Does Packaging of a Small Amount of Drugs Demonstrate Intent to Deliver ?

In People v. Sherrod, No. 1-07-0989, 394 Ill. App. 3d 863, 863, 916 N.E.2d 1256, 334 Ill. Dec. 368 (October 7, 2009), the third division reduced a defendant's conviction for possession with intent to deliver to possession of a controlled substance. In that case, the evidence presented was that the defendant was pulled over after turning right on a red light in a car without a license plate. When the officer ran the vehicle identification number, he discovered that the car was stolen and the defendant was arrested. At the police station, an officer performed a custodial search of the defendant and recovered $ 35 and a clear plastic bag containing 17 knotted clear baggies, which each contained a very small, white rock-like substance. Subsequent testing of the baggies disclosed that the baggies contained a total of 1.8 grams of cocaine. Defendant was found guilty of possession with intent to deliver. Sherrod, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 864. On appeal, the State argued that the packaging alone was sufficient evidence of the defendant's intent to deliver, but the reviewing court disagreed, noting that no other factors were present to show an intent to deliver. There was no testimony that the amount was inconsistent with personal consumption while the defendant had only $ 35 in cash at the time of his arrest. Further, no evidence was presented regarding the purity of the recovered drugs and the defendant did not possess weapons, scanners, beepers, a cellular telephone or drug-trafficking paraphernalia. Sherrod, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 866. The court noted that it could "find no case where packaging alone of a small amount of an illegal substance demonstrated intent to deliver." Sherrod, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 868. Accordingly, the court held that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction for possession with intent to deliver. Sherrod, 394 Ill. App. 3d at 868.