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People v. Sherman S.

– charged with Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (Class X) (22.6 grams of heroin); Chicago, IL

Case dismissed after Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence Granted

A Chicago police narcotics unit set up a surveillance at a particular south side intersection after receiving a letter from the Alderman containing complaints of narcotics sales at the location. The letter contained a physical description of the person and also a vehicle description. The letter, however, did not contain any information regarding the source of the Alderman’s information, i.e. the informant’s identity, basis of knowledge, reliability, truthfulness, etc. The surveillance officer testified that he saw two people approach my client’s car and engage in a suspected hand-to-hand transaction. On cross-examination, attorney, John McNamara, got the officer to admit that he never saw any items or money being exchanged. The police also claimed that my client committed traffic violations while driving from the scene. After my client pulled over, he produced a valid driver’s license and insurance. The police officer still ordered my client out of the vehicle, despite the fact that the officer never saw any furtive movements and was not concerned for his safety.  According to the police, one packet of heroin fell from my clients waistband to the street upon his exit from the car. An additional 137 items were recovered from his underwear. Police claimed that my client made a statement admitting possession of the heroin.

The attorney, John McNamara, wrote and filed a Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence.  At hearing on the Motion, he established that the Alderman’s letter amounted to nothing more than an uncorroborated anonymous tip. Even with the letter, the surveillance officer’s observations still did not amount to probable cause to arrest. Effective cross-examination showed the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop to be not believable. At argument, the attorney persuaded the judge that the officers did not have the authority to order my client from the car after a traffic stop, once he produced his license and insurance. The judge agreed and granted our Motion thereby suppressing the heroin. The state was forced to dismiss the case, saving my client from the penitentiary.

If these issues apply to your situation, contact John McNamara for help.