Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal
Division; the Hon. JOHN C. FITZGERALD, Judge, presiding. Judgment
MR. JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Defendant, Jorge Suarez, was indicted for robbery and aggravated battery. At a bench trial he was found guilty of both offenses and sentenced to the Illinois State Penitentiary for two to five years on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently. Defendant appeals, contending that his constitutional right to a jury trial was not understandingly and knowingly waived, and that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defendant first contends that he did not understandingly waive his right to a trial by jury.
When the case was called for trial, and before defendant signed the jury waiver, the following colloquy took place in open court:
STATES ATTORNEY: "The State is ready, your Honor."
THE COURT: "The State is ready. Is this a bench or jury?"
DEFENSE COUNSEL: "This is a bench trial."
THE COURT: "A bench trial. We will pass it until 10:30 or thereabouts."
(After an interval of time, the following proceedings took place.)
DEFENSE COUNSEL: "I have talked to the defendant, Jorge Suarez, and have explained to him his constitutional right to a trial by jury and also explained to him his right to waive that right and submit the cause to hearing before the Court and at this time I would ask Mr. Suarez to sign this jury waiver."
THE COURT: "You know what a jury trial is, Mr. Suarez, putting twelve people in the box there and they listen to the witnesses and they come in with a verdict of guilty or not guilty."
"By signing that document it means that the judge listens to the witnesses and he enters a finding of guilty or not guilty rather than ...