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People v. Curry

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

February 13, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JARROD CURRY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 22405 Honorable Carol M. Howard, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Connors and Delort concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CUNNINGHAM, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Following a bench trial, the defendant-appellant, Jarrod Curry, was convicted of armed violence (count I), possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver more than 15 grams but less than 100 grams of heroin (count II), and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver less than 1 gram of cocaine within 100 feet of a park (count III). He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment on count I, 15 years' imprisonment on count II, and 5 years' imprisonment on count III, with all three sentences to run concurrently. The defendant now appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County in part, vacate the judgment in part, order the mittimus to be corrected, and order the fines and fees to be corrected.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 At the defendant's bench trial, Sergeant David Koenig, Officer Jose Rojas, and Officer Richard Piek of the Chicago Police Department testified on behalf of the State. The officers testified that on October 19, 2013, at 8:40 a.m., 12 police officers executed a search warrant at the second-floor rear apartment at 1444 South Trumbull Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The search warrant was based on a report that a man named "Tony" was selling drugs out of that apartment. The officers were all in civilian dress, but were readily identifiable as police officers because they wore vests, outer stars, weapons, radios, handcuffs, and duty belts. The police officers approached the apartment from the rear alley and saw the defendant standing on the second-floor landing near the back door of the apartment. They saw the defendant turn, face them, and "pull like his right side, like the waistband area, and proceed to run into the second-floor apartment, " closing the door behind him. Within minutes, the police officers knocked on the door, yelled "Chicago Police, " and made a forced entry through the back door.

         ¶ 4 Once inside, Officer Rojas saw the defendant running toward the front door and pursued him into the interior stairwell. Sergeant Koenig and Officer Piek followed a few feet behind Officer Rojas. Once they were inside the interior stairwell, Officer Rojas observed the defendant "go into his right waistband area along with his right hand and his left hand go into the [front sweatshirt pocket]" and discard two items onto the second-floor landing. Sergeant Koenig also saw the defendant retrieve something from the right side of his body and "flee as he was discarding the items." Officer Rojas picked up the discarded items, which consisted of a "plastic baggie containing numerous pink tinted Ziploc baggies of suspect heroin, " and a .25-caliber Beretta with six live rounds, including one in the chamber. Sergeant Koenig pursued the defendant down the stairs and out of the building, where the defendant was detained by two officers who had been waiting on the sidewalk.

         ¶ 5 The police officers searched the apartment. They found two females who lived in the apartment. They also recovered "three rubber band pink tinted Ziploc baggies of suspect heroin, as well as four clear plastic knotted baggies of suspect crack cocaine, and [$37] on top of the kitchen cabinet."

         ¶ 6 The police officers then took the defendant to the police station, where Officer Rojas and Officer Piek interrogated him. Both officers testified that the defendant told them he was selling heroin and crack for a guy named "Young Money, " who dropped drugs off at the apartment every day at 7 a.m. He also told them that he had been living in the apartment for a couple of months and that the drugs and gun belonged to him and "not the girl that was in the apartment." The defendant explained that he had the gun because "he didn't want to be robbed or stuck up by someone or a crew."

         ¶ 7 The parties stipulated that Daniel Bryant, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police, would testify that 38 items found by the police in the apartment tested positive for 15.2 grams of heroin and another item tested positive for 0.1 gram of cocaine.

         ¶ 8 After the State rested, the trial continued with the defendant's testimony. The defendant testified that, on October 19, 2013, he went to retrieve a bus card from his friend, Charita, who lived at the apartment. He arrived at the apartment at 8 a.m. and was there with Charita and her mother for 15 minutes when the police officers came in with guns drawn and masks on. He put his hands up when told to do so by the police. The police officers then put defendant in handcuffs in the living room while they searched the apartment. Two officers emerged from the kitchen and showed the gun and drugs to the defendant, saying "We found your merch." The defendant told the officers that they could put it back in their pockets as that is where they got it from.

         ¶ 9 The defendant denied that he ever told the police officers that he had a gun for protection, that he sold drugs, or that he worked for someone named "Young Money." He further denied that he ran, threw a gun, or threw any drugs. The defense rested after his testimony.

         ¶ 10 At the end of the trial, the court stated that it found the officers to be more credible than the defendant. The trial court then found the defendant guilty of armed violence (count I), possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver more than 15 grams but less than 100 grams of heroin (count II), and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver less than 1 gram of cocaine within 100 feet of a park (count III). In finding the defendant guilty of armed violence, the court stated: "In this situation, the officers saw the defendant with both the drugs and the gun. So he was armed with a gun at the same time that he had the drugs on his possession."

         ¶ 11 The trial court sentenced the defendant to 15 years' imprisonment on count I, 15 years' imprisonment on count II, and 5 years' imprisonment on count III, with all three sentences to run ...


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