The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Ivie Clay ("Clay") has filed a habeas corpus petition
against the Director of the Juvenile Division ("Director") of
the State of Illinois Department of Corrections
("Department").*fn1 Clay advances several grounds for relief:
1. Her guilty plea was involuntary because she
(a) was ignorant of available defenses and (b)
misunderstood the terms of her plea agreement.
2. She received inadequate representation from
Assistant Public Defenders Roger Harris
("Harris") and Saul Friedman ("Friedman") both
when she pleaded guilty and in connection with
her motion to vacate the guilty plea.
3. Denial of the motion to vacate deprived Clay
of due process because she was unconditionally
entitled, according to the trial court's own
representations, to withdraw her plea if her
sentence did not accord with the plea agreement.
Director now moves for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
("Rule") 56.*fn2 For the reasons stated in this memorandum
opinion and order, Director's motion is granted.
On August 8, 1977 Clay (then 15 years old) was arrested for
aggravated assault and charged with delinquency. Because of
Clay's indigency, Friedman was appointed as her counsel. At
the initial interview Clay disclosed facts that might have
established certain legal defenses to the charge against her.
But Friedman did not apprise her of the availability of such
defenses. Instead he urged her to enter into a plea agreement
and plead guilty.
Unaware of any other option, Clay followed that
recommendation on the understanding her plea agreement
foreclosed any possibility of actual commitment. But that
belief was apparently mistaken, for both Friedman and the
Assistant State's Attorney handling the case have stated by
affidavit that their only agreement was to amend the Complaint
to read that the weapon used was a knife rather than a
On September 28, 1977 Clay admitted her guilt before Cook
County Circuit Court Judge Rogers. After Clay acknowledged her
guilty plea had been induced by a plea agreement, Judge Rogers
advised her of her unconditional right to withdraw the
admission if he refused to accept the agreement. On October
26, 1977 Judge Rogers found Clay guilty of delinquency and
committed her to Department. Even though that sentence
represented a rejection of Clay's version of the plea bargain,
Friedman neither moved to withdraw her admission nor informed
her of her right to do so.
Convinced that Friedman had bungled the case, Clay's mother
Ina immediately telephoned Assistant Director John Elson
("Elson") of the Northwestern University Legal Clinic (the
"Clinic") for help.*fn4 Ina Clay Dep. 126. She told Elson her
daughter had been promised probation in return for her guilty
plea and Friedman "had sold her down the river." Elson Dep.
67-69.*fn5 Elson told Mrs. Clay he was too busy to represent
her daughter but offered to consult with Friedman and "see if
he would do anything about it." Elson Dep. 61. Mrs. Clay
Elson called Friedman the next day, apprising him of Mrs.
Clay's belief her daughter had been misinformed that her
admission of guilt could not lead to commitment. Friedman
apparently agreed with that assessment, acknowledging "there
was a real problem with what Ivie Clay understood." Elson Dep.
86. Friedman said he would file a motion to vacate her guilty
plea, assuring Elson "he didn't think there would be a big
problem with the matter." Elson Dep. 87-88.
On November 4, 1977 Friedman called Elson to give him a
general status report. Friedman said "he was processing the
papers on the case and would have them done shortly and have
the transcript typed up." Elson Dep. 76. On November 22
(within the prescribed 30-day period) Friedman filed the
motion to vacate, using a standard printed form with blanks
for the name of the "respondent" (in this case Clay). Needless
to say, the form was seriously deficient as a presentation of
Clay's specific basis for relief:
1. It refers to respondent Clay throughout as a
2. It advances very generalized grounds for
vacating the plea, none of which really
encompassed Clay's present habeas claims (this is
a literal transcription of the form, warts and
4. That the minor respondent did not fully
comprehend the significance of his admission.
5. That the minor respondent was not
admonished in his admission, in that there was
no affirmative showing that the court informed
the minor respondent and ...