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People v. Barto

OPINION FILED MARCH 18, 1976.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,

v.

HARLOW BARTO, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. A.F. Pistilli, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On November 25, 1972, the Orpheum Hotel in Joliet was destroyed by a fire which took the life of George Jorgensen. The defendant, Harlow Barto, confessed to setting the fire and was indicted for arson and murder. Following discussions between the prosecution and the defense, the State nol-prossed the murder charge and filed an information charging involuntary manslaughter. The defendant then tendered a plea of guilty to the charges of arson and involuntary manslaughter. The court accepted the plea and imposed the recommended sentences of 6 to 20 years for arson and 3 to 10 years for involuntary manslaughter.

Before he accepted the plea, the judge carefully admonished the defendant of the rights he waived by pleading guilty and satisfied himself, from the statements of the defendant, that he was in fact guilty and that he and his attorney had initiated negotiations for a plea of guilty. After a full explanation, and prior to acceptance of the plea, the judge stated:

"One further thing I have to advise you of, Mr. Barto, is that by the Court accepting a plea bargain such as this, you will not have a hearing in aggravation and mitigation and you will not have a pre-sentence report where information about your background is presented to the Court and your attorney would be able to present matters to the Court that would affect any length of your sentence. Do you understand that?

MR. BARTO: Yes.

THE COURT: Do you understand that you will be giving up your right to a pre-sentence report?

MR. BARTO: Yes.

THE COURT: Do you understand that — Is that your intention and desire?

MR. BARTO: Yes."

The judge then entered judgment upon the plea of guilty and asked the State's Attorney, the defense attorney and the defendant if they had anything to say before sentence was imposed, and each answered "No." After sentence was imposed, this colloquy ensued:

"THE COURT: * * * Mr. Barto, you've heard the sentence of the Court?

MR. BARTO: Yes.

THE COURT: Has anyone made any statement or promised to you that your sentence would be any less than I ...


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