People v. Shannon

Decision Date23 January 1959
Docket NumberNo. 34883,34883
Citation155 N.E.2d 578,15 Ill.2d 494,93 A.L.R.2d 1008
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Defendant in Error, v. James L. SHANNON, Plaintiff in Error.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court

James L. Shannon, pro se.

Latham Castle, Atty. Gen., Benjamin S. Adamowski, State's Atty., Chicago (Fred G. Leach, Decatur, William H. South, Carmi, and Francis X. Riley, Chicago, of counsel), for the People.

HOUSE, Justice.

The defendant, James L. Shannon, was indicted by the grand jury of Cook County on two counts: the first for an unlawful sale and the second for unlawfully dispensing narcotic drugs. He waived a jury and was tried and found guilty by the criminal court of Cook County. He was sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary for a term of two to ten years. A writ of error was issued to review the judgment and sentence.

Defendant's principal contention is that the evidence failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He further contends that the State failed to prove the corpus deliciti of the offense charged and that he was entrapped by the police.

There is no dispute as to the facts. On the night of November 10, 1956, the defendant, a person not shown to be authorized or licensed to sell or dispense narcotic drugs, was in a restaurant near Forty-seventh Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago. He was approached by one Harold Slayton who asked the defendant where he Slayton, could get a supply of narcotics. Slayton testified that he referred specifically to hereoin. The defendant referred to it simply as 'stuff.' Whatever word was used, it is clear they both understood Slayton's request to refer to narcotic drugs.

The defendant then took Slayton down to a corner tavern. On the way, Slayton gave the defendant four one-dollar bills, three dollars of which were for the narcotics and one dollar for the defendant. At the tavern, defendant called one Clarice Clemons aside and arranged for her to get some narcotics for Slayton. She took three of the one-dollar bills, went upstairs in an adjacent hotel and returned with a small brown package containing what was later identified as a supply of heroin. The package was given to the defendant who in turn gave it to Slayton. Shortly thereafter, the defendant and Clarice Clemons were arrested by two police officers who had accompanied Slayton.

Under the foregoing admitted facts, there can be no doubt of the defendant's guilt as charged in count 2 of the indictment. He was there charged with unlawfully dispensing narcotic drugs. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1955, chap. 38, par. 192.1(19) defines 'dispense' as including 'distribute, leave with give away, dispose of, or deliver.' According to the defendant's own testimony, he delivered the narcotics by handing it to Slayton.

The defendant tries to ignore count 2 and argues that there was no sale by him, but asserts that at most he was acting as agent for Slayton as purchaser. 'Sale,' as defined by the statute (Ill.Rev.Stat.1955, chap. 38, par. 192.1(10), 'includes barter, exchange, or gift, or offer therefor, and each such transaction made by any person, whether as principal, proprietor, agent, servant, or employee.' We interpret the meaning of the word 'sale,' as defined by the act, to be much broader in scope than that usually given to it in other branches of the law. Admittedly, the defendant took the role of at least an agent, and the act specifically declares an agent in a narcotics transaction to be a seller. We are of the opinion that the definition shows a legislative...

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52 cases
  • People v. Cattaneo
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • February 20, 1990
    ...v. State (Okl.Cr.1975) 543 P.2d 761, 763-764.) Some states such as California have never recognized the defense. (People v. Shannon (1959) 15 Ill.2d 494, 155 N.E.2d 578, 580; State v. Allen (Me.1972) 292 A.2d 167, 170-172; State v. Baltier (Ariz.1973) 109 Ariz. 96, 505 P.2d 556, 557.)3 In t......
  • People v. Roche
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • June 15, 1978
    ...(Del.Supr.); Brooks v. State, 125 Ga.App. 867, 189 S.E.2d 448, cert. den. 409 U.S. 1129, 93 S.Ct. 935, 35 L.Ed.2d 262; People v. Shannon, 15 Ill.2d 494, 155 N.E.2d 578; State v. Stone, 114 N.H. 114, 316 A.2d 196; State v. Weissman, 73 N.J.Super. 274, 179 A.2d 748; State v. Dwyer, 172 N.W.2d......
  • United States v. People of State of Illinois
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • April 14, 1964 People v. McSmith, 23 Ill.2d 87, 178 N.E.2d 641 (1961); People v. Strong, 21 Ill.2d 320, 172 N.E.2d 765 (1961); People v. Shannon, 15 Ill.2d 494, 155 N.E.2d 578 (1959); People v. Outten, 13 Ill.2d 21, 147 N.E.2d 284 (1958); and People v. Clark, 7 Ill.2d 163, 130 N.E.2d 195 (1955). The co......
  • State v. Allen
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • June 16, 1972
    ...under the Act. 3 The Federal Courts have reached a similar result under a somewhat similarly worded statute. 4 In People v. Shannon, 1959, 15 Ill.2d 494, 155 N.E.2d 578, the Illinois Court rejected this 'purchasing agent' doctrine contended for by the appellant in these 'We interpret the me......
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1 books & journal articles
  • New Techniques in Defending Drug Cases
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 4-5, May 1975
    • Invalid date
    ...that the Supreme Court of Illinois has given a far broader interpretation to the word "agent" in its sale statute [see People v. Shannon, 15 Ill. 2d 494, 155 N.E.2d 578 (1959)]. However, we are convinced that a procuring agent who buys from a third party with funds provided by his principle......

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