423 N.E.2d 887 (Ill. 1981), 53453, People v. Gates

Docket Nº:53453.
Citation:423 N.E.2d 887, 85 Ill.2d 376, 53 Ill.Dec. 218
Party Name:The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant, v. Lance GATES et al., Appellees.
Case Date:June 26, 1981
Court:Supreme Court of Illinois

Page 887

423 N.E.2d 887 (Ill. 1981)

85 Ill.2d 376, 53 Ill.Dec. 218

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellant,

v.

Lance GATES et al., Appellees.

No. 53453.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

June 26, 1981.

Page 888

[85 Ill.2d 378] [53 Ill.Dec. 219] Tyrone C. Fahner, Atty. Gen., Chicago, and J. Michael Fitzsimmons, State's Atty., Wheaton (Melbourne A. Noel, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., and Robert L. Thompson, Asst. State's Atty.,[85 Ill.2d 379] of counsel), and James Salsbury, Law Student, for the People.

James W. Reilley and Barry E. Witlin, Chicago, for appellees.

WARD, Justice:

On May 3, 1978, the Bloomingdale police department received by mail an anonymous handwritten letter which alleged that Susan Gates and Lance Gates, her husband, were planning to travel to Florida in a few days for the purpose of obtaining illegal drugs. The letter read:

"This letter is to inform you that you have a couple in your town who strictly make their living on selling drugs. They are Sue and Lance Gates, they live on Greenway, off Bloomingdale Rd. in the condominiums. Most of their buys are done in Florida. Sue his wife drives their car to Florida where she leaves it to be loaded up with drugs, then Lance flys (sic ) down and drives it back. Sue flys (sic ) back after she drops the car off in Florida. May 3 she is driving down there again and Lance will be flying down in a few days to drive it back. At the time Lance drives the car back he has the trunk loaded with over $100,000.00 in drugs. Presently they have over $100,000.00 worth of drugs in their basement.

They brag about the fact they never have to work, and make their entire living on pushers.

I guarantee (sic ) if you watch them carefully you will make a big catch. They are friends with some big drugs dealers, who visit their house often.

Lance & Sue Gates

Greenway

in Condominiums."

The chief of police delivered the letter to Charles Mader, a detective of the Bloomingdale police department and he requested one of the department's radio operators to seek assistance from the Secretary of State's office in Springfield in obtaining a specific address for the [85 Ill.2d 380] Gates. That office advised that an Illinois driver's license had been issued to a Lance Gates residing at a stated address in Bloomingdale. Mader then communicated with a confidential informant who had, he claimed, provided reliable information to Mader during the previous two years. Upon examining certain financial records to which the informant had access, he reported a new address on Greenway Drive in Bloomingdale for the Lance Gates who had previously resided at the address in Bloomingdale furnished by the Secretary of State's office.

Upon inquiry, Mader was told by an officer of the Chicago police department assigned

Page 889

[53 Ill.Dec. 220] to O'Hare Airport that "L. Gates" had made a reservation with Eastern Airlines on its flight 245, which was to depart from O'Hare on May 5, at 4:15 p.m. The final destination of the flight was West Palm Beach, Florida.

On May 5, Mader was told by William Morely, an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, that "Lance Gates" had boarded Eastern Airlines flight 245 bound for Florida. The following day Morely informed Mader that Gates had arrived in West Palm Beach, had proceeded by cab to the West Palm Beach Holiday Inn, and had entered a room registered to Susan Gates. Agent Morely told him that he observed Gates and an unidentified woman leave the room at 7 a.m. and enter a red-vinyl-over-gray Mercury with 1978 Illinois license number RS 8437. Records at the Secretary of State's office showed that the license plate was registered for Lance B. Gates, but had been issued for a different automobile.

Based on the anonymous letter, the described information obtained from the law-enforcement authorities, and the verification of the address obtained from the confidential informant, Mader, on May 6, sought and obtained in the circuit court of Du Page County, a search warrant for both the Gates' residence in Bloomingdale and the car they were driving from Florida.

