Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 1106 The
Honorable Diane G. Cannon, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court,
with opinion. Justices Pierce and Mason concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Defendant Melvin Miller was convicted by a jury of
delivery of a controlled substance and sentenced to 12
years' incarceration. He argues on appeal that (i) the
trial court failed to "conduct a meaningful
inquiry" after a juror equivocated while answering a
question posed during the jury polling after the guilty
verdict, (ii) the prosecution failed to tender Miller's
statement to police officers giving his name and date of
birth, and (iii) the trial court erroneously refused his
tendered jury instruction regarding prior inconsistent
statements. Miller requests reversal of his conviction based
on each of these alleged errors.
2 We affirm. First, while polling the jury, the trial
court's response to a juror's equivocation did not
prejudice Miller or affect the fairness of the trial or the
integrity of the judicial process. Second, Miller forfeited
the issue of whether the State violated the rules of
discovery; moreover, Miller was not prejudiced by any
nondisclosure of his "statement." Finally, Miller
failed to show the trial judge abused her discretion in
refusing a jury instruction on impeachment by prior
4 Chicago police officer Lazaro Altamirano, Detective Donald
Clark and Sergeant Andrew Dakuras, team supervisor, were
assigned to an eight-man undercover narcotics team conducting
drug investigations in Chicago and suburbs. Altamirano was
the "designated undercover officer" who used marked
bills (prerecorded Chicago Police Department "1505"
funds) to buy heroin from a suspected drug dealer. On
November 14, 2012, the team conducted an undercover heroin
purchase from Miller in the area of Iowa Street and Harding
Avenue in Chicago. Dakuras recorded the serial numbers of a
$10 bill and two $5 bills that Altamirano used in the
"buy" by writing them on his palm.
5 Altamirano approached Miller and asked him for two
"blows" (street slang for heroin). Miller went into
a nearby house and returned with a small package. Altamirano
paid him for the package with $20 in marked "1505"
bills. Clark, the surveillance officer, watched the
transaction from a distance 50 to 75 feet. After the buy,
Clark radioed Dakuras that Miller was on the corner of Iowa
Street and Lamon Avenue. Dakuras pulled up in an unmarked
police car and saw Miller. Dakuras called Miller over.
Dakuras got out of the car and made "small talk"
with Miller about what he was doing, where he was going, and
how long he had been on the corner. Dakuras asked Miller if
he had any money, and Miller pulled out about $100 in various
bills. Dakuras checked the serial numbers on all the bills
and confirmed that three bills matched the "1505"
funds Altamirano used in the buy. As Dakuras and Miller stood
on the corner, Altamirano drove past and confirmed by radio
that Miller was the individual who sold him the heroin.
6 Dakuras asked Miller his name and birthday, which Miller
gave. At this point, defense counsel objected but was
overruled, and the trial court denied counsel's request
for a sidebar. Dakuras did not recall if Miller had
identification or simply gave his name. Dakuras signed off on
Clark's "Surveillance Supplementary Report" of
the incident that stated Miller "was identified, "
but neither Clark nor Dakuras wrote in any report that Miller
7 Miller was not arrested the same day as the
"buy." Doing so would have exposed Altamirano as an
undercover police officer. Instead, Dakuras returned to the
police station and obtained Miller's photograph from
police computer records by his name and birthday. According
to Dakuras, "[w]hen you have been previously arrested,
you are given an identification record number." The
following exchange then ensued:
"MR. GASSMAN [defense counsel]: I will object again.
This is coming out now for the first time.
THE COURT: That will be stricken. Counsel, you have had the
MR. GASSMAN: Not photographs, statements allegedly made by
the suspect. It is coming out now for the first time.
THE COURT: Sustained. That will be stricken.
8 Dakuras created a photo array of six photos including
Miller's. All the photos were of black males fitting
Miller's general description. On the same day, Altamirano
viewed the photo array and selected Miller as the person who
sold him the heroin. In December 2012, Miller was arrested on
9 The parties stipulated that the package Miller sold to
Altamirano contained 0.4 grams of heroin. The State rested,
and defense counsel moved for a mistrial based on the
State's failure to disclose Miller's incriminating
statement, specifically the "very damning identifying
information"-his name and birth date. The trial court
found that the reports tendered to the defense contained the
identifying information as Dakuras testified.
10 The defense rested without ...