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People v. Morris

OPINION FILED MAY 19, 1982.

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

v.

ROBERT H. MORRIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cumberland County; the Hon. JAMES R. WATSON, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE GREEN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant appeals his convictions and sentence resulting from pleas of guilt to forgery and theft over $150 in violation of sections 17-3(a)(3) and 16-1(d)(1) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 17-3(a)(3), 16-1(d)(1)). Following his guilty pleas, defendant was sentenced to 4 years' imprisonment.

On appeal, defendant argues that he did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel before pleading guilty. He also challenges the severity of his sentence, the failure of the trial court to consider mitigating factors in reaching that sentence, and a delay of over two years between the filing of the notice of appeal in the trial court and the docketing of the appeal in this court.

Briefly summarized, the facts indicate that defendant was charged by information with felony theft on the basis that defendant obtained control over a stolen social security check with the intent permanently to deprive the rightful owner of the use of the proceeds of the check. A second count of forgery was filed charging that defendant endorsed the stolen social security check in the name of the payee with intent to defraud.

Defendant first appeared on both of these charges in the trial court on July 11, 1978. A docket entry in the common law record indicates that he appeared without counsel and acknowledged the receipt of a copy of the charges. The trial court also explained the charges and penalties to him as well as defendant's right to a prompt preliminary hearing. Defendant was then advised of his right to counsel and indicated to the court that he wished to waive counsel and plead guilty.

Defendant's second appearance was the next day at which time the State's Attorney represented to the court that defendant's initial appearance had been continued to the second hearing date because of the absence of a court reporter the previous day and the fact that a record needed to be made of the proceedings when defendant was appearing without counsel. Immediately thereafter, the trial court engaged in the following colloquy with the defendant:

"The Court: You are here without counsel. Is it your desire to have a lawyer represent you?

[Defendant]: No, sir.

The Court: Do you understand if you are without funds to hire a counsel the Court will appoint one for you?

[Defendant]: Yes, sir.

The Court: Are you at this time waiving your right to have a lawyer present?

[Defendant]: Yes, sir.

The Court: What do you wish to do on ...


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