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People v. Christman

AUGUST 26, 1970.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

CRAIG CHRISTMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lee County, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit; the Hon. JAMES E. BALES, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE ABRAHAMSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied September 25, 1970.

A complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Lee County charged the defendant, Craig Christman, with the offense or burglary in violation of Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 38, § 19-1. Thereafter, the complaint was dismissed and a criminal information charging the burglary was filed to which the defendant entered a plea of guilty and applied for probation. The trial court denied the application for probation and sentenced the defendant to a term of not less than three nor more than five years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. The trial court denied defendant's post-trial motions for a rehearing on probation, arrest of judgment, and for a new trial. This appeal is from the judgment and from the order denying all post-trial motions.

Defendant contends that the information charging the offense is defective and void; that a defective information voids a conviction, even upon a plea of guilty; and that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow defendant to withdraw his plea of guilty allegedly extracted on the firm belief that defendant would receive probation.

The original criminal complaint was filed by a Howard Leffelman and charged that on the second day of August, 1969, Craig Christman committed the offense of burglary in that "he did enter into the property of Howard Leffelman at 4 a.m. August 2, 1969 without consent or authority and with intent to commit therein a theft. Said property is a meat market located in Sublette Township, Lee County, Illinois," in violation of Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 38, § 19-1. The complaint was dismissed and on August 14, Assistant State's Attorney Edwin Merrick filed a criminal information which, because of the issues presented, is set forth as follows:

INFORMATION

State of Illinois 15th Judicial Circuit In the Circuit Court Lee County August 14, 1969

Now on this day comes into open Court, in his own proper person, Edwin W. Merrick, Assistant State's Attorney to the State of Illinois, in and for said County, in the name and by the Authority of the People of said State of Illinois, and prosecutes in this behalf for and on behalf of said People, and informs said Court that Craig Christman on August 2, 1969 at and within said County and State committed the offense of Burglary in violation of Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 38, § 19-1,

In that without authority he knowingly entered a building, the property of Howard Leffelman, at approximately 4:00 a.m. August 2, 1969, with intent there and then to commit a theft.

contrary to the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the same People of the State of Illinois.

/s/ Edwin W. Merrick Assistant State's Attorney in and for said Lee County, Illinois.

Defendant moved to arrest judgment alleging the information was defective because it neither describes the premises, locates said premises or places said premises in the County of Lee. It is admitted that the form portion of the information does state the County of Lee, but that nowhere in the body of the information is the County named wherein the alleged offense occurred. Of course, the body of the information does several times refer to "said County" which quite logically means the county being identified by reference as "Lee County."

In The People v. Williams, 37 Ill.2d 521, 229 N.E.2d 495, contention was made, as here, that the complaint was void because it did not allege the county in which the offense was committed. In that case, it was held that the court must look at the entire complaint in the case to see if an event as described took place in the county named in the caption, and concluded that it was not aware of any decision of the court holding that the caption of a charging document must be ignored "when there is no conflict between the caption and the body of the complaint." The court therefore held that there was no reason not to read, the caption as part of the complaint, and when so read, the complaint sufficiently designates the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed. Although we have an information in this case, the law must be the same regardless of whether we are dealing with an information or a complaint. It is to be noted also that the complaint hereinbefore mentioned as being filed and thereafter withdrawn does state the county, time, place and location.

Defendant cites The People v. Williams, 30 Ill.2d 125, 196 N.E.2d 483, for authority to the effect that where no street address or more specific location in the county is given the defendant does not have sufficient information to enable him to prepare his defense. That case did so hold and it also held that a defective indictment cannot be helped by a Bill of ...


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