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The People v. Palmer

SEPTEMBER 10, 1971.

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

v.

WILLIAM H. PALMER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. L. SHELDON BROWN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a conviction for the crime of voluntary manslaughter. Defendant was charged by indictment with murder. He entered a plea of not guilty to that charge. However, at trial, on May 6, 1969, he entered a plea of guilty to the reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter. The plea was accepted by the court and defendant was sentenced after a hearing in aggravation and mitigation to a term of three to ten years. On appeal it is argued that acceptance of the plea was error for the reasons that before accepting the plea the court: (1) failed to ascertain whether defendant understood the nature of the charge against him; and (2) failed to warn him that his plea of guilty waived his privilege against self-incrimination and his right to confront his accusers.

The record reflects the following exchange at trial:

"Mr. STARKE: [Defense Counsel] Good morning, Your Honor. May it please the court, I have had a substantial conference with my client this morning and as of yesterday, and after a full conference with him he has authorized me to move the Court to withdraw his plea of not guilty to the indictment of murder and enter a plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter which is an included count in the indictment.

Mr. VAN ZEYL: [Assistant State's Attorney] Judge, in view of the representations which have just been made to the Court, the State at this time would move to reduce the charge in the indictment from murder to voluntary manslaughter.

THE COURT: All right. Sustained. All right. Now, Mr. Palmer, do you know what a jury trial is?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, I do.

THE COURT: And you realize that when you withdraw your plea of not guilty to the reduced charge of manslaughter * * *.

Mr. VAN ZEYL: Judge, this is voluntary.

THE COURT: Sorry.

Mr. CUSICK: I think the correction should also be made on the plea.

Mr. STARKE: We will change it accordingly.

THE COURT: In other words, the plea is to voluntary manslaughter.

When you withdraw your plea of not guilty and enter a plea of guilty, you automatically waive ...


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