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People v. Spice

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 8, 1983.

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

v.

ROBERT LEE SPICE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Ben K. Miller, Judge, presiding. PRESIDING JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendant, Robert Lee Spice, appeals from his conviction of burglary. The defendant argues on appeal that the trial judge erred in failing to entertain the defendant's request for appointment of new counsel and in instructing the jury. The defendant seeks a reversal of his conviction and a remand for new trial. We affirm.

On March 23, 1981, the defendant was charged by information with one count of burglary. A public defender had been appointed on March 12, 1981, to represent the defendant. On May 27, 1981, the defendant made a request by letter that he be permitted to dismiss the public defender and receive representation by another attorney. That letter read in pertinent part:

"Hon: Judge of the Court

I Robert Lee Spice wish to dismiss my court appointed attorney Bruce Beeman!. And request another attorney from the Bar Ass. I feal [sic] my rights to a fair trial, will be violated, if I go to court with him!. . [Sic.] I've only seen him twice!. [Sic.]

Once on Aprile [sic] 15th, and the second time was May 27th 1981.

It is unclear from the record whether the trial court judge ever saw that letter. The letter was filed with the clerk on May 27, 1981. The court took no action on the letter, and the cause proceeded to trial. Not again until this appeal did the defendant express dissatisfaction with his counsel.

On March 11, 1981, the defendant gave the police a written statement which was introduced by the State without objection as evidence at the defendant's trial. In that statement the defendant indicated that he and another man, Marvin Barnes, had gone to the victim's residence on January 9, 1981. According to the statement, the two men agreed on and executed a plan that Barnes would "break into a house" and that Spice was not going to go in "but would stand outside to watch for the police and * * * help sell the stuff we got." The defendant's statement continues to say that neither man had permission to enter the house.

At the close of the trial the court instructed the jury. Among the instructions given were the following:

"A person commits the crime of burglary who, without authority, knowingly enters a building or any part thereof with intent to commit theft." (People's Instruction No. 9, based on Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (IPI), Criminal, No. 14.05 (2d ed. 1981).)

and

"To sustain the charge of burglary, the State must prove the following propositions:

First: That the defendant or one for whose conduct he is legally responsible entered a building; and

Second: That the defendant or one for whose conduct he is legally responsible did so with intent to commit the crime of theft.

If you find from your consideration of all the evidence that each of these propositions has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then ...


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