People v. Craine

Decision Date26 March 2020
Docket NumberNo. 1-16-3403,1-16-3403
Citation2020 IL App (1st) 163403,446 Ill.Dec. 281,170 N.E.3d 107
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Alandis CRAINE, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and David T. Harris, of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Whitney Bond, and Maria D. Lopez, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.

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

¶ 1 Following a bench trial, defendant, Alandis Craine, was found guilty of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, then sentenced to a term of 26 months' imprisonment. On appeal, defendant contends that the court erred in denying his motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence where the police officers lacked probable cause and exigent circumstances to enter his home and effectuate the arrest. Defendant also contends that the consent to search his home was not given voluntarily and knowingly given the inherently coercive environment. Finally, defendant contends that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had possession of the firearm and cannabis found in the bedroom of his home. For the reasons that follow, we find that the court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress and, accordingly, vacate defendant's convictions and sentence.

¶ 3 A. Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence

¶ 4 Prior to trial, defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence. In the motion, defendant contended that the police officers who arrested him had no arrest warrant and that his conduct prior to his arrest was not such that would reasonably be interpreted by the arresting officers as constituting probable cause to arrest. Defendant also contended that the search of his home following his arrest was unconstitutional.

¶ 5 At the suppression hearing, Darnell Moore testified that on July 10, 2014, at 11:15 p.m., he and defendant were sitting on the porch in front of defendant's house on South Throop Street in Chicago, Illinois. Moore heard gunshots. About a minute later, a police vehicle turned onto the street. Moore noted that the police vehicle was going the wrong way on the one-way street in front of defendant's home. Moore testified that defendant was "already walking in the house" when police officers exited the vehicle in front of the house. As defendant was closing the door to the house, the police officers "ran and busted in the door." Moore testified that defendant was not running when he entered the house, was not holding his side, and did not have a gun. Moore testified that the gunshots did not originate from the street they were on and seemed to have come from a block or two away from their location.

¶ 6 On cross-examination, Moore testified that they could not see anything in the direction of the gunshots because it was dark and the streetlights were out. Moore also testified that the police vehicles were driving at a high rate of speed when they turned onto Throop Street and drove toward defendant's house. Moore testified that, before the officers even exited their vehicle, defendant was already inside his house with the door closed. Although he did not see defendant enter the house because his attention was focused on the police officers, he testified that he heard the door to the house "click" closed after he saw defendant walking through the door.

¶ 7 Defendant's grandmother, Pearlie Craine (Pearlie), testified that she was in the dining room of the house on South Throop Street when police arrested defendant. She testified that she heard a noise and then saw police officers in her living room. Pearlie testified that the officers searched the house without asking permission to conduct a search. Pearlie testified that the house did not smell like marijuana because she is asthmatic and would react to any strong odors. She further testified that there are three doors at the front entrance to the house and the police damaged all three of them when they came into the house. She identified the damage to the doors on exhibits introduced by the defense.

¶ 8 Pearlie further testified that, after the police recovered a gun and cannabis from their search, the officers presented Pearlie with a form to sign. The officers told Pearlie she had to sign the form to acknowledge the items they were removing from the house. Pearlie testified that she did not have her glasses when she signed the form, so she could not read it. Nonetheless, Pearlie signed the document because she had a conversation with one of the officers regarding their membership in the Master Masons, a fraternal organization. Pearlie testified that she thought she could trust the officer because they were reminiscing about people they knew from the organization before she signed the form. Pearlie testified that the officers searched the entire house and only presented her with the form to sign as they were about to leave. She testified that she did not consent to any search and they did not ask her permission to search the home.

¶ 9 On cross-examination, Pearlie testified that there were several officers in her house. She also testified that, when the officer asked her to sign the consent to search form, the officer had his hand covering the "consent to search" title at the top of the document. Pearlie acknowledged that her signature was on the signature line of the form.

