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People v. Lynn

OPINION FILED APRIL 19, 1984.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE,

v.

THOMAS LYNN, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Fourth District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County, the Hon. Warren A. Sappington, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MORAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied June 29, 1984.

The defendant, Thomas Lynn, was charged by information with two counts of battery, a Class A misdemeanor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 12-3(a)(1)). Defendant, without the presence of an attorney, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced by the circuit court of Macon County to a one-year period of probation. While on probation, the defendant was charged in two counts with deceptive practices in Sangamon County (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 17-1(B)(d)) for which he was later convicted. This conviction served as the basis of a petition to revoke probation. After a hearing, at which defendant was represented by counsel, his probation was revoked. The defendant was then sentenced to a term of 364 days with credit given for time served on probation. This sentence was to run concurrently with the Sangamon County sentence of two years.

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the revocation of probation, but vacated the sentence and remanded the cause for a more precise determination of the sentence credit. (113 Ill. App.3d 1172 (Rule 23 order).) It did not decide the constitutional issue presented regarding the sentence of imprisonment following the revocation of probation. This court granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal. 87 Ill.2d R. 315(a).

The sole issue presented for review is whether the defendant was denied his Federal constitutional right to counsel under the sixth and fourteenth amendments when he was sentenced, as a result of a probation-revocation proceeding, to a term of imprisonment on the underlying, uncounseled, misdemeanor convictions.

The record shows that the defendant was arraigned on the battery charges on June 2, 1981. At that time, the trial court admonished a group of accused persons, present in the courtroom, as to their rights. The defendant, as a member of that group, was given a written copy of the charges against him and advised that he had the right to plead guilty or not guilty. He was informed of the consequences of a guilty plea and told of his right to a trial by a judge or by a jury. In addition, the court instructed the group that they had a right to be represented by a lawyer. The court also described the various classifications of misdemeanors, explaining the maximum sentence for each and also mentioning the possible sentences of probation and supervision. In discussing these sentences, the court stated:

"[I]t's possible under Illinois law to plead guilty and apply for probation or supervision * * *. However, I want you to understand that if you want to do that you are going to have to hire a lawyer to talk with about that procedure."

After this general admonition en masse, the court directed admonitions personally to each defendant. At this point, it was determined that defendant had read a copy of the charges against him and had understood the nature of those charges. The court then questioned the defendant as follows:

"Mr. Lynn, do you want to plead guilty to these or do you want to plead not guilty or do you want to talk to a lawyer before you do or say anything?"

The defendant's response appears to have been uncertain, and so the court once again explained to him his options. In concluding, the court stated:

"And if you have any doubt or reservations since these are both Class A misdemeanors and carry [a] maximum penalty of [a] year in jail, fine of $1,000, I would, of course, ask you and encourage you to talk with a lawyer but I can't make you do so."

Thereafter the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of battery. It is undisputed that, although the court stated that defendant had a right to counsel and encouraged him to talk with a lawyer, it failed to inform the defendant, at any time, that he had a right to appointed counsel if indigent.

On June 30, 1981, a sentencing hearing was held. The defendant was sentenced to a one-year period of probation on the battery convictions. As one of the conditions of probation, the court required that the defendant ...


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