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People v. State

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

June 12, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
NICOLE E. FIUMETTO, Defendant-Appellee. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JOCLYN E. HALL, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County Nos. 16-CM-2877, 16-CM-3816 Honorable Helen S. Rozenberg, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McLaren and Spence concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HUTCHINSON, JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In these consolidated cases, the State appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Lake County dismissing the charges of knowingly possessing a hypodermic syringe (720 ILCS 635/1 (West 2016)) against defendants, Nicole E. Fiumetto and Joclyn E. Hall, and dismissing the charge of possessing drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 2016)) against Hall. Because the trial court correctly dismissed the drug-paraphernalia charge but erred in dismissing the hypodermic-syringe charges, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 Defendants were charged by information with possession of a hypodermic syringe (720 ILCS 635/1 (West 2016)) and possession of drug paraphernalia (720 ILCS 600/3.5(a) (West 2016)).

         ¶ 4 In each case, count I of the information alleged that the defendant knowingly possessed a hypodermic syringe.

         ¶ 5 Count II of Hall's information alleged that she knowingly possessed drug paraphernalia (a spoon) with the intent to ingest, inhale, or introduce a controlled substance into a human body. Counts II and III of Fiumetto's information alleged, respectively, that she knowingly possessed drug paraphernalia (a cooker and tin foil) with the intent to ingest, inhale, or introduce a controlled substance into a human body.

         ¶ 6 Defendants moved to dismiss all of the charges. Each defendant contended that the charge of possessing a hypodermic syringe was deficient because the State failed to allege that she was not a person who was at least 18 years old and who had purchased no more than 20 syringes from a pharmacy, per section 1(b) of the Hypodermic Syringes and Needles Act (Syringes Act) (720 ILCS 635/1(b) (West 2016)). Both defendants further maintained that the drug-paraphernalia charges were deficient because the alleged items did not fall within the definition of drug paraphernalia, as set forth in section 2(d) of the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act (Paraphernalia Act) (720 ILCS 600/2(d) (West 2016)).

         ¶ 7 The trial court dismissed all charges as to both defendants. The State filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal of the hypodermic-syringe charges as to both defendants and the drug-paraphernalia charge as to Hall. The trial court denied the motion to reconsider. In doing so, the court noted that the parties had stipulated that the spoon was the "kind of spoon that you find in any home, any restaurant, any school" and had not been modified to be used for drug consumption.

         ¶ 8 Following the denial of the motion to reconsider, the State filed a certificate of impairment (see Ill. S.Ct. R. 604(a)(1) (eff. Mar. 8, 2016)) and appealed the dismissal of the hypodermic-syringe charges as to both defendants and the drug-paraphernalia charge as to Hall. We consolidated the cases.

         ¶ 9 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 10 On appeal, the State contends that (1) because section 1(b) of the Syringes Act constitutes an exception to, rather than a description of, the offense of possessing a hypodermic syringe, its inapplicability need not be alleged in the charging instrument and, (2) although it was an ordinary spoon, because Hall intended to use the spoon to ingest a controlled substance, it qualified as drug paraphernalia. Defendants respond that, because section 1(b) describes the offense of possessing a hypodermic syringe, its inapplicablity must be included in the charge. Hall further responds that, because a common spoon, without modification, is not intended to be used to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into a human body, the State failed to properly allege a violation of the Paraphernalia Act.

         ¶ 11 We first address whether the State properly charged the offense of ...


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