Illinois Appellate Court Affirmed Finding of Probable Cause to Arrest Based on Repeatedly Yelling One Word
On July 27, 2011, the Illinois Appellate Court’s First District issued a corrected opinion in People v. Neal (No. 1-09-2814) https://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2011/1stDistrict/June/1092814.pdf, that a person standing on a street corner repeatedly yelling the word “blows” was properly subject to an arrest for a Chicago ordinance violation and property subjected to a custodial search which uncovered heroin.
At a pre-trial motion, a Chicago Police Officer testified that he observed the defendant standing on a street corner repeatedly yelling “blows,” a term he knew from his 15 years of law enforcement experience to mean heroin. He arrested the defendant for violating an ordinance that prohibits soliciting unlawful business. He subsequently recovered seven packets containing 1.5 grams of heroin.
The Appellate Court, noting that it had previously upheld a constitutional challenge to the ordinance that targets drug dealers and prostitutes, ruled that there was probable cause for the defendant’s arrest and that the search incident to the arrest was proper. The defendant’s conviction for possession of a controlled substance was affirmed.