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People v. Moulton

MAY 18, 1967.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ROBERT IRA MOULTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Marshall County; the Hon. EDWARD E. HAUGENS, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

ALLOY, J.

Rehearing denied June 8, 1967.

Robert Ira Moulton filed in this court on October 14, 1966, a document described as "Petition for Writ of Error" asserting that he was denied his constitutional right to appointment of counsel under the Federal and State Constitutions and Rules of Court. We recognized defendant's appeal and appointed able counsel for him. His appeal is before us under Supreme Court Rule 602 from a conviction for armed robbery which was entered on a plea of guilty to a criminal information.

On appeal in this court, defendant contends that the record discloses that he did not have counsel appointed for him at the trial level, and also that he did not make an effective waiver of indictment by the Grand Jury or of the right to appointment of counsel. On the record, the basic issue before us is whether the defendant intelligently and understandingly rejected the offer of counsel.

The record discloses that the defendant was arrested on February 28, 1966, on a criminal complaint signed by one Mildred West charging defendant with the offense of armed robbery. The complaint was approved after the court heard testimony from the complaining witness under oath. Bail was fixed in the amount of $10,000. Defendant was taken into custody and a copy of the criminal complaint was served upon him. A criminal information was filed in the Circuit Court of Marshall County charging defendant with the offense of armed robbery. The information was signed by the State's Attorney and verified by the complaining witness under oath and also contained a list of prosecution witnesses. On the 7th day of March, 1966 (seven days after defendant was arrested), defendant appeared pro se in court on Arraignment. The court asked defendant whether he had a copy of the information and could read and understand it and then proceeded with the following:

"Q. Mr. Moulton, this Information charges you with the offense of Armed Robbery, which is a felony under Illinois law. By a felony, I mean it is a criminal offense, the punishment therefor being by sentence to the Illinois State Penitentiary. Now, you have been brought before the Court here today, Mr. Moulton, and I shall attempt to explain to you your legal rights under the Constitution and Statutes and laws of our State, and as I do so, if there is anything you do not understand, I want you to ask me, and when I am finished if you have any further questions, we likewise want you to ask them.

"A. Yes, sir.

"Q. Now, Mr. Moulton, this information that has been presented to me, of which you have received a copy, you will note upon examination of it that it has been signed by the State's Attorney of this County and sworn to by a witness who stated under oath that the facts in the Information are true. Now, whenever a felony is involved, meaning an offense which carries with it a possible penitentiary sentence, the Constitution and the Statutes of our State provide that the Grand Jury of the county in which the offense was committed should return an indictment charging the Defendant with the offense and then the Defendant is brought before the Court to answer the indictment. Now, the law further provides that if the Defendant, or the one charged with the commission of a felony, is willing to waive the complaint being brought before the Grand Jury or the returning of an indictment and to answer to the indictment returned by the Grand Jury, that if the Defendant is willing to waive that, then he may be prosecuted on an Information signed only by the State's Attorney and, on oath, by the witness. Now, do you understand what a Grand Jury is, Mr. Moulton?

"A. Yes, sir.

"Q. Do you understand what an indictment is, returned by a Grand Jury?

"A. Yes, sir.

"Q. An information, that we have here, is merely a written document charging you with a criminal offense. An indictment is a written document which the Grand Jury of the County makes up and hands to the Court, charging you with an offense. In case of an indictment, you are brought before the Court to answer to an indictment. In this case, you have been brought before the Court on an Information. Is that clear to you, what I have said so far?

"A. Yes, sir.

"Q. Now, are you willing to waive your right to have this brought before the Grand Jury so that you can be ...


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