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People v. Reisinger

OPINION FILED MAY 10, 1982.

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

v.

GEORGE M. REISINGER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Montgomery County; the Hon. DANIEL H. DAILEY, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE KASSERMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, George M. Reisinger, was charged by an information filed October 13, 1977, with the offenses of burglary and theft of property with a value in excess of $150. A jury found the defendant guilty of the theft count and he was sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of one to five years to run consecutively to sentences previously imposed in the State of Ohio for sexual battery and escape. From his conviction and sentence the defendant has appealed.

The defendant was brought to Illinois from Ohio for trial pursuant to section 3-8-9 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-9). At his first appearance on October 5, 1979, the defendant informed the trial court that he had retained counsel to represent him. A short time later, defendant's retained counsel filed a motion to withdraw, alleging, inter alia, that defendant desired to either appear pro se or with the assistance of other counsel. The motion to withdraw was granted and the trial court appointed the public defender, Barbara Adams, as defendant's attorney.

On October 29, 1979, a preliminary hearing was held wherein defendant received a copy of the information and was admonished as to the possible penalties if convicted of the charged offenses. Ms. Adams represented the defendant at various other pretrial hearings in which defendant took an active part by presenting legal arguments of his own. On February 27, 1980, the defendant indicated that he was dissatisfied with his present counsel. The trial court admonished defendant of his right to counsel and informed him that he could have another attorney appointed to represent him if he wished. The defendant elected to dismiss Ms. Adams and the trial court appointed another public defender, John Coady, to represent him.

On April 3, 1980, Mr. Coady moved for leave for the defendant to argue a number of pro se motions which the defendant had filed. Defense counsel's request was denied, whereupon the defendant dismissed Mr. Coady. Thereafter, the court requested Mr. Coady to remain as standby counsel and then allowed the defendant to argue the motions himself.

After Mr. Coady's dismissal, defendant continued to appear pro se and filed additional pleadings for the trial court's consideration. On April 7, 1980, he filed a habeas corpus petition. On April 10, 1980, the day set for his trial, the trial court set the defendant's petition for a hearing at the conclusion of the trial. The defendant thereupon refused to proceed to trial and, at one point, had to be forcibly brought back into the courtroom by the sheriff. The following colloquy occurred:

"THE DEFENDANT: I wish to make a statement to the Court and to the press."

Whereupon, the following conference was held at the bench between the court and counsel out of the hearing of the jury:

"MR. COADY: What he wants to do, he tells me, Judge, is to go to the jail. He doesn't want to be present at the trial. And he said that he wants to do so after making a statement to the Court and he has prepared a written statement that he wants to give to the press.

As I understand it, I think he does have a right to waive his presence at trial. He can't be forced to remain in the courtroom.

MR. COADY: Now he did say these 3 things: He says he wants to hand a written statement to the Court, make a statement to the Court. I don't think necessarily in front of the jury. And he wants to go to jail."

Thereafter, the following proceedings were held in open court in the presence and hearing of the jury:

"THE DEFENDANT: In the presence of the jury.

MR. COADY: George, do you want to waive your presence or are you just ...


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