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People v. Prude

DECEMBER 27, 1971.

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

v.

CAROLYN PRUDE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES D. CROSSON, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE ENGLISH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

OFFENSES CHARGED

Involuntary manslaughter. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 38, par. 9-3(b). *fn1

JUDGMENT

The trial court accepted defendant's plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and imposed a sentence of two to ten years.*fn1

CONTENTION RAISED ON APPEAL

Defendant's plea of guilty was not knowingly and intelligently entered because she had been improperly led to expect probation, and the court erred in not appointing counsel for her at the subsequent hearing as to the voluntariness of her plea.

FACTS

On defendant's plea of guilty while represented in open court by an Asst. Public Defender, the trial judge fully and properly informed defendant as to her rights, and the consequences of her plea, specifically calling her attention to the possible sentence which could be imposed.

Defendant persisted in her plea, a judgment of guilty was entered, and the cause was continued for a hearing in aggravation and mitigation. At that hearing, defendant was again represented by the same Asst. Public Defender. No evidence in mitigation was submitted. In aggravation, the State's Attorney called the court's attention to a police record covering 51 convictions for misdemeanors in various states. The trial judge thereupon sentenced defendant to a term of two to ten years, informed her that she had the right to appeal, and asked if she had understood all that had transpired. Defendant immediately answered, "Yes, I understand. He [indicating the Asst. Public Defender] lied to me Tuesday [the day on which she had pleaded guilty]."

Five days later, again with the same counsel present in court, defendant herself moved for leave to withdraw her guilty plea, and the trial judge scheduled the case the same day for the taking of evidence on this point. At that hearing, the Asst. Public Defender informed the court that he was categorically denying the allegation which was the basis of defendant's motion and was therefore in no position to represent her any longer. The court asked defendant if she wanted a different Asst. Public Defender or a "Bar Association" (i.e., volunteer) lawyer appointed for her, but defendant never acknowledged the court's offer of assistance, responding only that when she had pleaded guilty, it was because her lawyer had told her he would get her off, or "at least probation."

Without appointing new counsel for defendant, all witnesses were sworn and the court proceeded to hear defendant's statements and ask questions of her, the Asst. Public Defender, and the State's Attorney. The latter corroborated defense counsel to the extent of testifying that, in their conversations about the case, probation had been considered entirely out of the question in the light of defendant's previous record and the facts of the pending charges. There was no cross-examination. The trial judge determined that defendant's plea had been knowingly and intelligently entered. Whereupon, he denied defendant's motions to vacate the judgment and sentence and to permit withdrawal of her guilty plea.

OPINION

There is no doubt but what court and counsel properly questioned defendant in open court and ascertained her willing intention to plead guilty at the time that plea was accepted and when judgment and sentence were imposed. Now, however, defendant contends that her plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered since it ...


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