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06/02/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. WILLIAM J.

June 2, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM J. DEROSSETT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County. No. 92CM2456. Honorable Donald R. Parkinson, Judge Presiding.

As Corrected June 29, 1994.

Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Honorable John T. McCULLOUGH, P.j., Honorable Frederick S. Green, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Knecht

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Champaign County, defendant, community gadfly and amateur litigator, William J. DeRossett, was found guilty of criminal trespass to real property. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 21-3.) He was sentenced to 12 months' probation and 50 hours of public service. Defendant appeals, contending he was denied his sixth and fourteenth amendment rights to counsel and the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

Defendant was arrested and charged with criminal trespass to real property for refusing to leave the Urbana City Building at the Conclusion of a city council meeting. He had attended the council meeting and addressed the council during time set aside for public statements. During that time, defendant had angrily presented his self-described "petition for remedy and of grievance," apparently concerning the city's actions in towing his car. When he refused to relinquish the podium after his allotted speaking time had expired, police officers were required to remove him from the council chambers. Defendant later returned to the meeting and refused to leave his seat there when requested to do so by Urbana city police officers at the Conclusion of the meeting. Members of the general public and most city officials had left the building and the lights were being turned off when defendant was asked to leave.

At his arraignment on October 6, 1992, defendant waived his right to counsel. He later had a change of heart and requested appointment of counsel. The public defender was appointed and defendant's trial date postponed to allow sufficient time for counsel to prepare. The particular assistant public defender assigned to the case brought to the court's attention the fact he had previously represented defendant and defendant had indicated he was "not happy" with his representation. The court found no basis for vacating appointment of the public defender because, although defendant elected to proceed pro se in the prior case, he asked the assistant public defender to serve as advisory counsel and admitted it helped him to have counsel's services available. See People v. DeRossett (1992), 237 Ill. App. 3d 315, 604 N.E.2d 500, 178 Ill. Dec. 244.

On December 17, 1992, after the jury was selected and sworn, but before opening statements were given, defendant advised the court he was "extremely dissatisfied" with his trial counsel because they disagreed about the type of defense to put forth. Defendant wanted to base his defense on a claim of constitutional violations and introduce into evidence tapes of the city council meeting where he was asked to vacate the podium after using up his allotted speaking time. He also wanted to subpoena witnesses other than the police officers being called by the State. The prosecution argued and defense counsel conceded the matters depicted on the tapes were a different matter and separate from defendant's refusal to leave the city building after the meeting concluded. The court then ruled the contents of the tapes were irrelevant and it would not admit them if offered as evidence.

When defendant continued to assert he was not being adequately represented, defense counsel moved to withdraw. The trial court proceeded to advise defendant he had a constitutional right to represent himself, but he would be held to the same standard as an attorney when it came to courtroom procedure. The court apprised defendant of the potential penalties if convicted and asked defendant if he still wanted to represent himself. When defendant failed to answer, the trial court denied defense counsel's motion to withdraw.

At trial, defense counsel cross-examined the prosecution witnesses but did not call any witnesses. Defense counsel would not allow defendant to cross-examine witnesses, and when defendant brought this to the trial court's attention, his request to cross-examine witnesses himself was denied. Defense counsel advised defendant not to testify but left the decision up to defendant. When defendant notified the court he wanted to testify but only in narrative form in order to present evidence regarding his statement to the city council, the trial court informed defendant it would sustain an objection to such testimony. Defendant then decided not to testify. Defense counsel delivered a short closing argument.

At the January 21, 1993, hearing on defendant's post-trial motion, defense counsel informed the court defendant had added a handwritten addendum stating counsel was imposed upon him under duress and he was denied effective assistance of counsel. While defense counsel declined to argue these issues, the trial court discussed them at length before denying the motion.

Defendant claims his constitutional right to counsel was violated by the trial court's failure to review his pretrial complaints against defense counsel; by the court's failure to appoint different counsel, rather than forcing him to choose between appointed counsel or self-representation; and by the court's failure to appoint counsel to represent him on his post-trial claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.

We turn first to defendant's pretrial complaints against defense counsel and his request for appointment of different counsel. Initially, we agree with the State's contention this issue has been waived because it was not raised in defendant's post-trial motion or addendum. To preserve an issue for review, the complained-of error must be included in the post-trial motion. ( People v. Ramey (1992), 151 Ill. 2d 498, 531, 603 N.E.2d 519, 532, 177 Ill. Dec. 449.) We nonetheless take this opportunity to reiterate an indigent defendant does not have a right to court-appointed counsel of his choice ( People v. Cox (1961), 22 Ill. 2d 534, 537, 177 N.E.2d 211, 213), nor does a defendant have the right to select a particular assistant public defender to represent him. ( Cox, 22 Ill. 2d at 537, 177 N.E.2d at 213; People v. Lewis (1988), 165 Ill. App. 3d 97, 103, 518 N.E.2d 741, 745, 116 Ill. Dec. 119.) In addition, the sixth amendment guarantee of counsel does not also guarantee a "meaningful relationship" or rapport between an accused and his counsel. Morris v. Slappy (1983), 461 U.S. 1, 13-14, 75 L. Ed. 2d 610, 621, 103 S. Ct. 1610, 1617.

In this case defendant waited until after the jury was impaneled before complaining to the court about his disagreements with counsel about trial strategy. Despite the waiting jury, the court patiently took the time to consider the specifics of defendant's complaint. The court correctly found the tapes defense counsel refused to use as evidence were not germane. The relevant issue for the jury to decide was whether defendant remained on property after receiving notice from the owner or occupant to leave. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 21-3(a).) When defendant argued special circumstances existed due to the "long and difficult relationship between defendant and defense counsel," the trial court noted defendant both criticized and praised counsel during prior representation. Since the ...


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