[85 Ill.2d 381] At 5:15 a.m. on May 7, Lance and Susan Gates returned by car to their home on Greenway Drive. They were immediately served with a search warrant by waiting Bloomingdale police officers. In the trunk of the Mercury the officers found several large bundles of marijuana weighing a total of approximately 350 pounds. A search of the Gates' residence uncovered more marijuana, weapons, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and several scales presumably used for weighing the drugs. Police also ascertained that the couple had cocaine in their possession. They were indicted for unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Lance Gates was separately indicted for possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The defendants filed a pretrial motion to quash the search warrant and to suppress all physical evidence obtained as a result of the search, arguing that the anonymous letter did not set forth the underlying circumstances or manner in which the informant acquired the information or that the information was reliable as required under the test for probable cause described in Aguilar v. Texas (1964), 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed.2d 723. The defendants also argued that the separate evidence obtained by Detective Mader in his independent investigations did not corroborate the anonymous informant's accusations that the Gateses were involved in criminal activity so as to support the issuance of a search warrant based on probable cause. The motions to quash and to suppress evidence were allowed by the circuit court of Du Page County, and its action was affirmed by the appellate court (82 Ill.App.3d 749, 38 Ill.Dec. 6, 403 N.E.2d 77). We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal. 73 Ill.2d R. 315(a).

Both the Constitution of the United States (U.S.Const., amend. IV) and the Constitution of Illinois (Ill.Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 6) provide assurance against [85 Ill.2d 382] unreasonable searches and seizures of person and property. The determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant must be made by a "neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime." (Johnson v. United States (1948), 333 U.S. 10, 14, 68 S.Ct. 367, 369, 92 L.Ed. 436, 440.) This determination also must be based upon the sworn observations or on other sufficient facts or circumstances presented under oath before a magistrate. The Supreme Court in Aguilar v. Texas (1964), 378 U.S. 108, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 12 L.Ed.2d 723, considering its decisions in Giordenello v. United States (1958), 357 U.S. 480, 78 S.Ct. 1245, 2 L.Ed.2d 1503, Johnson v. United States (1948), 333 U.S. 10, 68 S.Ct. 367, 92 L.Ed. 436, Nathanson v. United States (1933), 290 U.S. 41, 54 S.Ct. 11, 78 L.Ed. 159, and United States v. Lefkowitz (1932), 285 U.S. 452, 52 S.Ct. 420,

Page 890

[53 Ill.Dec. 221] 76 L.Ed. 877, announced the constitutional standard to be used by courts in deciding whether a search warrant might properly issue when the complaint for the search warrant is based in whole or in part upon information supplied by an anonymous or unidentified informant. The court stated:

"Although an affidavit may be based on hearsay information and need not reflect the direct personal observations of the affiant (citation), the magistrate must be informed of some of the underlying circumstances from which the informant concluded that the narcotics were where he claimed they were, and some of the underlying circumstances from which the officer concluded that the informant, whose identity need not be disclosed (citation), was 'credible' or his information 'reliable.' " 378 U.S. 108, 114, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 1514, 12 L.Ed.2d 723, 729.

The first part of this standard or test is often referred [85 Ill.2d 383] to as the "basis of knowledge prong" and the second part as the "veracity prong."

In Aguilar, an officer of the Houston police department applied for a search warrant on the ground that " 'reliable information (had been received) from a credible person' " that the defendant was known to have drugs on his premises for purposes of sale and personal use. The court described the affidavit as containing " 'no affirmative allegation that the affiant spoke with personal knowledge of the matters contained therein' " or "that the affiant's unidentified source 'spoke with personal knowledge.' " The court further stated that "the source here merely suspected, believed or concluded that there were narcotics in petitioner's possession. The magistrate here certainly could not 'judge for himself the persuasiveness of the facts relied on * * * to show probable cause.' He necessarily accepted 'without question' the informant's 'suspicion,' 'belief' or 'mere conclusion.' " (378 U.S. 108, 109, 113-14, 84 S.Ct. 1509, 1511, 1513-14, 12 L.Ed.2d 723, 725, 728-29, quoting Nathanson and Giordenello.) The court held that the evidence obtained from a search conducted with the warrant was inadmissible and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The first prong, or the "basis of knowledge" part of the test announced in Aguilar, is concerned with the facts and circumstances showing that the informant knew that the person named has been or will be involved in criminal conduct. The most common means of satisfying this requirement is by the informant's declaration that he is revealing personal knowledge gathered through some physical sensory faculty such as that of sight, smell or sound. (See, e.g., Stanley v. State (1974), 19 Md.App. 507, 531, 313 A.2d 847, 861.) Statements containing mere conclusions of criminal activity without a statement regarding independent facts and personal observations do not provide a sufficient basis for a neutral [85 Ill.2d 384] magistrate to decide to...

