Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed February 7, 2013

 

 

People v. Grant, 2013 IL 112734

Appellate citation: 2011 IL App (1st) 091107.

 

      JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Chief Justice Kilbride and Justices Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

 

      This Cook County defendant received a three-year sentence for Class 4 possession of cocaine after a stipulated bench trial. The appellate court reversed the conviction, finding lack of probable cause for his initial arrest, but, in this decision, the supreme court reversed the appellate court and upheld the conviction.

      In 2008, Chicago police in an unmarked car saw the defendant yelling “dro, dro” to a passing vehicle. This was in front of a Chicago Housing Authority building, in an area known for marijuana sales. The arresting officer who testified said that, based on his experience, “dro, dro” is slang for the sale of cannabis, and case law has recognized that this refers to a higher quality, or hydroponic, marijuana. The defendant was initially arrested for violation of a Chicago municipal ordinance forbidding the solicitation of unlawful business on a public way. At the scene, plastic bags containing what appeared to be cannabis were found on his person, and, at the police station, plastic bags of what later tested positive for cocaine were also found in his clothing. All of this took place without a warrant, and the defendant argued lack of probable cause to arrest him. The circuit court had denied Grant’s motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, and the supreme court, in this decision, agreed with that, finding that there was probable cause to arrest. The supreme court noted that what the police officer testified to was unrebutted. The court said that the absence of some of the traditional indicia of drug activity—officers did not see anything in the defendant’s hands or observe any transactions or see him flee—did not call for a different result. The court said that the facts known to police at the time of the arrest provided reasonable grounds to believe he was committing a criminal offense.