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People v. Sykes

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District

December 26, 2017

LADINA SYKES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Rehearing denied January 25, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Nos. 13-MC2-002513, YB-035582, YB-035583, YW-176395, YW-176396; the Hon. Jeffrey L. Warnick, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Roxanna A. Mason, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

          Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Christine Cook, and Leonore Carlson, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

          Panel JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Neville and Justice Pucinski concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 Ladina Sykes and her two children were leaving a beach in Evanston when their car struck a wall in the parking lot. Paramedics took Sykes to Evanston Hospital, where she was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Sykes was deemed mentally unable to provide consent, so when she refused to provide a doctor-ordered urine sample, a nurse catheterized her while several people, including two Evanston police officers, held her down because she was being physically uncooperative. Sykes was released from the hospital into police custody and charged with child endangerment, damage to property, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Sykes made a demand for trial. Several months later, after receiving the results of the urine test, which was positive for cannabis and phencyclidine (PCP), the State added two additional charges: driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of cannabis.

         ¶ 2 Before trial, Sykes moved to suppress the results of the urine test, arguing the forcible catheterization was an unlawful search. The trial court denied the motion, finding the Evanston police officers' participation in the procedure was not an illegal search. The court also denied her motion to dismiss the DUI-cannabis counts on speedy-trial grounds, finding the new charges were not statutorily mandated to be joined with the original charges, as the State had no knowledge of them until receiving the urine test results. After a bench trial, Sykes was found guilty of child endangerment and driving under the influence of cannabis and sentenced to 18 months court supervision.

         ¶ 3 Sykes contends her conviction should be vacated because (i) the police violated her fourth amendment rights by holding her down while a nurse forcibly catheterized her and (ii) the State violated her right to a speedy trial by failing to bring her to trial on the DUI-cannabis charge within 160 days of her demand for trial.

         ¶ 4 We affirm. Although the better practice would have been for the police officers to refrain from restraining Sykes during the forced catheterization, their conduct did not transform the medical procedure, ordered and conducted by private actors, into state action. Further, Sykes's right to a speedy trial was not violated. The State was not required to join the DUI-cannabis charge with the original charges, as it did not know of the positive urine test until it received the results several months after Sykes's trial demand.

         ¶ 5 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 On the evening of August 19, 2013, Sykes and two of her children were swimming at a beach in Evanston. At about 10 p.m., the family left the beach and went to the parking lot. A few minutes later, a bystander saw Sykes's car drive into a wall. He found her unconscious, removed the key from the ignition, and called 911. When Evanston paramedics and police arrived, Sykes was conscious and had no visible injuries. Her speech was slurred, and she told a paramedic she drank some alcohol. Evanston police officer Michael Pratt spoke to Sykes and smelled a slight odor of alcohol. He did not see any alcohol bottles or drugs on Sykes or in her car.

         ¶ 7 The paramedics took Sykes to Evanston Hospital, where a triage nurse assessed her condition. She was stable and had no complaints but was deemed to have an altered mental state because, even though she was alert and oriented as to person and place, she did not know the date or time of day. Officer Pratt told hospital staff he suspected Sykes was under the influence of something. Pratt was standing outside Sykes's room when he heard her tell the nurse she had one alcoholic drink that evening. He went in her room and asked her if she had been drinking. She told Pratt she had not been drinking or taking any drugs. Pratt arrested her for driving under the influence based on the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and overall demeanor. Pratt asked Sykes to provide blood and urine samples, and she declined. He did not ask hospital staff to obtain samples for him.

         ¶ 8 Dr. Patel examined Sykes and ordered a CT scan and blood and urine tests to determine why Sykes was in an altered mental state and to decide on a proper course of treatment. The urine test, in particular, would determine if she had drugs in her system. Colleen Costello, the supervising nurse, asked Sykes for a urine sample. Sykes refused. Costello then decided to catheterize her. Costello said patients can refuse treatment unless, like Sykes, they have an altered mental state. When Costello began the catheter procedure, Sykes was combative, swinging her arms, kicking her legs, and moving her hips to resist catheterization. She also tried to get out of the bed. Costello called for assistance, and about nine people responded, including Evanston police officers Pratt and Magnas, who had been standing outside the room. Pratt and Magnas stood at the head of the bed and held Sykes down by her shoulders. Once Sykes was restrained, Costello extracted the urine with a catheter. Afterward, Officer Pratt left the hospital and returned to the police station; Officer Magnas stayed with Sykes.

         ¶ 9 The blood and urine tests were sent to the hospital lab. Sykes's blood test showed she was well within the legal limit for alcohol, and her urine test was presumptively positive for cannabis and PCP, a reading later verified by a lab in Minnesota. Costello told Sykes about her test results. A police officer was ...

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