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Article posted: 4/18/2013 7:20 PM

Drug conviction reversed, Elgin man denied certificate

By Harry Hitzeman

A 40-year-old Elgin man, who got his conviction for cocaine possession reversed by an appellate court on a technicality, has failed in his bid to obtain a "Certificate of Innocence."

An appellate court panel ruled this month that even though James E. Dumas was not guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver after a failed drug deal along Randall Road in late 2008, his own actions contributed to his initial conviction.

A Kane County judge denied Dumas' request for a "Certificate of Innocence," thus prompting the appeal.

"Defendant voluntarily caused or brought about his own conviction," the appellate judges concluded. "As the trial court noted, the record shows that defendant took multiple steps to arrange the drug sale with (the undercover officer) which ultimately led to his arrest and conviction."

Dumas, of the 500 block of Preston Avenue, was convicted in fall 2009 of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and sentenced to 15 years in prison. An appellate panel in late 2011 overturned the conviction, ruling that although Dumas set up a drug deal in a grocery store parking in Elgin, he did not take control of the drugs.

According to court documents, Dumas met with an undercover Elgin cop and said he was looking for a "consistent cocaine supplier if the price was right." Dumas and the officer met a week later in the parking lot so Dumas could buy a kilogram of cocaine for $26,000.

The officer and Dumas sat in the officer's car and Dumas briefly held the drugs.

But Dumas said his friends wanted to sample the quality of the drug and Dumas wanted to move the drug deal to a house on the east side of Elgin, which also is where the money was, according to court records.

The officer followed Dumas for a couple blocks, but didn't go to the east side. The officer said changing the site of the deal would pose a hazard that could get him robbed, killed or both.

Dumas was charged in early 2009, but the appellate panel overturned the case.

"The mere fact that the defendant could have exited the car with the cocaine did not establish possession because the defendant never exercised any actual dominion of control over it," the panel wrote.

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