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People v. Hickman

JANUARY 3, 1973.

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

v.

ERNEST HICKMAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon. ROBERT E. HUNT, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The Grand Jury of Tazewell County returned a two count indictment against the defendant, Ernest H. Hickman, which charged him with (1) the crime of aggravated battery and (2) the crime of aggravated battery in that he knowingly, without legal justification, committed a battery upon his ex-wife, Gladys Hickman, causing her bodily harm by discharging a deadly weapon, to-wit, a gun, a projectile from which struck the said Gladys Hickman.

Pursuant to certain negotiations between himself, his counsel and the State's Attorney the defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count II of the indictment and was sentenced to a term of not less than 1 nor more than 5 years in the penitentiary.

The sole issue presented for review by this appeal is whether the trial court complied sufficiently with Supreme Court Rule 402. Chap. 110A, Sec. 402, Ill. Rev. Stat.

The defendant first contends that the trial court did not adequately admonish him as to the nature of the offense for which he was charged. The defendant claims that the court repeatedly referred to Count II of the indictment, to which he entered a plea of guilty, as charging him with the offense of unlawfully discharging a firearm and that the court's order and judgment further only found him guilty of unlawfully discharging a firearm.

An examination of the record fails to support the defendant's contention. Relative to the admonitions given to him as to the nature of the charge against him and his understanding of the same we set forth the following colloquy which ensued during the court proceedings:

"As I previously advised you, the indictment, which is a twocount indictment, charges you with the crime of aggravated battery in Count 1 and Count 2 charges you with the offense of unlawfully discharging a fire arm by which your ex-wife, Gladys Hickman, was struck and injured with a bullet. This is a felony and the penalty provided by law is a minimum of 1 year and maximum of 5 years in the State Institutions * * *.

(a) * * * plea of guilty admits the charges in Count 2 of the indictment and no further proof thereof is required * * * is all of this clear to you? Yes, sir * * *."

The Court: Then from my explanation to you and the information given by your attorney, Mr. Bode, do you fully understand the nature of the crime charged, your right to a trial by jury or by the court, the effect and consequences of a plea of guilty and the maximum and minimum penalty provided by law, and the sentence which the court could impose if your plea of guilty is accepted by the court. Do you understand these things?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

Let the record show that the court now finds from these proceedings that the defendant * * * comprehends and understands the nature of the crime charged against him * * *.

Court: * * * Count 2 charges you with the offense of Unlawfully Discharging a firearm by which your ex-wife, Gladys Hickman, was struck and injured by a bullet. This is a felony * * *.

Let the record further show that the Defendant, with a full understanding thereof if his plea of guilty is accepted to the crime of Unlawfully Discharging a Firearm in the manner and form as charged in count 2 of the indictment."

• 1, 2 For the defendant to argue in this appeal that he was not informed and did not understand the nature of the charge against him is to present an argument that is in direct conflict with the record. Our reviewing courts have consistently held that in order to fulfill the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 402, it is not necessary to enumerate to the accused each element of the offense with which he is charged, as long as the record considered in its entirety discloses that he understood the nature of the charge. (See People v. McCrady, 131 Ill. App.2d 836, 267 N.E.2d 515; People v. Carter, 107 Ill. App.2d 474, 246 N.E.2d 320; People v. Harden, 78 Ill. App.2d 431, 222 N.E.2d 693.) The decisions interpreting the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 402 are not completely harmonious, however, it is becoming well settled that "substantial" compliance rather than "total" compliance with the requirements is adequate in absence of any ...


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