Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Dorsey





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Dwight McKay, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Lynn Dorsey, was found guilty of attempted murder and aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 38, pars. 8-4, 9-1, and 12-4). Defendant was sentenced to 40 years in prison for attempted murder.

Defendant makes the following arguments on appeal: (1) an injunction entered by the domestic relations division of the circuit court against returning to defendant the money posted as bail on these and other criminal charges operated to deny defendant his right to counsel of his choice; (2) the trial judge failed to give defendant the admonishments on waiver of counsel required by Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (73 Ill.2d R. 401(a)), and as a result defendant did not knowingly waive his right to counsel; and (3) the trial judge's ruling that prevented defendant from calling several witnesses in his defense violated defendant's right to due process of the law.

We affirm.


Defendant was charged by indictment with the aggravated battery and attempted murder of his wife Jane. While the charges were pending, Jane filed a petition in the circuit court of Cook County for dissolution of her marriage to defendant. After his arrest for the attempted murder of Jane, defendant posted $2,000 to satisfy a $20,000 bond, and was released. On July 26, 1978, defendant was charged with aggravated arson and bond was set at $250,000. Defendant raised the $25,000 necessary to satisfy this second bond by selling the Dorsey home. On April 5, 1979, defendant was arrested for an unrelated murder; defendant was unable to satisfy the $500,000 bond in that case.

On April 19, 1978, pursuant to the dissolution of marriage proceedings, Jane obtained a temporary injunction in the domestic relations division of the circuit court of Cook County restraining the clerk of the circuit court from assigning, transferring, pledging, or in any other manner disposing of the bail money in the amount of $25,000. The temporary injunction order was continued from time to time and made permanent on May 16, 1979. On June 18, 1979, the domestic relations division ordered that the $2,000 bail deposit also be held in escrow by the circuit court clerk. Thus, the return to defendant of a total of $27,000 in bail deposits was enjoined by the domestic relations division of the circuit court. Defendant's motions to vacate the injunctions were denied by the trial judge in the instant attempted murder and aggravated battery case, on the ground that "it's beyond my jurisdiction as long as there is an unappealed and effective order of another branch of the court."

Defendant had been represented by counsel in the marriage dissolution proceedings. Defendant stated that in spite of his wish to take an interlocutory appeal of the injunction against returning to him the bail posted, his counsel failed to do so. Defendant also had retained an attorney to represent him in the instant case, but that attorney requested and received leave to withdraw from the case before trial. In a motion to the trial court, defendant subsequently charged that attorney with ineffective assistance of counsel. On August 21, 1980, the day after defendant's counsel received leave to withdraw, a public defender was appointed for defendant. Defendant nevertheless contacted another attorney he wanted to represent him. That attorney told the trial judge he would represent defendant if he could be paid out of the bond deposits, and refused to represent defendant because the bail money was not available to pay his fee. During the trial defendant named 16 other attorneys he had contacted about representing him. Presumably, all of them declined to do so.

At a pretrial hearing on October 27, 1980, defendant requested leave to proceed pro se, telling the trial judge he did not want a public defender or an attorney from the Committee on Defense of Prisoners of the Chicago Bar Association to represent him. The judge accordingly read Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (73 Ill.2d R. 401(a)) on waiver of counsel to defendant, explained that the purpose of the Rule is to insure that a waiver of counsel be knowingly and understandingly made, and thoroughly admonished defendant as the Rule requires.

On November 3, 1980, another pretrial hearing took place. Patrick Moriarty, an experienced criminal lawyer who was in private practice, was present at the trial judge's request to confer with defendant. After a three-hour meeting with Moriarty, defendant requested that he be appointed to represent defendant. The trial judge then appointed Moriarty as counsel to assist defendant.

At a hearing on defendant's motion to suppress evidence held on November 25, 1980, the trial judge reminded defendant of their earlier discussions of defendant's right to counsel. Defendant responded that he would seek counsel of his choice if the court would "free" the $27,000 bond money. The trial court told defendant that he could not do that, and defendant then stated again that he wished to proceed pro se. During the trial proceedings counsel Moriarty advised defendant, conducted the direct examination of defendant, and objected to certain questions and statements made by the State's Attorneys. During the trial, defendant stated that he had had many arguments with counsel Moriarty and moved the court to compel his withdrawal. This motion was denied.

The evidence presented at trial revealed that Lynn and Jane Dorsey had been married for 12 years when the attempted murder of Jane Dorsey occurred. Jane testified that on April 1, 1978, she and defendant left the bar he managed at closing time, about 2:30 a.m., and went home. At home, defendant began to beat Jane, striking her about 10 times with his fists. He then struck her on the head once or twice with a fireplace poker and kicked her down the basement stairs. Defendant ordered Jane to sign a confession to a murder, and when she refused he banged her head against the cement floor until she lost consciousness.

A nurse who worked in the emergency room at South Suburban Hospital testified that she had received a telephone call about 5:15 p.m. on April 1, 1978. The caller told her that his wife was very sick and he was going to send her to the hospital by ambulance. During a long conversation, the caller said that "he had beat the hell out of her and pushed her down the stairs." He said his wife's name was Jane Dorsey. The nurse called an ambulance and the police.

Defendant took the police officer who responded to the call into a bedroom of defendant's home, where the officer saw a woman lying on a bed, nude and unconscious. Defendant told the officer that at 6 o'clock that morning, while intoxicated, he had had a fight with his wife and had thrown her down the stairs. The officer, a certified paramedic, observed that the woman's eyes were discolored and swollen shut, she had lacerations and contusions on her face, and several bruises on her legs. He also noticed that defendant's hands were discolored and swollen.

When Jane arrived at the emergency room she was comatose and in extremely critical condition. The nurse described Jane's injuries as swelling of the brain, a collapsed lung, extreme bruising of the face, arms, hands, legs, chest, and hips, and contusions and lacerations ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.