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People v. Gipson

786 N.E.2d 540 (2003)

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People v. Gipson

Illinois Supreme Court

786 N.E.2d 540 (2003)

Facts

A police officer stopped Curtis Gipson (defendant) for a cracked windshield. A registration check showed that Gipson’s driver’s license had been revoked. The officer arrested Gipson for driving on a revoked license, called a tow truck for Gipson’s car, and conducted an inventory search of the car. The department’s standard inventory search included searching the car’s passenger compartment and trunk for valuables and recording the items on a tow sheet. During his search, the officer discovered two small bags of crack cocaine in a larger bag stored in the trunk of the car. The officer ticketed Gipson for the cracked windshield and driving on a revoked license. The state (plaintiff) charged Gipson with drug possession. Gipson moved to suppress the evidence. During the suppression hearing, the arresting officer testified about his department’s standard inventory-search procedure. The state did not produce the department’s written procedure, and the defense did not cross-examine the officer about the procedure. The trial judge asked the officer whether the procedure had been reduced to writing. The officer responded that the procedure was contained in a 600-page policy manual. The trial judge granted the motion to suppress the evidence, reasoning that the manual had not been submitted into evidence and that the officer’s testimony was one interpretation of the procedure. The state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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