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11/04/88 the People of the State of v. Lamont Smith

November 4, 1988

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

LAMONT SMITH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

THIS IS AN APPEAL FROM DENIAL OF A PETITION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO SECTION 2-1401 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1985, CH. 110, PAR. 2-1401) FOLLOWING CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS.



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

530 N.E.2d 1104, 176 Ill. App. 3d 132, 125 Ill. Dec. 695 1988.IL.1611

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Fitzgerald, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. PINCHAM and MURRAY, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

We affirm.

Defendant, Lamont Smith, was convicted of rape, armed robbery, and home invasion on March 14, 1984, after a bench trial before the Honorable Kenneth Gillis. In that proceeding, defendant was represented by Russell Born, an assistant Cook County public defender. Subsequently, in April 1985, upon the State's confession of error, this court entered an order vacating one of defendant's two home invasion counts and remanded, for resentencing, the remaining home invasion count. Defendant's convictions and sentences for rape and armed robbery were not disturbed.

On November 27, 1985, defendant, pro se, filed a "Petition For A Writ Or [ sic ] Error Coram Nobis" in the circuit court seeking to vacate his sentences and for grant of a new trial. That petition was superseded by one seeking relief, pursuant to section 2 -- 1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure, filed on defendant's behalf by Ronald P. Katz, another assistant in the Cook County public defender's office.

The petition asserted two grounds for relief. First, the petition stated defendant was unfit to stand trial because defendant suffered from schizophrenia and therefore could not understand the proceedings against him or cooperate with counsel. As support, the petition cited two attached exhibits consisting of reports of two psychiatrists. Those reports concluded that defendant was unfit by reason of his illness to stand trial in 1977 for an unrelated offense. As further support, defendant cited numerous other psychiatric evaluations made shortly after his sentencing hearing on April 12, 1984, in the criminal proceeding underlying this appeal. Second, the petition argued defendant was afforded ineffective assistance of trial counsel because Assistant Public Defender Born failed to inquire as to defendant's past psychiatric history and did not request a psychiatric evaluation.

An evidentiary hearing on defendant's petition was begun on March 26, 1986, before the Honorable Thomas R. Fitzgerald. Assistant Public Defender Katz represented defendant at that hearing.

Two witnesses were called to testify for defendant. Robert A. Reifman, a psychiatrist and director of the psychiatric institute of the circuit court of Cook County, a qualified expert, described the nature of schizophrenia and testified to his review of numerous psychiatric reports, including one of his own, prepared in connection with defendant's prior criminal proceeding.

On cross-examination, Reifman stated that on March 15, 1978, he had found defendant, with medication, was mentally fit to stand trial. Reifman stated that he had examined defendant on February 5, 1986, and, based on that examination, as well as upon his review of the earlier reports and examinations, concluded that defendant was "probably fit for trial" in the underlying action.

In connection with Reifman's testimony, the trial Judge admitted into evidence various behavior assessments and psychiatric reports concerning defendant. Two of the documents related to the 1977 proceeding against defendant. Fourteen of the documents related to reports dated between May 5, 1984, and March 15, 1985.

Defendant's mother testified as to her observation of defendant's aberrant behavior during a visit with him at the Illinois Psychiatric Hospital in 1977, just prior to his arrest in the instant action, and ...


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