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People v. Prowse

JUNE 10, 1966.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JAMES PROWSE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division; the Hon. WALTER P. DAHL, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE MCCORMICK DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

CHARGE: Theft. *fn1

DEFENSE AT TRIAL: Does not appear in the record.

JUDGMENT: The defendant was tried before a jury. The jury returned a verdict finding him guilty and the court sentenced him to one to ten years.

POINTS RAISED ON APPEAL:

(1) Defendant was denied his right to a speedy trial.

(2) Defendant did not waive his right to counsel.

(3) Defendant was denied his right to effective counsel.

(4) Defendant was denied constitutional due process.

STATEMENT OF FACTS: The following facts appear in the record. On October 30, 1963, the defendant was arrested, and after a preliminary hearing on November 12, 1963, was held over for the grand jury which voted a true bill on December 23, 1963.

Defendant was arraigned on December 31, 1963, and the Public Defender was appointed to represent him. Defendant's plea of not guilty was entered and the court continued the matter to January 15, 1964, on which date defendant requested a Bar Association lawyer instead of the Public Defender. The court advised defendant that if his requests were granted the delay of the trial would be charged to the defendant and the four-months statutory period would not start to run until the next continued date. Defendant acknowledged that he understood, and the case was continued to February 17, 1964. On February 17 Thomas P. Cernek was appointed to represent the defendant, and filed his appearance. The case was again continued to March 12, 1964, on order of the court, and on that date the defendant himself presented a motion to dismiss, which Attorney Cernek declined to present on the ground he did not "understand the rationale" of the motion. The motion was denied and Mr. Cernek answered ready for the defendant and demanded trial. On motion of the State the case was continued to April 20, 1964; the case was advanced to March 17, 1964, when Mr. Cernek and Eloise Johnstone [who represented in the motion that she, as well as Cernek, had been appointed to defend] moved to withdraw as defendant's attorneys. The grounds for the motion were that the attorneys had thoroughly investigated the facts and circumstances and researched the law, and had numerous conferences with the defendant, advising him of his rights, the defenses available to him and the law involved, and all matters relating to his trial; "that by reason of defendant's refusal either to cooperate with counsel, or to accept the advice of counsel, it will be impossible for present counsel to represent defendant in the within matter." It was also stated by Attorneys Cernek and Johnstone that they had received a letter from the defendant asking that they withdraw as his attorneys. The following colloquy took place between the court and the defendant:

The Court: You understand that if they withdraw, I will have to reappoint the Public Defender, and the Bar Association will not appoint other lawyers?

Defendant: I can't ask for a ...


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