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People v. Gillen

JUNE 4, 1974.

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

v.

JOHN PATRICK GILLEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Williamson County; the Hon. WILLIAM A. LEWIS, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE CREBS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On a plea of guilty in the Circuit Court of Williamson County defendant was convicted of forgery and was sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of not less than 2 nor more than 10 years. In this appeal he contends that his guilty plea should be set aside because the record casts a substantial doubt on the voluntariness of his plea contrary to the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 402(b); and, in the alternative, that the trial court erred in failing to advise him of his right to counsel at the time of sentencing, and that such error requires a vacation of the sentence and remandment for re-sentencing.

From the record it appears that defendant was 40 years of age and had pursued his education through 1 1/2 years of college. At his arraignment, the day after the alleged offense, the court read the information to him and informed him of, and explained his constitutional rights, including but not limited to his right to counsel, a preliminary hearing, consideration by the grand jury, a jury trial and the possible sentence involved. Defendant then informed the court that he wanted to waive counsel and all other rights and plead guilty. With great care the court again discussed defendant's various rights and questioned defendant as to his understanding of each of them. Expressing his desire to waive counsel and a preliminary hearing, defendant stated that it would be "a waste of time; it is a waste of the State's time and my time." Later, again expressing his understanding of what he was doing in waiving his rights, he stated, "I am guilty and I would like to get started." Finally, the following colloquy occurred:

"Court: Well, do you understand then, if you waive your right to trial by jury and plead guilty you will never be able to contest the fact that you were convicted of forgery?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

Court: You waived counsel, that's right, Mr. Gillen?

Defendant: Yes. There is only one reason I would have and that is because I have a very severe heart condition, and in fact I am, I almost died last August. I am out of one kind of medicine and I would like to see my doctor.

Court: Are you sick now, do you think?

Defendant: I know I am. I am dizzy.

Court: Are you dizzy now?

Defendant: Yes, complications.

Court: Well, you say that you are feeling dizzy now and you are sick?

Defendant: Yes, sir.

Court: Mr. Gillen, before you waive all of ...


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