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People v. Harflinger

OPINION FILED JANUARY 19, 1977.

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

v.

ALFRED EARL HARFLINGER, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE. — THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

CHARLOTTE RICHARDS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE. — THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

WILLIAM LEON ALLEN, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County; the Hon. ALBERT W. McCALLISTER and the Hon. ALVIN LACY WILLIAMS, Judges, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE EBERSPACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

These cases which we have consolidated for opinion are appeals by the State taken from judgments entered by the circuit court of Jefferson County awarding attorney's fees to the defendants' court appointed counsel. The only issue presented for review in each case is whether the award was in excess of statutory limits.

In People v. Harflinger, No. 76-166, the defendant was indicted for the offenses of murder, attempt murder, armed robbery and burglary. On July 25, 1975, after the public defender's motion to withdraw was granted, Paul Giamanco was appointed to represent the defendant. It appears that on November 7, 1975, the four causes were consolidated for trial and that on November 25, 1975, after a six-day jury trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged. A sentencing hearing was held on December 19, 1975, and on December 30, 1975, defense counsel Giamanco filed four verified petitions for attorney's fees. The petitions treated each charge against the defendant as a separate case. An itemized bill covering the attorney's services was also submitted which showed a total of 216 hours of work and a total charge of $4,782. The bill was calculated at a rate of $30 for each hour spent in court and $20 for each hour otherwise spent in representing the client. In his petitions, Giamanco only requested $1,000 per case for a total of $4,000. The State filed a motion in opposition to the fees requested. At a hearing on the petitions, Giamanco stated that since his itemized bill did not distinguish the hours worked on each charge, and that since the work was in any event overlapping, he had simply divided the total time rendered by the number of causes, to determine his fee per cause. Giamanco also stated that he had requested no more than $1,000 per cause since that was the statutory limit. The State did not dispute in the trial court, nor does the State now dispute, the trial court's treatment of this case as four separate cases for the purpose of awarding attorney's fees. The State argued that Giamanco was only entitled to a maximum $250 per case. Following the hearing the trial court awarded Giamanco $1,000 as compensation for his services in connection with the murder charge, $850 in connection with the attempt murder charge, $850 in connection with the armed robbery charge and $800 in connection with the burglary charge, for a total of $3,500.

In People v. Richards, No. 76-167, the defendant had been charged with and was convicted of armed robbery. This court reversed defendant's conviction and remanded the cause for a new trial. (People v. Richards, 28 Ill. App.3d 505, 328 N.E.2d 692.) Subsequently, on June 25, 1975, after the trial court allowed the public defender to withdraw, the court appointed Paul Giamanco to represent her. On January 16, 1976, pursuant to plea negotiations, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of robbery. At the plea hearing, Giamanco filed a verified petition for attorney's fees claiming that he had spent a total of 40.3 hours representing his client and requesting a fee of $826. He also submitted an itemized bill calculated at a rate of $30 per courtroom hour and $20 per hour otherwise spent representing his client. The trial court awarded Giamanco the amount requested. Thereafter the State filed a motion in opposition to the fee requested asserting that Giamanco could only be awarded a maximum of $250. Following a hearing the motion was denied.

In People v. Allen, No. 76-168, the defendant was charged on March 13, 1975, with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. Four days later, the trial court appointed James E. Dull to represent the defendant. On October 31, 1975, pursuant to negotiations, the defendant pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of robbery and the other charges were dismissed. On November 21, 1975, Dull filed a verified petition for attorney's fees claiming that he had spent a total of 25 hours representing the defendant and requesting a fee of $599.19. As in the other cases at bar, the itemized bill he submitted was calculated at a rate of $30 for each hour spent in court and $20 for each hour otherwise spent. The State filed a motion in opposition to the fee requested and following a hearing the trial court awarded the amount requested.

On appeal, the State contends that attorney's fees in these cases should have been limited to a maximum $250 unless extraordinary circumstances or protracted representation was shown. The State relies on the statutory provision that was in effect at the time the attorneys were appointed by the court. That provision, section 113-3(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 113-3(c)), stated:

"Upon the filing with the court of a verified statement of services rendered the court shall order the county treasurer of the county of trial to pay counsel other than the Public Defender a reasonable fee stated in the order not to exceed $150 for each defendant represented in misdemeanor cases and $250 in felony cases, in addition to expenses reasonably incurred as hereinafter in this Section provided, except that, in extraordinary circumstances, payment in excess of the limits herein stated may be made if the trial court certifies that such payment is necessary to provide fair compensation for protracted representation, and the amount of the excess payment is approved by the Chief Judge of the Circuit. A trial court may entertain the filing of this verified statement before the termination of the cause, and may order the provisional payment of sums during the pendency of the cause."

This section provided compensation for court appointed attorneys. Prior to 1967 subsections (c) and (d) of section 113-3 provided for a maximum fee of $250 (plus $250 for costs) in capital cases and a maximum fee of $150 in all other criminal cases. These sections contained no provision for payment in excess of these limits. After the opinion in People ex rel. Conn v. Randolph, 35 Ill.2d 24, 219 N.E.2d 337, the subsections were amended and subsection (c), from 1967 to October 1, 1975, allowed a fee up to $150 in misdemeanor cases and up to $250 in felony cases, plus additional compensation in cases involving extraordinary circumstances or protracted representation, if the excess amount was approved by the chief judge of the circuit.

On October 1, 1975, while the cases before us were pending in the trial court, the following amended provision came into effect:

"Upon the filing with the court of a verified statement of services rendered the court shall order the county treasurer of the county of trial to pay counsel other than the Public Defender a reasonable fee stated in the order and based upon a rate of compensation of not more than $30 for each hour spent while court is in session and not more than $20 for each hour otherwise spent representing a defendant, and such compensation shall not exceed $150 for each defendant represented in misdemeanor cases and $1000 in felony cases, in addition to expenses reasonably incurred as hereinafter in this Section provided, except that, in extraordinary circumstances, payment in excess of the limits herein stated may be made if the trial court certifies that such payment is necessary to provide fair compensation for protracted representation, and the amount of the excess payment is approved by the Chief Judge of the Circuit. A trial court may entertain the filing of this verified statement before the termination of the cause, and may order the provisional payment of sums during the pendency of the cause." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 113-3(c) (amended effective Oct. 1, 1975).

This amended subsection establishes maximum hourly rates of compensation upon which a reasonable fee may be based and increases the maximum fee which may be awarded to $1,000 in felony cases.

Our task is to determine whether the legislature intended the amending provision to apply to pending cases. Our research indicates that this issue is one of first impression.

• 1 A cardinal canon of statutory construction is to ascertain the intent of the legislature by considering not only the language used but also the reason for the law and the object to be obtained. (People ex rel. Simpson v. Funkhoser, 385 Ill. 396, 52 N.E.2d 1014; People v. Sims, 131 Ill. App.2d 327, 266 N.E.2d 536.) Where a statute has remedial features and is at the same time in derogation of the common law, ...


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