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People v. Ries

APRIL 29, 1975.

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

v.

ESSIE RIES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

PER CURIAM:

Defendant, Essie Ries, was charged by Indictments 73-789, 73-790 and 73-791 with the offenses of robbery, armed robbery and robbery, respectively, in violation of sections 18-1 and 18-2 of the Criminal Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 38, pars. 18-1, 18-2.) (After a "stipulated bench trial," defendant was found guilty as charged under Indictment 73-789, found guilty of the lesser included offense of robbery under Indictment 73-790, and found not guilty under Indictment 73-791. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of 1 year to 5 years on the two findings of guilty.

On appeal defendant contends that the procedure of the "stipulated bench trial" employed in the convictions under Indictments 73-789 and 73-790 amounted to the entry of pleas of guilty as to which the trial court improperly failed to admonish him pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 402 relating to pleas of guilty. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 110A, par. 402.) He also contends that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt under Indictment 73-790; that the trial court improperly compelled him to testify at his own trial; and that his privately retained counsel rendered incompetent assistance at the trial. It is unnecessary to deal with the latter three contentions raised by defendant, inasmuch as the record discloses that the "stipulated bench trial" employed below was tantamount to the entry of pleas of guilty as to which the trial court should have admonished defendant pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 402, requiring reversal and remandment of the cause.

After the cases had been called for trial, the following colloquy took place between the trial court and defendant's counsel:

"Defense Counsel: Your Honor, I have had a conference with my client and his wife. The client has advised me that at this time he wants to enter a plea of guilty. I have advised him of his rights, that he could have a jury trial if he wanted or a trial before your Honor solely, and he said in light of the circumstances he desires to enter a plea before your Honor.

The Court: Well, there are three charges pending against him. Are you wishful of entering pleas of guilty to all three charges?

Defense Counsel: I guess that's what it would be, your Honor, yes.

The Court: Now, might I make this suggestion? Perhaps your client would enter a plea of not guilty and if he wishes waive his right to a trial by a jury, and we could have — you could if he wishes, agree to what the State's testimony would be.

Defense Counsel: Fine.

The Court: And based on that testimony I could enter such a finding as I deem appropriate.

Defense Counsel: Yes. Then he could make a choice.

The Court: No, not a choice, but I could hear an agreed statement of facts and hear what your client has to say and what additional evidence the State would wish to offer, and then I will make a determination in light of the statements made to me in chambers. I feel that that would be appropriate in hearing the matter.

Defense Counsel: Thank you, Judge. We will go along with your feelings."

The trial court explained the procedure to the defendant who stated that he understood and agreed; defendant was advised as to the nature of the charges against him and executed written jury waivers. Evidence was heard by stipulation as to Indictments 73-789 and 73-790, consisting of the State's prima facie case as to both offenses, after which the trial court asked defendant if he wished to say anything concerning the respective offenses. Defendant's unsworn statements in response to the trial court's questions were in the nature of denials of the facts contained in the stipulations; ...


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