People v. Cregan

Police officers testified that they received a tip that Cregan would arrive by train on November 3, 2009, and that he had an active warrant for his arrest. They learned that he was a member of the Satan Disciples gang and that a civil warrant sought his arrest for failure to pay child support. Officers waited at the train station, approached Cregan, placed him under arrest, and searched his bags. An officer testified that he intended to bring the bags into custody, as Cregan was alone, and that he intended to conduct an inventory search of the bags, pursuant to department policy. Cregan asked if his bags could be turned over to his friend Collins, but the officer told him the bags had to be searched first. Another officer testified that gang members are “known to carry weapons,” so the officers had safety concerns. Cregan testified that when he exited the train Collins was waiting to give him a ride and that he greeted Collins before the officers approached. Officers found a jar of hair gel in the bags. Its appearance was not noteworthy. Opening it, they found a bag containing powder cocaine. Cregan was charged with unlawful possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine, a controlled substance. The court denied his motion to suppress; Cregan was convicted. The appellate court held that the search was valid incident to the arrest, because the bags were immediately associated with his person and was not limited to a brief search for weapons. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, finding the search lawful incident to the arrest. View "People v. Cregan" on Justia Law