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People v. Merchant

APRIL 12, 1972.

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

v.

CARL MERCHANT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. MICHAEL KINNEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JONES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant was indicted on a charge of burglary. He appeared for a jury trial, accompanied by his counsel. In the course of selection of the jury, negotiations were entered into between the State's Attorney and the defendant and his attorney, resulting in an agreement that if the defendant would withdraw his prior pleas of not guilty to forgery and burglary and plead guilty, the State would nolle pros a charge of theft and the State's Attorney would recommend that the defendant be granted probation for a period of two years, conditioned upon his serving one year at the Vandalia State Farm, excluding from the year such period as the defendant had been in the Madison County Jail.

The defendant was then admonished as to the charges which had been made against him and he moved, through his counsel, to withdraw the plea of not guilty. He conferred with his counsel on two occasions during admonishment and the court advised him that after a plea of guilty "there would be no trial" and that "you have a right to waive a trial by jury, but that when you do, you waive the right to be confronted by witnesses that would testify against you if a trial were held" and further "if you had a trial, you would have the right to be represented by an attorney at all times at every stage of the proceedings" and numerous other admonitions. The following colloquy also took place between the defendant, the court and Mr. Byron, Assistant State's Attorney:

"The Defendant: I was under the impression if I don't take this I will get more time if I go to Court.

The Court: In other words, if you stood trial?

The Defendant: Yes, sir.

The Court: And were found guilty?

The Defendant: I would be sentenced to more time than what I would get if I pleaded guilty.

The Court: I have to be fair and there would be a strong likelihood of that, because the State is willing to negotiate for the reason that if they are relieved of the responsibility of conducting the trial and obtain a plea of guilty in return, they can agree to some considerations, isn't that right?

Mr. Byron: Yes. On the other hand, I want to make this clear, I believe this is the case, that the Court is not bound by the recommendations of the State.

The Court: That's right.

Mr. Byron: Further, this defendant may get more favorable consideration * * *.

The Court: Or less.

Mr. Byron: Or less consideration than was being recommended, not only in a trial, but as a ...


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