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People v. Uplinger





Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, the Hon. Richard F. Scholz, Judge, presiding.


This case involves the Uniform Agreement on Detainers Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-9), hereinafter referred to as the Uniform Agreement. The circuit court of Adams County dismissed an indictment against the defendant because, inter alia, he had not been advised of his right to be tried within 180 days as prescribed by the Uniform Agreement. The appellate court reversed. (45 Ill. App.3d 558.) We granted the defendant's petition for leave to appeal.

On March 8, 1974, the defendant, Virgil Uplinger, was indicted for the offense of burglary in Adams County. He was arraigned on March 26, 1974, and bond was set at $1,000. In violation of the conditions of the bond, the defendant left the State to visit his girl friend in Missouri. While in Missouri, he was arrested for a violation of a prior Missouri parole and was incarcerated in the Missouri State Penitentiary.

On May 7, 1974, defendant's counsel moved for a continuance on the grounds that the defendant was incarcerated in Missouri. On May 13, defendant's counsel filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, which was issued on that date and sent to the warden of the prison in Missouri, directing him to produce the defendant for trial in Illinois. On May 14, the defendant's counsel was informed by the warden that the writ would not be honored; the warden advised counsel to proceed under the Uniform Agreement.

On May 17, 1974, an arrest warrant was issued by Adams County and lodged as a detainer against the defendant at the Missouri penitentiary. The prison officials informed the defendant that the warrant had been lodged against him shortly after it was received. On May 30, the defendant wrote to his attorney in Illinois stating that he had been informed of the detainer and requesting that his attorney do whatever was necessary to dispose of the Illinois proceedings. Apparently the defendant's counsel, in reply, advised him to find out from the warden what could be done to expedite his return to Illinois. According to the defendant's testimony, his requests to the warden went unanswered. There were no further proceedings under the Uniform Agreement.

On October 8, 1974, the defendant was released from the penitentiary, his sentence having been satisfied. However, he was immediately arrested by Randolph County (Missouri) sheriff's officers pursuant to the aforementioned warrant. He was thereafter transferred to the Randolph County jail in Huntsville, Missouri, where he remained throughout the duration of the proceedings on the warrant.

The defendant's counsel, appointed by the Missouri court, filed a motion to dismiss the warrant proceedings. On November 22, 1974, a hearing was held on the motion, at which time the court held that if Illinois took no action to extradite the defendant by December 2, 1974, the motion would be granted and the defendant discharged. No extradition proceedings were initiated at that time, and the court, accordingly, released the defendant from custody on December 2, 1974.

Regarding the extradition of the defendant to Illinois, it is significant to point out that on October 4, 1974, while still in prison, the defendant refused to waive extradition. Consequently, the State began proceedings to extradite the defendant on October 11, but was advised by the extradition officer of the State of Illinois to proceed under the Uniform Agreement. However, on correspondence with the prison, the State received information that defendant had been released. No further extradition proceedings were commenced.

On December 3, 1974, a hearing was held in Adams County on a motion to dismiss the charges against the defendant. At a hearing on January 20, 1975, the defendant voluntarily appeared and testified. On February 14, 1975, the trial court held that the defendant had not been advised by the warden of his right to request a final disposition of his case, as prescribed by the Uniform Agreement, that the defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated, and also that the State had not been diligent in prosecuting the defendant. Accordingly, the trial court dismissed the charges against the defendant and released him from custody.

As noted above, the appellate court reversed the circuit court's order. In this court, the defendant has appealed from that portion of the appellate court's holding dealing with the Uniform Agreement. The precise question we are asked to decide is whether the defendant may be discharged because he was effectively denied his right to be brought to trial within the time period prescribed in the Uniform Agreement (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-9).

The Uniform Agreement has been adopted by 44 States, including Illinois, as a means of providing for the expeditious disposition of criminal charges pending in one State while an accused is imprisoned in another State (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-9, art. I). The present case primarily concerns the provisions of article III (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-9, art. III), which provides for the manner whereby the operational procedures of the Uniform Agreement are invoked upon initiation of the prisoner.

Article III(a) of the Uniform Agreement reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

"Whenever a person has entered upon a term of imprisonment in * * * a party state, and whenever during the continuance of the term of imprisonment there is pending in any other party state any untried indictment * * * on the basis of which a detainer has been lodged against the prisoner, he shall be brought to trial within 180 days after he shall have caused to be delivered to the prosecuting officer and the appropriate court * * * written notice of the place of his imprisonment and his request for a ...

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