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People v. Hill

NOVEMBER 30, 1973.

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

v.

MICHAEL HILL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. A.F. PISTILLI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Michael Hill, the defendant, was charged by the grand jury of Will County of committing two separate crimes of burglary. One indictment charged the commission of a burglary of the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in the city of Joliet. The other indictment charged him with burglarizing the St. John the Baptist Church Rectory also located in Joliet.

The defendant was taken into custody on October 24, 1970. On February 10, 1971, the trial court ordered the case relating to the burglary of St. John's Church Rectory to be set for trial on February 22, 1971. On February 22, being one hundred and twenty-one days after arrest, the State moved that the case be continued until March 15, 1971. This motion was granted over objections made by the defendant. Following a mistrial and a new jury trial the defendant was found guilty of the burglary of St. John the Baptist Church Rectory. Two days later the defendant entered a plea of guilty to the charge contained in the indictment relating to the burglary of the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus. Approximately one month later the court held a joint probation hearing on both cases. It was at this time that a Mr. June, the Assistant Adult Probation Officer for Will County, testified that he believed the defendant to be not guilty and that the defendant had pled guilty as the result of pressure applied by the State's Attorney's office. The court withdrew its acceptance of the defendant's plea of guilty, set the case for trial and then proceeded to reprimand Mr. June for his implication. A detailed account of this reprimand will be set forth in full when we consider the issues presented in this appeal. One month later on June 24, 1971, the defendant again pled guilty to the charge of burglary of the Cathedral. Upon the State's recommendation the court then sentenced the defendant in both cases to concurrent terms of not less than one (1) nor more than five (5) years in the penitentiary.

The first issue raised by the defendant is that he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his appointed attorney failed to move for a change of venue after learning of the trial judge's predisposition of his guilt. This issue is predicated upon the defendant's contention that the reprimand by the judge of Mr. June, the probation officer, indicates that the court had a predisposition as to the defendant's guilt. In order to consider this issue it therefore becomes necessary to set forth the reprimand which is as follows:

"I don't ever remember a time that this State's Attorney or any State's Attorney has been in our County accused of any misconduct, any kind of misconduct in obtaining guilty pleas. There's nobody here wants a guilty plea that's not completely voluntary on the part of the individual.

And because there's any least question about this one, I've set it aside. Now, you never considered the fact that he also plead not guilty to the St. John burglary, did you?

MR. JUNE: Yes, I did.

THE COURT: Did you consider the fact that a jury of twelve people of our community found him guilty of that offense?

MR. JUNE: Yes, I did.

THE COURT: Against his will and against his not guilty plea?

MR. JUNE: I considered it.

THE COURT: Did you ever consider that fact?

MR. JUNE: I considered it.

THE COURT: You discounted that ...


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