Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, County
Department, Criminal Division; the Hon. JAMES J. MEJDA, Judge,
MR. JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
On April 22, 1966, upon a plea of guilty, the trial court imposed a sentence of 14 to 20 years.
On April 20, 1967, this court allowed defendant's petition to file a late Notice of Appeal *fn1 and gave him leave to proceed as a poor person. We also appointed counsel to represent defendant on appeal and extended the time for filing record, abstracts and briefs. The record was filed in due course, the trial court having previously directed that it be prepared without cost to defendant. There was no need for a report of proceedings in this case since verbatim reports of the proceedings at arraignment, at the entry of defendant's guilty plea, and at the hearing on aggravation and mitigation were made parts of the common law record (pursuant to Rule 608 (a)).
On November 10, 1967, the attorney appointed to represent defendant filed a petition for leave to withdraw from the case, on the ground that he was unable to find any legal points which were arguable on their merits. He also filed a brief in support of the petition in which he apparently sought to comply with the requirements of Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738.
This brief, which had obviously been prepared with professional skill and which demonstrated a conscientious examination of the record, set forth four points as the only ones occurring to defense counsel which he thought might arguably support the appeal. While the brief went into considerable detail as to each point, we shall mention them only in outline:
1. The trial court did not properly admonish defendant as to the significance and consequences of his act in entering a plea of guilty. The record, however, establishes beyond question that the court's advice to defendant was more than adequate. Ill Rev Stats (1965), c 38, § 115-2(a)(2); People v. Fitzgerald, 91 Ill. App.2d 191, 234 N.E.2d 79.
2. The court erred in not permitting defendant's privately retained counsel to withdraw and in not appointing another attorney in his stead. The record shows, however, that both court and counsel gave defendant repeated opportunities to make request for such a substitution, but that he persistently declined to do so.
3. The court erred in not ordering a sanity hearing to determine defendant's competency to stand trial. There are, however, no facts disclosed by the record which would raise any doubt as to defendant's sanity, so the court was under no obligation to conduct such a hearing. People v. Cleggett, 22 Ill.2d 471, 177 N.E.2d 187.
4. The record does not support a conviction for murder, but only for manslaughter, or some lesser charge. What the record does show is that defendant, in his own proper person and by his counsel, stipulated that the facts set forth in the indictment were "true and correct and sufficient to support the charge of murder." Beyond that, the witnesses for the State were present in court and prepared to testify. The State's Attorney recited to the court what each of these witnesses would say if called to testify, and this outline of facts showed defendant to have been guilty of murder beyond any doubt whatsoever. (After a quarrel with his "common-law wife," he had placed a rifle to her ear and pulled the trigger, and this, under circumstances which completely ruled out either provocation or self-defense.) See People v. Johnson, 54 Ill. App.2d 27, 203 N.E.2d 283, as to the necessary elements of manslaughter.
On November 10, 1967, copies of his attorney's motion and brief were served by mail upon defendant in the penitentiary, and thereafter he was notified by this court that he might have until January 8, 1968, to raise any points he might choose in support of his appeal. He filed on January 5 a document in which he reiterated some of ...