from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry
County, Illinois. Appeal No. 3-13-0802 Circuit No. 13-CF-78
Honorable Ted J. Hamer, Judge, Presiding.
SCHMIDT JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Lytton concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Justice McDade dissented, with opinion.
1 The State charged defendant, John F. West, with cannabis
trafficking (720 ILCS 550/5.1(a) (West 2012)), unlawful
possession with intent to deliver cannabis (720 ILCS 550/5(g)
(West 2012)), and unlawful possession of cannabis (720 ILCS
550/4(g) (West 2012)). Before trial, defendant filed a motion
to suppress evidence. He alleged, inter alia, that
the traffic stop, which led to police finding the evidence
used against him, was unreasonably prolonged and his
subsequent consent to search was involuntary. The trial court
denied defendant's motion and found him guilty of all
charges. The trial court sentenced defendant to 12 years'
imprisonment and imposed a $3000 drug assessment and an $87,
000 street-value fine. Defendant appeals the trial
court's ruling on his motion to suppress and the amount
of the street-value fine. He further argues he is entitled to
credit for time spent in presentence custody against his
fines. We affirm the trial court's ruling on
defendant's motion to suppress and find that defendant
forfeited his street-value fine argument. We remand this case
to the trial court, however, to amend defendant's
sentencing order to account for his credit earned during the
time he spent in presentence custody.
3 Illinois State Trooper Jarrod Johnson stopped defendant for
speeding (625 ILCS 5/11- 601(b) (West 2012)) and not wearing
a seat belt (625 ILCS 5/12-603.1(a) (West 2012)) while he was
traveling eastbound on Interstate 80. Johnson recorded the
traffic stop with the video system in his squad car. He
noticed defendant had an Arizona driver's license and
asked numerous questions unrelated to the traffic offenses
during the encounter. Defendant told Johnson he was driving
from Arizona to Flint, Michigan, to visit friends. He said he
planned to stay until the end of the week and indicated that
he did not know his friends' address in Michigan. Johnson
later testified that illegal narcotics suppliers sometimes
hold back the precise drop-off location to prevent drivers
from cooperating with police in the event they are stopped
before delivering the drugs.
4 Johnson saw that defendant had a suitcase in the backseat,
a mechanic's shirt hanging inside the car, and a camera
in the rear window. When Johnson asked defendant about the
shirt, defendant said he was a mechanic, that business was
not going well, and that the trip had already cost him $600.
Johnson repeated some of his questions about defendant's
travel plans, seeking further clarification. Defendant stated
he planned to stay in Flint for three days, leaving on
Saturday. They were talking on a Thursday evening at
approximately 5:37 p.m.
5 Johnson asked defendant to sit in his squad car with him
while he checked his documents and wrote him a warning
ticket. As they walked back to the squad car, Johnson
requested a canine officer. After the dispatcher said there
were no canine officers available, he requested a backup
officer. Johnson later testified that he was suspicious of
defendant's inconsistent statements about his travel
plans, the fact that his luggage was in the backseat of his
vehicle instead of in the trunk, and the mechanic's
shirt. He said narcotics smugglers sometimes keep luggage in
the backseat of their cars so they can carry contraband in
the trunk and hang shirts inside their cars to blend in with
average motorists. Johnson further stated he found it odd
that defendant said his business was not going well but he
was taking a costly trip to visit friends.
6 While defendant and Johnson were seated in the front seat
of the squad car, defendant asked Johnson how long he had
been a state trooper and told him about one of his relatives
in law enforcement. He also asked Johnson about the local
ethanol plant. During this conversation, Johnson checked the
validity of defendant's documents and wrote him a warning
ticket. Defendant volunteered that he knew from crossing the
border into Mexico to visit his deported ex-wife that there
was another John West with an arrest warrant. Johnson
confirmed that defendant was not the John West described in
the arrest warrant. He later testified that he became more
suspicious of defendant at this point.
