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People v. Chatman

OPINION FILED JANUARY 23, 1974.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

MELVIN CHATMAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph A. Power, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In 1965, the defendant, Melvin Chatman, pleaded guilty in the circuit court of Cook County to three indictments covering three separate incidents, and was sentenced to imprisonment of not less than seven nor more than thirteen years on each indictment, the sentences to run concurrently. His post-conviction petition was dismissed on motion of the prosecution without an evidentiary hearing, and he appealed to this court.

Two of the three indictments charged robbery with a knife. The third contained three counts that arose out of a single incident: (1) attempt robbery, (2) attempt murder, and (3) aggravated battery. The defendant contends that his conviction for attempted robbery should be set aside because his plea of guilty was induced by the error of the trial judge, before whom he pleaded guilty, in stating that the maximum sentence for that offense was 20 years, whereas the statutory maximum was 14 years. As has been stated, the maximum sentence actually imposed was 13 years. The following proceedings took place upon the defendant's change of plea:

"MR. JOHN T. DUFFY, Assistant Public Defender: May it please the court, in indictment 65-964, which charges attempt robbery, and 65-965 and 966, which are robbery with a knife, in all three indictments Melvin Chatman at this time wishes to withdraw his pleas of not guilty heretofore entered and enter pleas of guilty as charged in said indictments, is that correct, Melvin Chatman?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

MR. DUFFY: You do that freely and voluntarily, that is what you want to do, plead guilty, is that right?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: Melvin Chatman, on these three charges which are pending here before me this morning, do you understand that you have a right to be tried by a jury on each of these charges if you so desire?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir, your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you know that by entering pleas of guilty to these three indictments that you are thereby waiving and doing away with your right of trial by jury in all cases?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: I wish to advise you that on your plea of guilty to the two indictments charging you with the crime of robbery, that on your pleas of guilty to those two indictments the court could sentence you to the Illinois State Penitentiary to a minimum term of not less than one year and to a maximum term of any number of years over one year.

And on your plea of guilty to the charge of attempted robbery in indictment 65-964, I wish to advise you that on your plea of guilty to that charge the court could sentence you to the Illinois State Penitentiary to a minimum term of not less than one year and to a maximum term of not more than twenty years.

Now being so advised, by the court as to the consequences of your pleas of guilty in each of these three indictments do you still persist in ...


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