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People v. Summers

NOVEMBER 21, 1974.

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

v.

ROBERT WILLIAM SUMMERS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Adams County; the Hon. JOHN T. REARDON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SIMKINS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Robert William Summers, appeals from a conviction entered pursuant to a guilty plea for the offense of murder and from a sentence imposed of 18 to 54 years. The only issue raised before this court is whether the trial court erred in admonishing defendant regarding the nature of the charge.

On October 29, 1973, defendant was charged by information with two counts of murder. On that same date defendant was arraigned and acknowledged receipt of the information. At this time the information was read verbatim to defendant, the two applicable sections of the murder statute were read to defendant, and defendant indicated that he understood the nature of the charges. On November 27, 1973, defendant was indicted on the two murder counts. On December 3, 1973, defendant was arraigned on the indictment, and the trial judge admonished defendant regarding the nature of the charges as follows:

"The Court: The indictment in this case, Mr. Summers and Mr. Handley [co-defendant] is in four counts. The 1st Count and the 3rd Count relates to Mr. Summers * * * In the 1st Count, Mr. Summers, it is charged that you on or about the 27th day of October, 1973, at and within the County of Adams and in the State of Illinois, committed the offense of murder, in that you, without lawful justification, with a gun, shot and killed Robert Maher with intent to kill Robert Maher, in violation of Chapter 38, Section 9-1(a)(1) Illinois Revised Statutes. The 3rd Count of the indictment, Mr. Summers, charges you also with the offense of murder, specifically it charges that you, on or about the 27th day of October, 1973, at and within the County of Adams and in the State of Illinois, without lawful justification, while committing a forcible felony of armed robbery, caused the death of Robert Maher, in violation of Chapter 38, Section 9-1(a)(3), Illinois Revised Statutes.

The Statutes of Illinois, with respect to the offense of murder, state this:

`That a person who kills an individual, without lawful justification, commits murder. If in performing the acts, which cause the death (1) he either intends to kill or do great bodily harm to that individual or another or he knows that such act creates strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another or he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than voluntary manslaughter.'"

Defendant then entered a plea of not guilty. On December 27, 1973, defendant appeared in court to change his plea pursuant to an agreement with the State. The following colloquy then transpired:

"The Court: You are entitled to know the nature of the charge that's made against you here. I previously on another occasion explained to you what that charge was. Do you know what you're charged with here?

Mr. Summers: Yes, sir.

The Court: What are you charged with?

Mr. Summers: I'm charged with murder.

The Court: Is there anything more specific about the charge than that?

Mr. Summers: A felony murder, I believe.

The Court: And does it tell you where ...


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