7 Johnson thought defendant might have been confused. He
asked defendant, again, about his travel plans and why he did
not fly instead. Johnson later testified that he was asking
the travel-related questions to determine if driving to Flint
from Arizona made financial sense. While they were still in
the patrol car, Johnson asked about the camera in the rear
window of defendant's vehicle. Defendant told him the
camera belonged to a friend who must have inadvertently left
it in the car. He assured Johnson that the camera was not
hooked up to anything in the car or operating.
8 Approximately 14 minutes after Johnson initiated the stop,
he issued defendant a written warning, returned his
documents, and told defendant he was "free to go."
Defendant exited the squad car. Johnson exited the squad car
in quick succession. Roughly 15 to 20 seconds later, Johnson
asked defendant if he could ask him a few more questions.
Defendant agreed, and Johnson told him to stand by the
passenger side of their vehicles, away from passing traffic
where he was standing when their conversation began.
Defendant responded to Johnson's renewed questions about
the camera, his travel plans, and his destination. Johnson
also asked defendant whether there was contraband in the
vehicle. Defendant said there was none.
9 Approximately three minutes after Johnson told defendant he
was free to leave, he asked defendant for his consent to
search the vehicle. Defendant said "yes" and waved
his arm toward his vehicle. At this time, a backup officer
arrived. Johnson explained the situation to the officer, and
defendant confirmed his consent to search. Johnson directed
defendant to stand with the backup officer. Several minutes
into the search, Johnson noticed duct tape on an interior
seam of the front passenger door. Defendant said it was there
to keep water out of the vehicle. Johnson read defendant his
Miranda rights, placed him in the backseat of his
squad car, and continued searching the vehicle. After
locating bundles of a substance he suspected was cannabis
inside the vehicle door, Johnson handcuffed defendant.
10 In total, Johnson located 12, 204 grams of cannabis in 16
bundles wrapped in duct tape hidden in defendant's
vehicle doors. Johnson used a field test to positively
identify one of the bundles as cannabis. Eight bundles were
later tested by the crime laboratory and confirmed to be
cannabis. The remaining eight bundles were not tested.
11 The State brought all three charges against defendant.
Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence. At the hearing
on defendant's motion, the trial court viewed
Johnson's video of the traffic stop, and Johnson
testified to the events leading to defendant's arrest.
Johnson stated that he did not delay the traffic
stop-including writing defendant's warning ticket and
verifying his documentation-to engage defendant in
conversation. Defense counsel argued the stop was
impermissibly prolonged by "drug interdiction"
questions unrelated to the purpose of the stop, that Johnson
did not have reasonable, articulable suspicion to ask those
questions, and that defendant's consent to search his car
was merely acquiescence to Johnson's show of authority.
Ultimately, the trial court denied defendant's motion.
The court found that the traffic stop was not unreasonably
prolonged; it ended when defendant was told he was free to
leave, and the ensuing encounter was consensual, not coerced.
12 Defendant elected to proceed with a bench trial. The
parties stipulated that, when asked by Johnson about the
presence of duct tape in the vehicle, defendant claimed it
was there to deflect water; Johnson found 16 duct-taped
bundles inside defendant's vehicle doors; Johnson
positively identified the substance in one of the bundles as
cannabis in a field test; a crime laboratory confirmed that
eight of the bundles (5468 grams) contained cannabis; the
laboratory did not analyze the contents in the remaining
eight bundles (an additional 6736 grams); defendant had a
glass pipe in his jacket, which the crime lab later confirmed
contained methamphetamine; and defendant made several phone
calls from jail indicating he knowingly transported the
cannabis at issue for other people. Admitted at trial were
the crime lab reports, recordings of defendant's phone
calls in jail, and the video recording of the traffic stop.
Defense counsel objected to the admission of the phone
recordings, the contraband, and the portion of the traffic
stop video after Johnson told defendant he was free to leave.
The trial court overruled defendant's objections and
found him guilty on all three counts.
13 Defendant moved for a new trial, challenging the trial
court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence and the
admission of the contraband and phone recordings into
evidence. The trial court denied defendant's motion
before sentencing. Defendant's presentence investigation
report disclosed that he had no history of criminal activity
and no prior charges or convictions. The court agreed with
the recommendations of the prosecutor and defense attorney
and imposed the minimum sentence on defendant allowed, 12
years' imprisonment-reduced by 221 days spent in
presentence custody. The trial court also imposed on
defendant a $3000 drug assessment and an $87, 000
street-value fine for the cannabis.
