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People v. Edsall

OPINION FILED MARCH 17, 1981.

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

v.

WADE EDSALL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. JOHN J. HOBAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE KASSERMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Petitioner, Wade Edsall, appeals from an order of the circuit court of St. Clair County dismissing his amended petition for post-conviction relief.

Following a plea of guilty, judgment was entered finding petitioner guilty of the offense of murder, for which he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 50 nor more than 150 years. However, immediately prior to sentencing on October 14, 1977, petitioner filed two pro se motions, one requesting that a psychiatrist be appointed to examine him and the other asking leave to withdraw his plea of guilty. These motions were denied on December 2, 1977. On appeal, the judgment and sentence were affirmed by this court. People v. Edsall (1979), 73 Ill. App.3d 1020, 392 N.E.2d 772.

While petitioner's direct appeal was pending before this court, he filed pro se a petition for post-conviction relief for the purpose of "filling out the record and bringing to light facts" proving that his plea was accompanied by a substantial denial of his constitutional rights. Specific allegations were relied upon as indicating ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Counsel was appointed to represent petitioner and an amended petition was filed which repeated many of the allegations of the original petition and asserted additional grounds as indicating ineffective assistance of counsel. These new grounds as stated in paragraphs 6(a) and (b) of the amended petition are as follows:

"a.) That his retained attorney, James J. Gomric, failed to investigate grounds for, or raise an insanity or intoxication defense after facts supporting such a defense were presented to him and he was urged by Petitioner to follow said course.

b.) That Mr. Gomric failed to request a hearing to determine Petitioner's fitness to be sentenced when said attorney knew of his mental condition."

There are no affidavits in support of the factual allegations appended to the amended petition. This absence is explained in paragraph 8 of the amended petition wherein it is stated that affidavits are precluded by the nature of the points raised in the amended petition. However, the amended petition was not filed without supporting documents. Attached to the amended petition are certain exhibits consisting of letters to the trial judge written by relatives of the petitioner. These letters attest to petitioner's defective mental health and request that the trial judge take steps to insure that petitioner receive adequate mental health care while incarcerated. Of particular significance is a letter written by petitioner's brother, Charles, which states in pertinent part:

"From the time we were young I always believed Wade wasn't `right' or like me or the other kids.

At a young age he also enjoyed torturing animals, mostly he tied them up, soaked them with gas and burned them. Of if he felt like it he buried them alive.

I was with him when we were 10-12 and he wanted to drop a kid off a viaduct to a road below to see if the kid would bounce.

When we were around 15, he actually hung one of our brothers in a tree with a rope around his neck. Luckily one of us came around minutes later and cut him down.

These things and many more which I'd be glad to tell someone if they would take the time to listen, all lead me to believe Wade needs mental help, not just to be locked up without help.

Besides telling Mr. J. Gomric I've also called the Mental Health Center of St. Clair Co. * ...


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