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09/23/87 the People of the State of v. Jeanna K. Reed

September 23, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JEANNA K. REED, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT

513 N.E.2d 1193, 160 Ill. App. 3d 606, 112 Ill. Dec. 584 1987.IL.1412

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Whiteside County; the Hon. David DeDoncker, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WOMBACHER delivered the opinion of the court. SCOTT, P.J., and BARRY, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOMBACHER

The defendant, Jeanna K. Reed, was convicted of four offenses: (1) driving under the influence of intoxicating liquors (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501); (2) driving without lights when required (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 95 1/2, par. 12-201(b)); (3) battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 12-3); and (4) unlawful possession of cannabis (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 56 1/2, par. 704). The defendant represented herself during a jury trial and was sentenced to serve two six-month terms of imprisonment for the driving under the influence and battery convictions and a 10-day term of imprisonment for unlawful possession of cannabis. All of the jail sentences were ordered to run concurrently. In addition, she was also ordered to pay a $10 fine for driving without headlights.

The defendant argues in this appeal that her decision to proceed pro se at trial did not constitute a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver of her sixth amendment right to counsel because the trial court failed to comply with Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (103 Ill. 2d R. 401(a)). The defendant also argues that the imposition of a $73 fine under the Violent Crime Victim's Assistance Act was erroneous because the trial court did not impose that fine.

The record reveals that the defendant was originally represented by Michael Albert, a public defender. The defendant became dissatisfied with his performance and, as a result, another public defender was appointed to represent the defendant. Subsequently, the defendant became dissatisfied with his performance as well, and the defendant then obtained the services of a private attorney, who entered his appearance on behalf of defendant on April 8, 1986.

On May 20, 1986, just before the jury trial was to begin, defense counsel informed the Judge that the defendant indicated a desire to proceed pro se. The trial court told her that this was not a smart decision and that there was a strong possibility that she would be found guilty. After the court informed her that she had a right to an attorney, the defendant requested a continuance in order to secure the services of another private attorney. The court voiced its concerns over the delay involved, the inconvenience to the State's witnesses, and the added cost of bringing in another jury as factors to be considered. The court then ordered a five-minute recess in order to allow the defendant to decide what she wanted to do.

After the recess, defendant informed the court that she wanted to fire her attorney, and she requested more time to seek other counsel. The court characterized her request for additional time as a motion for a continuance and denied the motion. After explaining to defendant the consequences of her action, the court discharged her private attorney and proceeded with jury selection.

Upon completion of jury selection, defendant stated that she strongly objected to the trial because she was not represented by counsel of her choice. The defendant stated that she was totally unprepared to defend herself and asked the trial Judge if he was going to deny her right to defend herself. The trial Judge responded that he was not denying her right to defend herself and that she would be allowed to make an opening statement, to cross-examine witnesses, to testify in her own behalf, and to make a final argument. The defendant then stated that she would remain mute throughout the trial.

The State proceeded to argue its case, calling several police officers to testify in support thereof. The defendant presented no evidence on her own behalf and declined to cross-examine any of the witnesses. After the State and the defendant waived closing arguments, the defendant once again objected to the proceedings.

he defendant argues that she was denied her sixth amendment right to counsel because the trial Judge failed to comply with Supreme Court Rule 401(a) (103 Ill. 2d R. 401(a)). The State argues that the issue presented by the facts of this case is simply whether the trial Judge correctly denied defendant's motion for a continuance to obtain new counsel. The State contends that Rule 401(a) does not apply here because the defendant clearly and repeatedly declined to undertake her own representation and she did not express a desire to waive counsel.

In order for there to be a voluntary and intelligent waiver of the sixth amendment right to counsel a trial court must comply with Supreme Court Rule 401(a). (People v. Baker (1983), 94 Ill. 2d 129, 445 N.E.2d 769.) Rule 401(a) requires that before permitting a waiver of counsel by a person accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment, the court must inform the defendant of and determine that he understands: (1) the nature of the charge; (2) the minimum and maximum sentence prescribed by law, including, when applicable, the penalty to which the defendant may be subjected because of prior convictions ...


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