14 Defendant appeals.
16 Defendant argues (1) the trial court improperly denied his
motion to suppress evidence, (2) his street value fine should
be reduced, and (3) his sentencing order should be amended.
For the reasons that follow, we reject defendant's first
two arguments but remand this matter to the trial court to
amend defendant's sentencing order.
17 I. Defendant's Motion to Suppress
18 First, defendant argues that the trial court erred in
denying his motion to suppress evidence. Specifically,
defendant claims the traffic stop was unreasonably prolonged
due to numerous "drug interdiction" questions and
that his subsequent consent to search was involuntary. He
emphasizes that there was no reasonable suspicion or probable
cause for his continued detention, resulting in his unlawful
seizure before he gave consent to search his car.
19 We review a trial court's ruling on a motion to
suppress evidence for clear error, giving due weight to any
inferences drawn from those facts by the fact finder.
People v. Harris, 228 Ill.2d 222, 230 (2008);
People v. Cosby, 231 Ill.2d 262, 271 (2008). The
ultimate decision of whether the evidence should be
suppressed, however, we review de novo. Id.
The trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion
to suppress evidence.
20 From the outset, we note that we need not address whether
Johnson had reasonable, articulable suspicion to detain the
defendant. Defendant does not argue Johnson did not have
probable cause to initiate the traffic stop. Johnson
ultimately decided he did not have reasonable, articulable
suspicion sufficient to prolong the traffic stop and ended
it. Armed with the knowledge that he was free to leave,
defendant twice consented to the trooper's request for
permission to search the car. As such, contrary to the
defendant's claim, Rodriguez is inapposite.
Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S.,, 135 S.Ct.
1609, 1613 (2015). The defendant in Rodriguez was
held after a traffic stop concluded without
reasonable articulable suspicion in spite of the fact that he
refused to consent to a search. Id. Reasonable,
articulable suspicion has no place in an analysis of this
21 Defendant presented no evidence at trial that the traffic
stop was prolonged. Johnson's testimony and the video
footage of the traffic stop established the opposite. He did
not cease working on the traffic stop while engaging
defendant in conversation. The defendant points to nothing in
the record suggesting otherwise. Even assuming, for sake of
argument, the traffic stop was unreasonably prolonged by
Johnson's questions, the defendant's point is
22 The traffic stop ended before defendant consented
to a search of his vehicle. The State need only prove
defendant's consent to search was voluntary by a
preponderance of the evidence. People v. Casazza,
144 Ill.2d 414, 417 (1991); People v. Branham, 137
Ill.App.3d 896, 900 (1985). The trial court's
determination of the voluntariness of consent to search will
be accepted on review unless plainly unreasonable. People
v. DeMorrow, 59 Ill.2d 352, 358 (1974).
23 Johnson concluded the traffic stop by returning documents
to the defendant, along with a written warning, and telling
him he was free to leave. He told defendant to have a
"nice trip, " they shook hands, and they remarked
that it was nice meeting each other. Defendant exited
Johnson's squad car with his paperwork and began walking
back to his car. Before defendant got back into his car,
Johnson asked defendant if he could talk with him
further. Defendant agreed to do so. Thereafter, he
voluntarily remained outside of his car and engaged Johnson
24 "Generally, a [valid] traffic stop ends when the
paperwork of the driver and any passengers has been returned
to them and the purpose of the stop has been resolved."
People v. Leach, 2011 IL App (4th) 100542, ¶ 12
(citing Cosby, 231 Ill.2d at 276). There is no
seizure if the motorist understands that he or she is free to
leave and voluntarily prolongs the contact. See Florida
v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 434 (1991); Cosby,
231 Ill.2d at 283-85.
25 The evidence at issue was discovered during a consensual
encounter preceded by a traffic stop. Defendant was
unequivocally told he was free to leave. He remained on the
side of the road and ...