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07/28/94 PEOPLE STATE ILLINOIS v. MAURICE STATEN

July 28, 1994

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLANT,
v.
MAURICE STATEN, APPELLEE.



McMORROW

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcmorrow

JUSTICE McMORROW delivered the opinion of the court:

While serving a 20-year prison term for home invasion and armed robbery, Maurice Staten was convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon by a person committed to a facility of the Illinois Department of Corrections (Department) and was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on that charge. The appellate court reversed defendant's conviction, holding that because the State failed to try him within 160 days of his written demand for trial, defendant was denied his right to a speedy trial and must be discharged from the weapons conviction. We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal (134 Ill. 2d R. 315).

The State argues that defendant's attempt to invoke a demand for speedy trial was fatally deficient because the demand cited the wrong statute and omitted certain information required by the applicable statute, section 3-8-10 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-10). In addition, the State contends that the appellate court erred in holding that defense counsel had rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to move for discharge on speedy-trial grounds before defendant's trial.

We reverse the judgment of the appellate court.

BACKGROUND

In February 1990, while defendant was serving a sentence at Menard Correctional Center, prison guards observed him throw something into a dumpster immediately prior to a routine search of prisoners. The guards recovered an object, described in the resulting report as an eight-inch-long, rod-shaped weapon "made from an ink pen." Defendant was charged with possession of a dagger-like weapon by a person committed to a facility of Department. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 24-1.1(b).) Before trial, defendant's attorney filed with the court and served on the State a document which, after setting forth the caption of the case, stated in full:

"REQUEST FOR TRIAL BY JURY

NOW COMES the defendant in the above-captioned cause, by and through his attorney, * * *, and demands a trial by jury in said cause, pursuant to Section 103-5(b), Chapter 38, Illinois Revised Statutes."

The signature of defendant's attorney appeared below this text.

It is significant to note that neither before nor after trial did defendant assert that he was denied his right to a speedy trial. Defendant's assertion that he was denied a speedy trial was made for the first time on appeal following his conviction. We also note that the sole reference in the record to a demand for speedy trial is the citation to section 103-5(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, incorporated into defendant's jury demand. Defendant's attempted demand for a speedy trial was contained in the text of his jury demand and was not separately set forth. In People v. Ground (1994), 257 Ill. App. 3d 956, 959, the court held that a defendant's demand for speedy trial under section 103-5(b) "must be set forth in the title or heading of any pleading containing that demand * * * and must say that defendant 'demands a speedy trial.'" (Emphasis in original.) The Ground court reasoned that the demand for speedy trial is extremely significant because it is the sole means by which a defendant may preclude the State from prosecuting him, irrespective of how reprehensible the crime may be, or how overwhelming the evidence of guilt. Accordingly, the court noted that there could be no tolerance of any efforts on the part of defendants to "hide or bury their intent to invoke" the speedy-trial provisions. Ground, 257 Ill. App. 3d at 959.

Section 103-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 is commonly referred to as the Speedy Trial Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 103-5). Defendant's citation to this act in his jury demand was erroneous, however, because the speedy-trial provision that applies to prisoners in defendant's situation is the intrastate detainers statute, section 3-8-10 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-10). Section 3-8-10 applies to "persons committed" to a Department facility who have "untried complaints, charges or indictments pending in any county of this State." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 1003-8-10.

On January 28, 1991, approximately 117 days following defendant's demand for a jury trial, defendant's case was called for trial. The prosecutor, defense counsel, and defendant were present in court. The parties began selecting the jury but were unable to complete the process. After 10 jurors had been chosen, the trial court stated, "We have run out of jurors. We are unable to pick a jury in this case." The State asked whether the court could "summon a couple of jurors" for the next day. The court replied, "No. Do you want to continue the case over to the March docket?" Although it cannot be conclusively determined from the record to whom the question was directed, the record shows that the State did not respond but defense counsel said, "Thank you, your Honor." The court then remarked that it would reschedule the matter to the first available date on the March criminal docket. To this comment of the court, defense counsel replied, "Okay, your Honor."

The record contains an administrative order dated February 20, 1991, which listed the cases on the docket call for the March 1991 criminal jury trial docket. These cases were listed in chronological order by docket number. Defendant's case, assigned in accordance with this procedure, was called for trial on March 21, 1991. This date, according to the calculation of the appellate court in the instant case, was six days past the expiration of the applicable speedy-trial period of 160 days.

On March 21, before trial, the Judge explained to defendant that the parties would select a jury in the same manner as they had two months earlier, on the original trial date, and then proceed with the trial. Defendant responded, "Yes, your Honor." Neither defendant nor defense counsel raised a speedy-trial issue or moved for discharge of ...


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