¶ 10 Chicago police sergeant Emmett McClendon testified that on the night of July 10, 2014, he was driving an unmarked Chicago police vehicle when he heard gunshots coming from somewhere between 78th Street and 80th Street on South Throop Street. En route to that location, Sergeant McClendon observed two individuals standing on a porch outside of a home at 7944 South Throop Street. Sergeant McClendon did not see anyone else in the area. As he drove down the street, defendant looked in McClendon's direction and then "held his right side" and tried to enter the house. Sergeant McClendon testified that defendant was "[p]lacing his right hand on his right hip as if he was trying to conceal something." Defendant then ran inside the residence. Sergeant McClendon testified that, as he pulled up in front of the house, he shouted " ‘police; stop’ " but defendant did not stop.

¶ 11 Sergeant McClendon believed that defendant might have a weapon on him based on the gunshots he heard fired in the vicinity. He therefore ran after defendant into the house. Defendant attempted to close the door to the house, but Sergeant McClendon was able to push through the door into the house. Sergeant McClendon testified that defendant attempted to lock the door to the house "but it didn't lock." Sergeant McClendon testified that he did not cause any damage to any of the doors while entering the house. Sergeant McClendon was able to detain defendant in the foyer between the living and dining areas of the home. Sergeant McClendon conducted a protective pat-down of defendant but did not recover any weapon. Several other officers entered the house with Sergeant McClendon.

¶ 12 Sergeant McClendon then spoke to Pearlie and informed her that he smelled cannabis inside the house. Sergeant McClendon then asked for her consent to search the home. Sergeant McClendon prepared a consent to search form and filled out the details. When he presented it to Pearlie, she asked if she could retrieve her glasses so that she could read the form. Sergeant McClendon allowed her to do so. Sergeant McClendon testified that, after putting on her glasses, Pearlie read the consent to search form "several times" and then signed it. Sergeant McClendon then asked Pearlie to direct the officers to defendant's bedroom, and she complied. Sergeant McClendon did not search the bedroom himself, but other members of the tactical team did. Sergeant McClendon stayed with Pearlie in the dining room, and they discussed their membership as Master Masons.

¶ 13 On cross-examination, Sergeant McClendon testified that, after hearing the gunshots, he drove toward Throop Street because in his experience he was "pretty good on judging the area of where the shots had come from."

¶ 14 In ruling on defendant's motion, the circuit court observed that both Sergeant McClendon and Moore testified that there were gunshots fired in the area. The court noted that the police do not have to be "100 percent certain" that a person who is making a "furtive movement" in fact has a weapon, but the court determined that, based on the totality of the circumstances, the police were justified in pulling up to the house. The court noted that there were no other individuals on the street. The court found Sergeant McClendon's testimony "to be more credible in terms of the arrival of the police and the entry of the Defendant into the home making a movement."

¶ 15 The court also found Sergeant McClendon's testimony more credible than Pearlie's with regard to the consent to search. The court noted that Pearlie testified that she was "practically blind" without her glasses but was able to sign "very clearly and very accurately" on the consent to search form. Accordingly, the court denied defendant's motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence.

¶ 16 B. Trial

¶ 17 At trial, Chicago police officer Luis Escobedo testified that on July 14, 2014, he and his partner were en route to a burglary on 79th and Justine Streets when he heard two gunshots. Officer Escobedo heard a radio call from Sergeant McClendon, who was already on the scene of the burglary, that he also heard the two gunshots. Officer Escobedo and his partner went to the area where they believed the gunshots had been fired. Officer Escobedo spoke to two individuals who indicated that the gunshots came from South Throop Street. On his way to that location,...

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2 cases
  • People v. Wilson
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    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
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  • People v. McClendon
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    ...566, 793 N.E.2d 46 (2003). Furthermore, avoiding an unmarked car does not support an inference of criminal activity. See People v. Craine , 2020 IL App (1st) 163403, ¶¶ 33-47, 446 Ill.Dec. 281, 170 N.E.3d 107 ; People v. Rockey , 322 Ill. App. 3d 832, 838, 256 Ill.Dec. 696, 752 N.E.2d 576 (......

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