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People v. Rogers

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 29, 1978.

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

v.

THOMAS A. ROGERS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Menard County; the Hon. LYLE E. LIPE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

But for a question of conflict of counsel — raised sua sponte by this court — this case would be a simple, straightforward single-issue appeal involving the trial court's sentencing discretion.

In short, we affirm.

But first we will look at the conflict question. In the court below, defendant was represented by court-appointed counsel who was incidentally a special assistant attorney general. This fact was known by this court from a roster or list of assistants and special assistants prepared by the Attorney General of Illinois, and on our own motion we remanded the case to the trial court for the taking of additional evidence on the surrounding circumstances of appointed counsel's duties with the Attorney General. The trial judge conducted the hearing and the report of proceedings was filed in our court.

That crystalline record discloses that the appointed defense counsel's duties as a special assistant attorney general were limited solely to the area of workmen's compensation cases arising in the Springfield and Lincoln, Illinois, areas. Her testimony as to her official responsibilities went like this:

"A. I was to handle all hearings on arbitration where petitions for adjustment of claim were filed by state employees against the state in Lincoln and Springfield. Now then if any of those were taken on review, which is the appeal immediately beyond the arbitration hearing, they would go before a commissioner. I was responsible for counter-reviewing or appealing anything we found unfavorably. That was one commissioner here and after that should either of the parties, myself or the employee, there were oral arguments before the full commission. I was responsible for that.

Q. Did you ever have occasion during your term of service as special assistant attorney general to appear in any court of law in behalf of the attorney general's office?

A. No.

Q. Would you have to appear in court as a result of your appointment as special assistant for the attorney general's office?

A. No.

Q. Why would you not have to so appear?

A. My responsibilities go only to the cases I handled out of Springfield on arbitration and review and beyond the review of the commission itself there is no appeal. The statute denies any review beyond that to the state and state employees. So we cannot take it into the circuit court as one normally would with arbitration hearings.

Q. What office did your case assignments come out of within the attorney general's office?

A. Springfield.

Q. Are you aware of whether or not there is a criminal justice division within that particular office?

A. I am not.

Q. What, if any, contact did you have with anyone in the criminal justice division?

A. None.

Q. Are you aware of who is head of that particular division?

A. No.

Q. What, if any, contact did you have with the criminal appeals ...


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