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01/08/88 the People of the State of v. Edward Lewis

January 8, 1988





518 N.E.2d 741, 165 Ill. App. 3d 97, 116 Ill. Dec. 119 1988.IL.10

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. John L. Hughes, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. WOODWARD and UNVERZAGT, JJ., concur.


Defendant, Edward Lewis, was found guilty in a jury trial of the offenses of armed violence (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 33A-2) and three counts of aggravated battery (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, pars. 12-4(a), (b)(1), (b)(10)). He was sentenced to a 15-year term of imprisonment for armed violence and concurrent five-year terms of imprisonment on each of the aggravated battery convictions.

Defendant raises numerous issues on appeal pertaining to the denial of his motion for a continuance, the preclusion of his right to present an intoxication defense, the denial of the effective assistance of counsel, trial error, and sentencing errors.

The charges against defendant arose out of defendant's stabbing of Rose Cook on October 7, 1985. The facts at trial, presented by the State, are not in dispute and can be briefly summarized. Defendant showed up, uninvited, at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Cook in Waukegan, Illinois. He was an acquaintance of the Cooks' grandson, who also lived there. Defendant was asked to leave and came back in an hour and a half, stating that he left his wallet there from the previous visit and that some "guys" were after his wallet. While Ed Cook went to look for the wallet, defendant came up behind Cook's wife, Rose, and stabbed her once in the back just underneath her right shoulder blade. It was later determined that the stab wound was 1 inch in depth and 2 inches wide.

Defendant was apprehended a short time later, after a brief chase. Defendant showed the police where he had dropped the knife, which was recovered. At the police station, defendant gave a statement in which he said that some persons were chasing him and he ran to a friend's grandparents' house. He admitted being in the house, leaving, and coming back for his coin purse, which he realized he had left there. While he was waiting for Mr. Cook to look for the purse downstairs, he heard voices telling him to stab Mrs. Cook, which he did. He thought he had stabbed her five times. He then left the home because the voices told him to leave. Defendant offered no evidence at trial.

Defendant initially contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion for a continuance, made just before the jury trial was to commence on March 24, 1986. Defendant's appointed trial counsel, Ms. Valerie Ceckowski, an assistant public defender, requested a continuance on defendant's behalf stating that defendant wished to be represented by Mr. David Keefe, another assistant public defender. Mr. Keefe had handled the case up until a week prior to trial, when it became apparent he could not represent defendant at trial due to his attendance at a seminar. Ms. Ceckowski also stated that defendant wished a continuance because he and his father were going to retain private counsel in the near future.

The following colloquy occurred between Ms. Ceckowski, the court, defendant, and his father:

"THE COURT: How long have you been on this?

MS. CECKOWSKI: Early last week.

THE COURT: Was there any objection at that time when you took over?

MS. CECKOWSKI: He did have some hesitation. He had been dealing with Mr. Keefe. I thought we had worked that out. He has indicated to me we have not.

THE COURT: You want Mr. Keefe to represent you at trial, is that what you are saying?

THE DEFENDANT: Mr. Keefe was working on the trial and then he said that he wasn't going to be in the trial and stuff, you know; he wasn't going to be here.

THE COURT: Do you have objection to Ms. Ceckowski?

THE DEFENDANT: I feel like I wouldn't be properly represented. I don't think I would be properly represented because I think I need a proper attorney.

THE COURT: The case is called right now and this is the first time that you've said anything about a private attorney and you don't have a private attorney here with you now to indicate that he's going to represent you.

THE DEFENDANT: We got in contact with him. He said we would work out a deal and he would be able to represent me.

THE COURT: But you haven't obtained him as yet?


THE COURT: It is only if you can work out some kind of a ...

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