People v. Wardlow, No. 1-96-0094

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtDiVITO
Citation678 N.E.2d 65,287 Ill.App.3d 367
Parties, 222 Ill.Dec. 658 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Sam WARDLOW, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 1-96-0094
Decision Date18 March 1997

Page 65

678 N.E.2d 65
287 Ill.App.3d 367, 222 Ill.Dec. 658
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Sam WARDLOW, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 1-96-0094.
Appellate Court of Illinois,
First District, Second Division.
March 18, 1997.

Page 66

[222 Ill.Dec. 659] [287 Ill.App.3d 368] Rita A. Fry, Public Defender of Cook County, Chicago (Eileen T. Pahl, Asst. Public Defender, of counsel), for Defendant-Appellant.

Jack O'Malley, State's Attorney, County of Cook, Chicago (Renee Goldfarb, Veronica X. Calderon, of counsel), * for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Justice DiVITO delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial, defendant Sam Wardlow was found guilty of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. The sole issue in this appeal is whether the circuit court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress the gun that was seized from him during an investigatory stop. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that defendant's motion to suppress should have been granted and we reverse his conviction.

At the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress, Officer Timothy Nolan testified that on September 9, 1995, he and his partner, Officer Harvey, were assigned to the special operations section of the Chicago police department. They were among eight officers in four cars who were driving eastbound on West Van Buren. Officer Nolan's car was last in the line of vehicles driving in the area. Although Officer Nolan could not recall whether his car was marked, he and his partner were in uniform. There was no evidence concerning whether any of the other cars were marked or concerning the clothing of the other officers.

The cars were "caravaning" eastbound down Van Buren, when Officer Nolan observed defendant, who was not violating any laws, standing near the front of 4035 West Van Buren Street. Defendant looked in the officers' direction, then fled. Holding a white bag under his arm, he ran through a gangway and then through an alley. Officer Nolan drove south, observing defendant as he ran. Near 4036 West Congress, defendant ran towards him.

Officer Nolan exited his car and stopped defendant. Without announcing [287 Ill.App.3d 369] his office or asking any questions, he conducted a protective pat-down search of defendant. He could not see inside the plastic bag that defendant was carrying. He patted the outside of the bag and "felt a hard object that had a similar shape to a revolver or a gun." Officer Nolan believed the object, which was very heavy, to be a weapon. He looked inside the bag and found a .38-caliber handgun containing five live rounds of ammunition. He then placed defendant under arrest.

Officer Nolan testified that he and the other officers had gone to the area because it was "one of the areas in the 11th District that's high narcotics traffic." Based upon his experience with investigation of areas in which narcotics are sold, Officer Nolan knew that it was common to find weapons in the vicinity of such areas.

The police report indicated that defendant, who was 44 years old, was arrested at 12:15 p.m.

The circuit court denied the motion to suppress. A stipulated bench trial followed, and defendant was found guilty of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and was sentenced to a two-year term of imprisonment.

In this appeal, defendant contends that the circuit court erred in denying his motion to suppress because his presence in a high crime area and flight from the police officers were insufficient to justify his investigatory stop. We note that although no Illinois court has considered whether sudden flight from police officers in a high crime area justifies a stop, other jurisdictions are divided on the question. Compare Harris v. State, 205 Ga.App. 813, 423 S.E.2d 723 (1992), and State v. White, 660 So.2d 515 (La.Ct.App.1995)(flight from police officers in high crime area justifies investigatory stop), with People v.

Page 67

[222 Ill.Dec. 660] Holmes, 81 N.Y.2d 1056, 619 N.E.2d 396, 601 N.Y.S.2d 459 (1993), Hopkins v. State, 661 So.2d 774 (Ala.Crim.App.1994), Britt v. State, 673 So.2d 934 (Fla.App.1996), and State v. Hicks, 241 Neb. 357, 488 N.W.2d 359 (1992) (flight from police officers in high crime area does not justify stop).

Where, as here, there is no challenge to the facts or the credibility of the witnesses, we review a motion to suppress de novo. People v. Foskey, 136 Ill.2d 66, 76, 143 Ill.Dec. 257, 554...

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8 practice notes
  • People v. Timmsen, No. 3–12–0481.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 25, 2014
    ...suspicion.) The United States Supreme Court has previously corrected an Illinois court for similar thinking.¶ 34 In People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 222 Ill.Dec. 658, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997), a Chicago police officer was driving a police car while in full uniform and observed defendant “......
  • State v. Sizer, No. 0784
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 29, 2016
    ...reversed the conviction, holding that Officer Nolan did not have reasonable suspicion to justify a Terry stop. 287 Ill. App. 3d. 367, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. 183 Ill. 2d 306, 701 N.E.2d 484 (1998). On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court reversed th......
  • People v. Jackson, Docket No. 1–10–3300.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 26, 2012
    ...he had gone to this area because it was " ‘one of the areas in the 11th District that's high narcotics traffic.’ " People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 369, 222 Ill.Dec. 658, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997). The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress and defendant was subsequently convict......
  • State v. Sizer, No. 0784, Sept. Term, 2016
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 29, 2016
    ...reversed the conviction, holding that Officer Nolan did not have reasonable suspicion to justify a Terry stop. People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 678 N.E.2d 65, 222 Ill.Dec. 658 (1997). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. People v. Wardlow, 183 Ill.2d 306, 701 N.E.2d 484, 233 Ill.Dec. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • People v. Timmsen, No. 3–12–0481.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 25, 2014
    ...suspicion.) The United States Supreme Court has previously corrected an Illinois court for similar thinking.¶ 34 In People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 222 Ill.Dec. 658, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997), a Chicago police officer was driving a police car while in full uniform and observed defendant “......
  • State v. Sizer, No. 0784
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 29, 2016
    ...reversed the conviction, holding that Officer Nolan did not have reasonable suspicion to justify a Terry stop. 287 Ill. App. 3d. 367, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. 183 Ill. 2d 306, 701 N.E.2d 484 (1998). On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court reversed th......
  • People v. Jackson, Docket No. 1–10–3300.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 26, 2012
    ...he had gone to this area because it was " ‘one of the areas in the 11th District that's high narcotics traffic.’ " People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 369, 222 Ill.Dec. 658, 678 N.E.2d 65 (1997). The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress and defendant was subsequently convict......
  • State v. Sizer, No. 0784, Sept. Term, 2016
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 29, 2016
    ...reversed the conviction, holding that Officer Nolan did not have reasonable suspicion to justify a Terry stop. People v. Wardlow, 287 Ill.App.3d 367, 678 N.E.2d 65, 222 Ill.Dec. 658 (1997). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. People v. Wardlow, 183 Ill.2d 306, 701 N.E.2d 484, 233 Ill.Dec. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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