Failure to Establish a Proper Chain of Custody of Cannabis (Drugs) Evidence

In People v. Slaughter, 149 Ill. App. 3d 183, 500 N.E.2d 662, 102 Ill. Dec. 769 (1986), the State acknowledged that the evidence at issue, an envelope containing two hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes, was handled in a lackadaisical manner. Slaughter, 149 Ill. App. 3d at 186, 500 N.E.2d 665. Further, the court noted: "The testimony is wholly inadequate to 'match' the description of the envelope. The corrections officer did not testify to the color, or the size, of the envelope into which he put the cigarettes he found. He also did not state that he ever sealed the envelope, marked, labelled, or identified the envelope, or that he inventoried the envelope. Furthermore, the evidence is insufficient to trace the individuals who did have access to the envelope, or the number of persons who could have had access to it. In addition, the record does not establish the degree to which access was restricted to the correctional facility's safe. The officer stated that he himself 'dropped' the envelope into the safe. He also stated that the safe was accessible to two persons, the lieutenant and the facility's accountant. Because the officer's access to the safe enabled him to drop the envelope into the safe, we cannot determine the degree to which access to the safe was permitted, beyond the two persons specified at the hearing. Also, although the officer testified that the safe was of the type which is locked by a key, he did not state that it was locked. The record is also inconclusive with respect to whether access was restricted to the correctional facility's safe in which the guard placed the envelope containing the cannabis. The Court therefore determined that the State failed to establish a proper chain of custody of the cannabis evidence it presented at the revocation hearing." Slaughter, 149 Ill. App. 3d at 186-87.