"Cases Pending" Highlights Cases to be Heard During Illinois Supreme Court's May Term

May 03, 2018 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Cases Pending, co-chaired by Gretchen Harris Sperry (left) and Catherine Basque Weiler, has been updated to discuss the Illinois Supreme Court's May Term, which begins Monday, May 14, 2018, with oral arguments scheduled for May 15-17, 2018 and May 22-23, 2018.  A total of 15 cases will be heard – 10 criminal and 5 civil.  The following 11 criminal cases are scheduled for argument this term:

People v. Darien Harris, No. 121932: May 15

People v. Jerome Bingham, No. 122008: May 15

People v. Kirk Zimmerman (The Pantagraph, WGLT FM, and the IL Press Assoc., Intervenors), No. 122261: May 15

People v. Torrence Dupree, No. 122307: May 16

People v. Shane Harvey, No. 122325: May 16

People v. Ahmet Gocmen, No. 122388: May 16

People v. Derrick Bonilla, No. 122484: May 16

People v. Jennifer Nere, No. 122566: May 17

People v. Nelson Young, No. 122598: May 17

People v. Jafaria Deforrest Newton, No. 122958: May 17

Below is a summary for one of the criminal cases, People v. Ahmet Gocmen.  Summaries for this case and others pending with the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.

People v. Ahmet Gocmen

Defendant, Ahmet Gocmen, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or combination of drugs (DUI drugs) under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4) (2015), and his driver's license was summarily suspended.  Defendant filed a petition to rescind the suspension, alleging that the officer did not have probable cause for the arrest.  The circuit court granted the petition, and the appellate court affirmed in a published split decision.

Officer Beaty responded to a scene at 11:10 a.m. regarding an unconscious driver; paramedics were already present.  Beaty observed that defendant was in and out of consciousness, struggled to respond to verbal commands, and was confused about his location.  Paramedics told Beaty that he had a high heart rate, pinpoint pupils, and a "fresh track mark" on his arm.  In the vehicle, Beaty found a baggie containing an unidentified brown, granular substance, a used syringe, and a partial metal beverage can with burn marks on its interior and a tannish residue on its exterior that field-tested positive for an illicit drug.  Defendant told Beaty and paramedics that he was a diabetic, and Beaty testified to no training or experience in identifying drug use.

The lower courts concluded that Beaty lacked probable cause to arrest defendant for DUI drugs given that the syringe and track mark could be explained by defendant's diabetes and that Beaty was not an expert in recognizing drug intoxication.

Before the Illinois Supreme Court, the State argues for reversal on any of three bases, including that the appellate majority erred because: (1) interpreting the circumstances presented did not involve applying expertise in recognizing drug intoxication; (2) the low probable cause standard applied; and (3) laypersons as well as experts should be allowed to opine on whether a person observed is under the influence of drugs.  Defendant agrees with the majority that a non-expert should never be found competent to believe that a person is under the influence of drugs, whether at a probable cause stage or when testifying at trial.

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