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  • 694 F.2d 44 (2nd Cir. 1982), 187, United States v. Zucco
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • November 24, 1982
    ...[3] The affidavits in this case provided a stronger foundation for probable cause than the affidavits considered in Illinois v. Gates, 85 Ill.2d 376, 53 Ill.Dec. 218, 423 N.E.2d 887 (1981), cert. granted, --- U.S. ----, 102 S.Ct. 997, 71 L.Ed.2d 291 (1982). In Gates, the Illinois Supreme Co......
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    ...really incident to the employment, like the risk of medical mistreatment. On a more human level, Justice Simon observed in McCormick, 85 Ill.2d at 376, 53 Ill.Dec. at 217-18, 423 N.E.2d at 886-87: McCormick probably felt like a patient rather than an employee. If someone had asked what he w......
  • 423 N.E.2d 876 (Ill. 1981), 53353, Mccormick v. Caterpillar Tractor Co.
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court of Illinois
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    ...obligations of doctors. In the present case, the different people involved had conflicting expectations. Caterpillar may well have felt [85 Ill.2d 376] that it was merely discharging its duties as employer as best it could. McCormick probably felt like a patient rather than an employee. If ......
  • 996 N.E.2d 1143 (Ill.App. 4 Dist. 2013), 4-13-0142, People v. Woodrome
    • United States
    • Illinois Court of Appeals of Illinois
    • September 11, 2013
    ...the reliability of the informant's basis of knowledge and it was sufficiently corroborated to demonstrate his veracity. People v. Gates, 85 Ill.2d 376 [53 Ill.Dec. 218], 423 N.E.2d 887 (1981). Under the facts of this case, the court does not believe that there was sufficient detail in the i......
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30 cases
  • 694 F.2d 44 (2nd Cir. 1982), 187, United States v. Zucco
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • November 24, 1982
    ...[3] The affidavits in this case provided a stronger foundation for probable cause than the affidavits considered in Illinois v. Gates, 85 Ill.2d 376, 53 Ill.Dec. 218, 423 N.E.2d 887 (1981), cert. granted, --- U.S. ----, 102 S.Ct. 997, 71 L.Ed.2d 291 (1982). In Gates, the Illinois Supreme Co......
  • 342 S.E.2d 73 (W.Va. 1985), CC950, Deller v. Naymick
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
    • November 21, 1985
    ...really incident to the employment, like the risk of medical mistreatment. On a more human level, Justice Simon observed in McCormick, 85 Ill.2d at 376, 53 Ill.Dec. at 217-18, 423 N.E.2d at 886-87: McCormick probably felt like a patient rather than an employee. If someone had asked what he w......
  • 423 N.E.2d 876 (Ill. 1981), 53353, Mccormick v. Caterpillar Tractor Co.
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court of Illinois
    • June 26, 1981
    ...obligations of doctors. In the present case, the different people involved had conflicting expectations. Caterpillar may well have felt [85 Ill.2d 376] that it was merely discharging its duties as employer as best it could. McCormick probably felt like a patient rather than an employee. If ......
  • 996 N.E.2d 1143 (Ill.App. 4 Dist. 2013), 4-13-0142, People v. Woodrome
    • United States
    • Illinois Court of Appeals of Illinois
    • September 11, 2013
    ...the reliability of the informant's basis of knowledge and it was sufficiently corroborated to demonstrate his veracity. People v. Gates, 85 Ill.2d 376 [53 Ill.Dec. 218], 423 N.E.2d 887 (1981). Under the facts of this case, the court does not believe that there was sufficient detail in the i......
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