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People v. Martin

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

June 12, 2017

DERRICK MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 18626 Honorable Thomas Hennelly, Judge Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE CONNORS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Harris and Mikva concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant Derrick Martin was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and sentenced to five years in prison. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search. We reverse.

         ¶ 2 The record reveals that following an alleged drug transaction that occurred on June 9, 2013, defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and delivery of a controlled substance. Before trial, defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. In this motion, defendant stated that on June 9, 2013, police officers entered and searched the building located at 5154 West Fulton Street in Chicago without a search warrant and without consent.

         ¶ 3 At the hearing on the motion, defendant's mother, Perlene West, testified that she owned the two-flat building located at 5154 West Fulton. West stated that she lived on the first floor and no one currently lived on the second floor. West also testified that no one lived on the second floor on June 9, 2013. Defendant, who occasionally stayed with West, had stayed overnight with his girlfriend in West's apartment the night before June 9. West further described the building, which had a door on the outside and was surrounded by a fence with a gate. West also identified a photograph of her building. West stated that beyond the outer door were two interior doors- one to the right that led to West's apartment and one to the left that went up the stairs. According to West, the hallway area between the outer door and interior doors was a private area and not public. West stated that the building was her home and denied that anyone could just walk in. West stated that she has a "no trespassing" sign in the window of her home and that the sign was up on June 9. West also stated that the front door has a lock, and she locks it using a key. West recalled that on June 9, police officers did not have her permission to search anywhere in the building.

         ¶ 4 Officer Manjarrez testified that at approximately 4:26 p.m. on June 9, he was conducting a narcotics surveillance mission with Officer Collarzo in the area of 5154 West Fulton. Defendant was in a vacant lot just west of 5154 West Fulton. Officer Manjarrez observed a man, who was later identified as Dwayne Mason, approach defendant and raise his right index finger, whereupon defendant acknowledged the gesture and entered the main doorframe of 5154 West Fulton. Officer Manjarrez stated that the door to 5154 West Fulton was slightly ajar. Defendant stood on the immediate threshold and reached into the door inside of the doorframe. Defendant retrieved a blue plastic bag, manipulated it, and then retrieved a smaller unknown item from the bag. Officer Manjarrez acknowledged that he could not actually see where the bag came from and could not tell what the item was that defendant took from the bag. Defendant then placed the bag on top of the door and returned to Mason, where he received money from Mason and tendered the small unknown item. Defendant tendered the money to another male who was standing outside of 5154 West Fulton.

         ¶ 5 At that point, Officer Manjarrez broke surveillance and approached Mason. During a conversation, Mason stated, "I only got one blow from him" and freely tendered to Officer Collarzo a red-tinted Ziploc bag with a bomb logo that said "stay high imagine" on it. The bag contained a white powdery substance that was suspected to be heroin. Mason was placed in custody and the officers relocated to defendant, who was also placed in custody. Officer Manjarrez indicated to another officer, Officer Warner, where to recover the blue bag. Officer Manjarrez stayed with defendant at the bottom of the stairs of 5154 West Fulton and observed Officer Warner go up the stairs. Officer Warner related that the door was open. Officer Warner reached above the doorframe on the inside of the door and recovered the blue bag. Officer Manjarrez observed that the items inside the blue bag matched the suspect narcotics that were recovered from Mason. Officer Manjarrez also stated that the item that Officer Warner recovered was from the same area where he observed defendant place the item. Additionally, Officer Manjarrez stated that once the door was open, he observed that the front door opened into a vestibule or common area that had another door, leading into the residence. The parties stipulated that the officers did not have a warrant.

         ¶ 6 After defendant rested, the State moved for a directed finding, contending in part that there was no expectation of privacy on the inside of the doorframe and the officers did not enter the home. In response, defense counsel contended in part that 5154 West Fulton was a private home and the area at issue was not a common area.

         ¶ 7 The court denied defendant's motion to quash and suppress. In its ruling, the court stated that the officer reached into the doorway of a common area of a two-flat and the officer did not enter the home. The court continued that "even assuming arguendo, there's plenty of probable cause based on Officer Manjarrez's observations of the transaction." The court also stated that it did not think that defendant established standing.

         ¶ 8 Prior to trial, defense counsel orally moved to reconsider the ruling on the motion to quash and suppress. Defense counsel stated in part that defendant's mother owned the entire building, she lived on the first floor, and no one was occupying the second floor. Defense counsel asserted that "[i]t's not your typical common area, " and moreover, West had a "no trespassing" sign and the building was surrounded by a fence, which could be considered curtilage. Additionally, defense counsel stated that there were no exigent circumstances. The court denied the motion to reconsider.

         ¶ 9 The matter proceeded to trial. The State called as a witness Officer Manjarrez, whose testimony was substantially similar to his testimony at the hearing on defendant's motion to quash and suppress. Additionally, Officer Manjarrez stated that after he broke surveillance, he lost sight of the man who had received money from defendant.

         ¶ 10 Officer Warner also testified, stating that he went to the vicinity of 5154 West Fulton at Officer Manjarrez's request. Based on a conversation with Officer Manjarrez, Officer Warner searched the door and corridor of the building. Officer Warner looked in the door frame, where he found a blue bag containing five clear Ziploc bags with "Stay High" logos that contained suspect heroin. Officer Warner noted that he could not see through the bag and had to open it to see its contents. Officer Warner stated that he found the bag at the top of doorframe inside the building. Officer Warner further recalled that the blue bag was "protruding out like a piece of *** wood at the top of the door frame" and was sticking up.

         ¶ 11 The parties entered stipulations about the chain of custody and the chemical composition of the recovered substance. The parties stipulated that all proper chains of custody were followed. The parties also stipulated that a forensic chemist would testify that 1.4 grams of powder from five ...

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