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The People v. Payne

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 17, 1970.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

WILLIE PAYNE, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BURT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

After a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County the defendant, Willie Payne, was found guilty of petty theft and sentenced to confinement in the House of Correction for a period of six months. This court granted leave to appeal under the provisions of our Rule 606(c). (43 Ill.2d R. 606(c).) Defendant contends that he was deprived of his constitutional right to assistance of counsel of his choice; that the jury waiver entered for defendant was not voluntarily made and that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The alleged offense occurred on March 12, 1968, at which time defendant was taken into custody. On February 25, 1969, when the case was called for trial the defendant asked for a continuance of three or four days, stating that his attorney was out of town. The court noted that a written appearance of counsel for defendant was on file but proceeded to appoint Mr. Cahan, an assistant public defender, to represent him. After a conference between defendant and his appointed counsel the transcript shows the following proceedings:

"THE COURT: Mr. Payne, are you satisfied to have the Public Defender represent you here today?

DEFENDANT PAYNE: Sir?

THE COURT: Are you satisfied to have the Public Defender represent you today?

DEFENDANT PAYNE: I want to use my own attorney.

THE COURT: I understand that, sir; however, it is my feeling that since the case has been continued to March 14, — from March 14, 1968, the number of times it was up — Motion defendant, postponed to 4-2-1968 and then on 4-2-68, motion defendant postponed 5-23-1968, and on 5-23-1968, postponed to 7-15-68. That I believe, and then there was a bond forfeiture and then the matter was postponed to August 16 when a judgment was entered, and February 5, 1969 again motion defendant postponed and set for trial.

It is my feeling that while there is an appearance of an attorney on file here, your request for an attorney is a device to delay the orderly procedure of justice. Now, sir, if you insist on having your own lawyer to represent you, I will permit him to do so, if you insist. Do you insist?

DEFENDANT PAYNE: I'd just like to have a three or four days' continuance.

THE COURT: Fine, sir. It is my feeling you will flee my jurisdiction. I am increasing your bond to Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars. Take him into custody.

DEFENDANT PAYNE: Your Honor, can I go to trial today?

THE COURT: Now, sir, you must make a decision.

POLICE OFFICER CROSS: Why don't you go right now, Willie, and get it over with. He ran ...


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