from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 14MR1046 Honorable
Thomas E. Griffith, Jr., Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE POPE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Knecht and Justice Turner
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 The State appeals the trial court's judgment the
proceeds of a winning lottery ticket were not forfeitable
under the Illinois Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act
(Forfeiture Act) (725 ILCS 150/1 to 14 (West 2014)). We
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 On November 18, 2014, Macon County police officers executed
a search warrant at the residence of Terrance Norwood.
Claimant, Tykisha Lofton, lived with Norwood. Police
recovered cannabis, cocaine, a digital scale, packaging
material, a loaded SKS assault rifle, ammunition, and
approximately $200 cash.
4 During an interview with police, Norwood admitted he sold
drugs. Norwood stated he was unemployed and had no source of
income other than drug sales. Norwood explained he was going
to stop selling drugs because he had recently purchased a
scratch-off lottery ticket at the Price Rite in Decatur and
won $50, 000.
5 On November 21, 2014, the State charged Norwood with (1)
armed violence for being armed with a dangerous weapon while
possessing cocaine with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS
5/33A-2(a), A-3(a) (West 2014)) (count I), (2) armed violence
for being armed with a dangerous weapon while possessing
cannabis with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a),
A-3(a) (West 2014)) (count II), (3) unlawful possession of a
controlled substance (cocaine) while within 1000 feet of
church property with the intent to deliver and with a prior
conviction for unlawful possession of controlled substance
with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(1) (West
2014)) (count III), and (4) unlawful possession of cannabis
with a conviction for prior unlawful possession of a
controlled substance with the intent to deliver (720 ILCS
550/4(d) (West 2014)) (count IV).
6 On January 14, 2015, the State filed a complaint for
forfeiture, seeking the proceeds of the winning lottery
ticket, i.e., $35, 315. (The parties appear to agree
that figure represents the lump sum value of the $50, 000
prize.) The State alleged those funds were subject to
forfeiture as proceeds traceable to Norwood's illegal
7 During the bench trial on the State's complaint, Macon
County sheriff's deputy Brian Hickey testified he and
other officers executed a search warrant at Norwood's
residence on November 18, 2014. Both Norwood and Lofton were
present at the time of the search. In the bedroom, police
observed an SKS assault rifle in plain sight and two boxes of
ammunition. In the kitchen, police found 7.5 grams of
cocaine, a digital scale, and drug packaging material. In
addition, cannabis was located throughout the house. Police
also recovered small rocks of crack cocaine from a vehicle
parked at the residence, which was titled in both
Norwood's and Lofton's names.
8 During an interview with Hickey, Norwood stated he had been
unemployed for several months and admitted he was selling
cocaine and cannabis. Norwood stated he was selling drugs to
pay the bills until he got "that little bit of
money." When Hickey asked Norwood what he meant by
"that little bit of money, " Norwood explained he
had won $50, 000 on a $3 scratch-off lottery ticket. The
ticket had been turned in to the lottery office in
Springfield, and Norwood was waiting to get paid. Hickey
testified Norwood told him he purchased the ticket in the
beginning of November and he let Lofton scratch it off.
9 Hickey testified he also interviewed Lofton. According to
Hickey, Lofton never gave any indication she was the one who
paid for the ticket. She told him Norwood purchased the
ticket and she scratched it off. Lofton maintained she knew
Norwood smoked cannabis but she was unaware he was selling
drugs. While the SKS rifle was located in plain sight, Lofton
stated she never noticed it. Hickey testified one of the cell
phones seized belonged to Lofton. On that phone, police found
text messages referring to "loud." Hickey explained
"loud" is a street term for high-grade cannabis. On
Norwood's cell phone, there were images of Lofton and
Norwood with marijuana plants. Hickey testified Norwood
advised he had told Lofton he was selling drugs but he was
going to stop once they got the lottery money.
10 After the trial court denied Lofton's motion for a
directed finding, she presented her case. Lofton testified
she and Norwood had been living together "for
years." Lofton lived at the residence with her three
children (ages five, six, and eight). Lofton maintained
Norwood did not give her the money to purchase the ticket.
Lofton testified she was unemployed both at the time of the
hearing and at the time the lottery ticket was purchased.
Although she last babysat in September, Lofton claimed to
have received payment for those services in October 2014.
Lofton explained she purchased the first ticket, which
yielded a free ticket, with money she received from
babysitting. According to Lofton, the free ticket was the
winning ticket. Lofton testified she immediately went to the
Springfield lottery office and filled out a claim form. A
copy of that form was introduced into evidence. It showed her
name, social security number, phone number, driver's
license number, and signature, and it was dated October 30,
2014. Lofton testified she did not have an agreement to split
the winnings with Norwood. Lofton did not recall speaking to
police about the ticket. She also testified she was unaware
Norwood was dealing drugs. According to Lofton, she did not
know there was a weapon, a digital scale, or cocaine in the
11 At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found in
favor of Lofton. With regard to who purchased the ...