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People v. Pruitt

NOVEMBER 19, 1971.

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

v.

CARL PRUITT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of DeKalb County; the Hon. CARL A. SWANSON, JR., Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Carl Pruitt, the defendant, was indicted for Burglary and Attempt Burglary. Upon a trial before the court, without a jury, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 1-4 years in the penitentiary.

He urges reversal on the bases that although indigent he was forced to trial and also was sentenced without counsel or a knowing and understanding waiver of his right to counsel.

It appears from the record that after defendant was arrested, but before he was indicted, the Public Defender was appointed to represent him. Defendant appeared with the Public Defender at a preliminary hearing held on November 7th, 1969, and stated that he wished to secure private counsel. The Public Defender was permitted to withdraw. Defendant was asked whether he wanted to proceed and responded, "Yes." The preliminary hearing was thereupon held, with defendant acting pro se. Defendant was arraigned on March 12th, 1970, and appeared without counsel. On the court's inquiry, defendant said he intended to employ a lawyer. He stated that the lawyer was unable to be there that day but had advised him to ask for a continuance and to plead not guilty. The court accepted the plea and placed the case on the April jury calendar, starting April 13th.

On April 13th, 1970, defendant again appeared in court. He was asked if he had a lawyer and responded, "No." The court advised him that the case was on the jury calendar. Defendant stated that he had waived jury "quite a while ago." However, there was no written waiver in the file and the court advised defendant of his right to a jury and then accepted this waiver. The case was set for May 4th, 1970, for trial before the court.

On May 4th, defendant appeared without counsel and there was the following colloquy:

"The Court: You knew you were going to trial this morning?

The Defendant: Yes, I knew. I knew I was going to trial. I didn't intentionally come late, though.

The Court: I'm talking about the attorney. You say you have no attorney. You said you wanted to try this without an attorney.

The Defendant: I did?

The Court: That's what you told me the last time here.

The Defendant: I said I wanted a bench trial.

The Court: That's right.

The Defendant: I didn't say anything about an attorney, ...


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