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People v. Miller

MAY 26, 1970.

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JEROME MILLER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Randolph County; the Hon. CARL H. BECKER, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded.

EBERSPACHER, J.

Defendant entered a guilty plea to the offenses of murder and armed robbery on September 7, 1967, and was sentenced by the court to 199 to 200 years for the murder and 50 to 75 years for the armed robbery. His conviction was based upon his plea of guilty made after three days of trial and prior to the termination of the State's case in chief. The sentence for armed robbery was made consecutive to the sentence for murder.

The following points are assigned as error: (1) the trial court failed to inform the defendant of the consequences of his plea of guilty and of the maximum penalty which could be imposed upon him as a result of his plea; (2) the plea of guilty was the result of mental coercion and cannot support a conviction; (3) it was error to sentence defendant to either consecutive or concurrent sentences upon two or more offenses which resulted from the same conduct; (4) the trial court failed to hear and receive evidence in mitigation and aggravation for the purpose of determining the sentence to be imposed; (5) the plea of guilty was the result of coercion by the trial court; and (6) the sentences were excessive.

On May 15, 1967, defendant had been first brought into open court; at that time he had no counsel but was furnished a copy of the complaint charging him with murder and armed robbery, he was informed of the nature of the charges and the penalties and that since there was a murder charge he would be held without bail, all of which he stated he understood. At that time inquiry was made as to whether it would be necessary to appoint counsel for him. He was next brought into court on May 22, when there was further inquiry concerning whether a lawyer had been retained and he was advised that there would be time for him to get a lawyer since the matter would have to go to the grand jury; the court made inquiries as to his financial ability to hire counsel, and advised him that he appeared to be indigent "as far as employing counsel." On June 9, defendant was in court with retained counsel. Copies of the indictment had been furnished and counsel advised that defendant had read it and understood the nature of the charges. At that time the following colloquy occurred:

By the Court: "And you advised him regarding the penalty of death and imprisonment for fourteen years for the counts of murder?"

Mr. Rice: "I haven't gone into the penalty."

By the Court: "I just wondered if you explained this to him. I believe when you were in first on the criminal complaint I explained the charge of murder to you."

Defendant Miller: "Yes."

By the Court: "And the charge of armed robbery was a felony and punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, the minimum is one year."

Defendant Miller: "Yes."

By the Court: "You are represented, Mr. Miller and had an opportunity to discuss this with him?"

Defendant Miller: "Yes, sir."

By the Court: "How do you wish to plead to these charges?"

Defendant Miller: "Not guilty."

By the Court: "To all three ...


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