of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/402(a)(2)(C), 408(a) (West 2010)) in that he knowingly and unlawfully had in his possession 400 grams or more, but less than 900 grams, of a substance containing cocaine, a controlled substance.

         ¶ 5 In April 2014, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence. Therein, defendant alleged he was a passenger in a car driven by Shawn Barbee, who was pulled over for improper lane usage. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of cocaine in the trunk of the vehicle, and both defendant and Barbee were arrested. Defendant alleged the officer who pulled over the vehicle could not have reliably observed a traffic violation and thus no probable cause to stop and/or search the vehicle existed.

         ¶ 6 In May 2015, the trial court conducted a hearing on the motion to suppress. Decatur police detective Chad Larner testified he was on duty on March 28, 2011, when he was traveling in a northeasterly direction on Illinois Route 48 in Macon County. He observed a gold-colored Chevrolet Malibu traveling on the road where "it splits into two lanes." He then saw the vehicle "make an abrupt lane change" without activating its turn signal. Larner radioed Macon County sheriff's deputy Dale Pope about the failure-to-signal violation.

         ¶ 7 Deputy Pope testified he did not observe the traffic violation but he did stop the vehicle. He told the occupants he pulled over the vehicle due to a lane violation.

         ¶ 8 Shawn Barbee testified he was traveling with defendant on March 28, 2011. He stated he drove on Route 48 and "just continued straight into the lane that [he] was in." Following closing arguments, the trial court took the matter under advisement.

         ¶ 9 In its written order, the trial court found the stop was predicated on the alleged violation of section 11-804 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-804 (West 2010)). After reviewing a video exhibit and a photo exhibit of the roadway in question, the court found the road is "poorly marked."

"There is virtually no warning-in the form of a sign adjacent to the roadway or markings on the pavement itself-indicating that roadway turns from one to two northbound lanes. It appears that any abrupt movement of a vehicle would most likely be attributable to the fact that the lane markings abruptly change without warning. *** The law recognizes that deviations in the movement of a vehicle may be attributable to road conditions. *** The vehicle was not turned. There was no movement made from one marked lane to another. There is no evidence suggesting that movement of the vehicle was made without reasonable safety. Under these unique circumstances the court finds that there was no duty to signal and therefore no reasonable grounds to believe that [section] 11-804 had been violated."

         The court granted the motion to suppress.

         ¶ 10 In June 2015, the State filed a motion to reconsider and to present additional evidence. The State argued Detective Larner's objectively reasonable belief, although perhaps a mistake of fact, that there was a requirement to signal when the lane branched from one to two lanes provided reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe a traffic violation had occurred when Barbee failed to signal. The State further alleged it was ...


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.