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The People v. Johnson

OPINION FILED MARCH 24, 1970.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

RICHARD A. JOHNSON, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. GLENN T. JOHNSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE CREBS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Richard A. Johnson was tried in the circuit court of Cook County and found guilty in a jury trial of the crime of armed robbery and sentenced to the penitentiary for a period of three to eight years. He has appealed directly to this court, alleging, among other things, that he was denied his constitutional rights to a speedy trial, to due process and the effective assistance of counsel.

Defendant, together with two co-defendants, was indicted for three separate robberies under three separate indictments numbered 68-2088, 68-2089 and 68-2090. The State elected to proceed first with indictment 68-2090, and then later, because of the death of the complaining witness in that case, trial proceeded on indictment 68-2088 which is the case now before us. We shall first consider defendant's contention relative to a denial of a speedy trial.

Defendant was arrested in Wisconsin and brought back to Illinois on April 12, 1968, and the application of the four-term statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 103-5) depends upon whether defendant requested or agreed to a continuance granted on July 22. If he did, then the trial, started on October 9, 1968, was within the four-month period and the statute is not applicable.

Prior to July 22 defendant was represented by a private attorney and a number of continuances were entered on motion of the State or upon order of the court because of difficulties concerning the appearance of one of the defendants who was a minor. On July 22 at a hearing attended by defendant and his attorney and one of the co-defendants and his attorney, who was the Public Defender, defendant's private attorney requested and was granted leave to withdraw. The following colloquy then occurred between the court and the defendant:

"COURT: I will have to give you time to obtain another attorney. Are you going to have a private attorney?

DEFENDANT: I'd like a bar association attorney.

COURT: Can you afford a private attorney?

DEFENDANT: No, sir, a bar association lawyer, if its possible?

COURT: I'll appoint the Public Defender if you can't afford a lawyer. Do you have the means to pay for a lawyer?

DEFENDANT: I don't believe so, Your Honor.

COURT: I will appoint the Public Defender. Are you ready for trial on this?"

The last question was directed to the Public Defender who was representing the other two defendants and he replied that he would not then be ready for trial, that though he had had some discussion on it he hadn't gone into all the facts. The defendant then addressed the court about some matters in the county jail and the court directed him to talk to his attorney. Defendant replied that he did not have an attorney now and the court told him that his lawyer (the Public Defender) was right here. The court then gave the Public Defender two weeks to prepare for trial and showed the motion for continuance to be by defendant for two weeks until August 5. No objection or exception whatsoever was made to this announcement.

At the hearing on August 5 defendant asked the court if he could get a bar association attorney because the Public Defender had nine cases already and had no time to handle his case. From the record this question was not answered as the court was involved in a jury trial and the matter was continued by order of court until August 14. On this latter date defendant addressed the court stating that on July 22 the court had appointed the Public Defender to represent him against his objection and that the Public Defender had asked for a continuance against his objection, and therefore he, pro se, was filing a petition for ...


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