from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 15-CF-307
Honorable Linda S. Abrahamson, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Jorgenson and Spence concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Following a jury trial, defendant, Keith L. Starks, was
convicted of one count of unlawful possession of a controlled
substance with intent to deliver within 1000 feet of a church
(720 ILCS 570/407(b)(1) (West 2014)) and one count of driving
while his license was revoked (625 ILCS 5/6-303(a) (West
2014)). Following a simultaneous bench trial, defendant was
also convicted of one count of aggravated unlawful possession
of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2014)).
The trial court sentenced defendant to eight years'
imprisonment on the drug conviction and five years'
imprisonment on the weapon conviction, to be served
concurrently. Defendant argues that his drug conviction
should be reduced to simple possession, because the evidence
did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt defendant's
intent to deliver. Defendant also argues that his weapon
conviction should be reversed because a baton does not
qualify as a "bludgeon" within the meaning of the
statute. For the following reasons, we affirm.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 On May 6, 2016, defendant was charged in a four-count
indictment relating to actions alleged to have occurred on
February 24, 2015. Count I alleged unlawful possession of a
controlled substance with intent to deliver within 1000 feet
of a church, in that, "while within 1000 feet of a
Church, Elgin Community Church, [defendant] knowingly and
unlawfully possessed with the intent to deliver to another,
one or more grams, but less than 15 grams of a substance
containing cocaine [(a Class X felony)]." Count II
alleged aggravated unlawful possession of a weapon, in that
defendant, "who has been convicted of a felony[, ]
knowingly possessed a bludgeon, being a metal expandable
baton [(a Class 3 felony)]." Count III alleged unlawful
possession of a controlled substance, in that defendant
"knowingly and unlawfully possessed less than 15 grams
of a substance containing cocaine [(a Class 4 felony)]."
Count IV alleged that defendant "operated a motor
vehicle at a time when [defendant's] driver's license
was suspended or revoked [(a Class A misdemeanor)]."
4 On April 6, 2016, a "reindictment" was issued.
Counts I, III, and IV were realleged as in the original
indictment, but count II was elevated to a Class 2 felony,
based on defendant's prior Class-2-or-greater drug
5 On April 8, 2016, the trial court granted defendant's
motion to sever count II. Defendant waived a jury trial on
count II, and the State nol-prossed count III.
6 On April 11, 2016, a bench trial was held on count II,
aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and a jury trial was
held on counts I and IV, alleging unlawful possession of a
controlled substance with intent to deliver within 1000 feet
of a church and driving while his license was revoked,
7 Detective Tom Wolek of the Elgin Police Department
testified as follows. Wolek had worked for the department for
20 years and was a detective with the "special
investigations division." On February 24, 2015, Wolek
conducted in a narcotics investigation with Officer Shaun
Schroeder, Detective Gorcowski, and Sergeant Bianchi. Wolek
drove an unmarked sport-utility squad vehicle and the others
rode along as passengers. Wolek wore a bulletproof vest with
police markings on the front and back. Wolek drove to the
area of Mark Avenue and Mildred Avenue and began following a
Honda Civic. The Civic turned onto Mildred Avenue and then
proceeded to McLean Boulevard. The driver of the Civic did
not activate the car's turn signal at least 100 feet
before turning onto McLean. Wolek continued to follow the
Civic and then attempted to conduct a traffic stop by
activating his vehicle's flashing lights. But the Civic
did not pull over; instead it continued on McLean and turned
into Hooper's Sports Bar's parking lot.
"Basically, [the Civic] drove around the entire bar, the
front, the side and the back and then came back out to the
front." When the Civic was near the back of the bar,
Wolek activated his vehicle's spotlight and siren. But
the Civic did not stop. Instead, it returned to the area in
front of the bar, started heading back toward McLean, and
8 Wolek approached the driver's window of the Civic with
his gun out of its holster for "safety," because it
was suspicious that the vehicle had not stopped immediately.
Wolek ordered the driver, defendant, to exit the vehicle.
Wolek handcuffed defendant because Wolek knew that
defendant's driver's license had been revoked.
Gilberto Feliciano was in the front passenger seat of the
Civic. After Wolek and Officer Jordan Rapacz handcuffed
defendant, they searched him and found "a box of plastic
[sandwich] baggies [and] several loose plastic baggies."
Defendant was then taken to the Elgin Police Department.
9 When Wolek searched the Civic, he found a large Ziploc
sandwich bag on the driver's-side floorboard and a
sandwich bag "containing suspect[ed] drugs [appearing]
white in color" on the passenger's-side floorboard.
Wolek also recovered a dark-colored jacket on the
driver's seat, near the center console. Inside the
jacket, Wolek found a metal, expandable baton. The baton was
similar to batons issued to police officers "for use of
force [and] protection." All the items Wolek found were
given to Officer Schroeder.
10 At the police station, Wolek advised defendant of his
Miranda rights and defendant signed a
Miranda waiver form, which the trial court admitted
into evidence. Wolek testified that defendant told him that
he had been with Feliciano at a relative's house shortly
before the traffic stop. Defendant told Wolek that he was
driving Feliciano's car because Feliciano was
experiencing a medical issue that prevented Feliciano from
driving. Defendant also told Wolek that he did not
immediately stop the car because he was scared and that the
drugs were not his. But defendant admitted to Wolek that the
plastic bags found on his person belonged to him, as well as
the jacket and the baton.
11 On April 5, 2016, Wolek and Detective Craig Tucker, a
narcotics investigator, went back to the parking lot where
the traffic stop had occurred and they measured the distance
between the location of defendant's Civic and the nearby
Elgin Community Church, using a measuring wheel. The distance
measured was less than 1000 feet.
12 The police video of the traffic stop was played in court.
The trial court admitted into evidence all the items found at
the scene of the traffic stop and a certified copy of
defendant's driver's abstract, which showed that
defendant's license was revoked at the time of his
13 Schroeder testified as follows. Schroeder assisted Wolek
with the traffic stop of defendant. Schroeder approached the
passenger side of defendant's car, had Feliciano exit the
car, and, upon searching him, discovered five
"fake" $20 bills in Feliciano's possession.
After Schroeder completed his search of Feliciano, Feliciano
started to shake and convulse. Feliciano told Schroeder that
he had epilepsy and ...