Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon.
Robert A. Nolan, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE STROUSE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The defendant, Richard Hall, appeals from the revocation of his probation and imposition of a 364-day sentence of imprisonment for the offense of battery. His sole contention on appeal is that he was denied due process when the probation revocation hearing was held in his absence. We disagree.
On July 1, 1983, defendant was charged by information with the offense of aggravated battery in violation of section 12-4(a) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4(a)). Defendant was arraigned on that date and, at arraignment, the judge advised defendant that he had a right to be present at every stage of the proceedings but that if he failed to appear the proceedings could go forward and he could be tried and sentenced in his absence. Defendant stated that he understood that.
On September 1, 1983, defendant appeared before the trial court and presented a plea negotiation which reduced the charge of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-4(e)), to battery, a Class A misdemeanor (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 12-3). Defendant pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of battery and was sentenced to one year's probation with conditions of a $300 fine, costs, and restitution.
On October 14, 1983, with the defendant and defense counsel present in court, the State filed a petition to revoke the defendant's probation. On November 4, defendant appeared in court, and his attorney entered a general denial of the petition and advised the court that they were engaging in plea negotiations with the State's Attorney. On December 23, 1983, the State filed an amended petition to revoke probation which alleged three grounds: (1) commission of the offense of theft on September 2, 1983, (2) commission of the offense of battery on September 5, 1983, and (3) commission of the offense of unlawful possession of cannabis on November 9, 1983.
Defendant and defense counsel were both present in court when the hearing on the petition to revoke was scheduled to take place, on January 12, 1984, and when it was continued, without objection, to February 9, 1984.
On February 9, at 1:30 p.m., the prosecution was ready to proceed and had a number of witnesses present. Defendant was not present, although his attorney said defendant would be there momentarily. At 2:15 p.m., the following colloquy took place:
"MS. WILSON [assistant State's Attorney]: Your Honor, the defendant has failed to appear at this time, and may the record reflect that it is now quarter after 2:00.
This matter having been set for 1:30, the People's motion is for warrant to issue.
THE COURT: Why don't I go ahead and hear the evidence in absentia.
MR. BOYD [defense counsel]: Judge,
THE COURT: The defendant has already been admonished that if he fails to appear on any date, the proceedings can go forward and that if he is convicted the only thing that remains is for sentencing.
MS. WILSON: Judge, I am perfectly willing to do that. In fact, I prefer to do it that way, if your Honor ...