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June 3, 1996


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable Matthew J. Moran, Judge Presiding.

Presiding Justice Campbell delivered the opinion of the court: Buckley, J., concurs. Wolfson, J., dissents.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell

PRESIDING JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court.

Contemner, Anthony Minor, appeals from his summary conviction for direct criminal contempt of court based upon his filing of false documents with the court. He contends on appeal that the allegations in his pro se petition to withdraw his guilty plea were insufficient to support the contempt conviction. He contends further that the trial court erred in proceeding summarily.


Contemner was charged with one count of residential burglary, a Class 1 felony punishable by not less than 4 years nor more than 15 years of imprisonment. 720 ILCS 5/19-3; 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(4) (West 1992). Following a negotiated guilty plea on November 10, 1993, he was convicted of burglary, a Class 2 felony punishable by not less than three years nor more than seven years of imprisonment, and he was sentenced to the minimum prison term of three years. 720 ILCS 5/19-1; 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(5) (West 1992). He subsequently sent various pro se documents, including a petition to withdraw his guilty plea, to the trial judge, to another judge, to his attorney, and to circuit court clerks, in which he made allegations about the trial judge.

In his pro se "Petition to Withdraw Guilty Plea and Vacate Sentence," which was file-stamped December 7, 1993, contemner stated, inter alia:

"3. Petitioner ['s] Guilty Plea was made after the Judge: Mattew [sic ] J. Moran racially denied a consensus agreement that was made with the defendant, defendant's Attorney and the State's Attorney whom [sic ] agreed upon 9 months home detention to avoid overcrowding the prison system all because the victim, Mary J. McDonald whom I love dearly falsely claimed that her residents [sic ] was broken into ***.

4. Petitioner's Guilty Plea was also made by the racism shown by the Judge when the State's Attorney offered the Defendant 9 month [sic ] home detention and the Judge refused to acknowledge the offer when accepted and the Judge changed it to 3 years.

5. Petitioner's Guilty Plea was made because there was [sic ] statements made that the Judge was going to persuade the Jury to convict the defendant so a Nine year sentence could be imposed upon the defendant for a prejudice perspective that the Judge insteals [sic ] within his courtroom."

In an undated, unstamped pro se document entitled "Amended Reasons For Withdraw [sic ] of Guilty Plea," contemner stated that Judge Moran had made a "false accusation" against him in declining to sentence him to substance abuse treatment; that "the threat of [sic ] accept 3 years or take 9 years imprisonment for the case if the 3 was not accepted, and that the Judge would persuade the Jury as to why they should Find me guilty and that the Judge would be sure to expunge his statements from the Court records and transcripts"; that Judge Moran had violated his constitutional rights "which also grant [sic ] reason to show prejudice in the Courtroom"; that "Defendant ['s] race, color & creed did matter because several white individuals appeared before the Judge Mattew [sic ] J. Moran with more than one prior conviction and similar charge and was [sic ] allowed to get I-Bonds. Defendant was denied I-Bond ***."

The record also contains various other pro se documents. In a letter sent to his assistant public defender dated November 16, 1993, and file-stamped November 24, 1993, contemner stated that he was withdrawing his guilty plea because, inter alia:

"3. I Feared my life standing trail [sic ] before the Honorable Court of Judge Mattew [sic ] J. Moran do [sic ] to the threat imposed upon my [sic ] by the accusations made about the Judge is going to give me more that [sic ] a reasonable amount of time for the crime.

6. I have reason to believe that the Judge was paid off to give me the 3 years by staff in the Court house."

In a pro se document dated November 29, 1993, but not file-stamped, which contains the trial court case number and the name of the trial judge, contemner purported to indict the burglary complainant "in the State of Shock, County of Chaos & Confusion and Supreme Court of Love & Heartbreak" based upon, inter alia, her failure to send him "enough love letters," and he threatened her with "a life time of misery" (in all capital letters) in the event that she were found ...

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