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People v. Williams

September 11, 1998

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ROBERT WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Zwick

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Vincent M. Gaughan, Judge Presiding.

JUSTICE ZWICK delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Robert Williams, was arrested and charged with one count of residential burglary. More than six years later, he was tried in a bench trial, found guilty and sentenced to serve 12 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He now appeals, arguing that his sixth amendment right to speedy trial was violated and/or that his counsel was ineffective in failing to present a motion for discharge based upon the State's delay in bringing him to trial. In addition, defendant argues that the evidence was inconsistent with the indictment. Finally, defendant argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict him. After reviewing the record and considering defendant's arguments, we affirm. *fn1

The relevant procedural history of the case is as follows.

On February 28, 1989, defendant was charged with one count of residential burglary. On March 15, 1989, he failed to appear for arraignment and the court granted the State's requests to have the bond forfeited and to issue a warrant for defendant's arrest, setting bail on the warrant at $75,000.

One day later, on March 16, 1989, defendant appeared in court and pled not guilty. The court vacated the bond forfeiture and quashed and recalled the warrant. Between March 16, 1989 and August 30, 1989, the case was continued by agreement six times while defendant remained free on bond. However, on August 30, 1989, defendant failed to appear and the trial court again forfeited defendant's bond and issued a warrant for defendant's arrest, setting bond at $75,000. The case was continued by order of the court to October 2, 1989. On that date, defendant again failed to appear and the case was held on call until the next day. On October 3, 1989, due to defendant's failure to appear, the case was stricken off the call with leave to reinstate.

Defendant was subsequently arrested eight times on unrelated charges by Chicago police between October 3, 1989 and March, 1994. He was never detained, however, on the outstanding warrant. Apparently, the police did not realize that a warrant was outstanding for defendant's arrest.

Sometime in March of 1994, an individual named Charles Williams was mistakenly arrested pursuant to defendant's warrant. On March 18, 1994, after determining that Charles Williams was not the defendant, the trial court ordered Charles Williams released and re-issued the August 30, 1989 warrant. Bail was again set at $75,000.

Defendant was again arrested on unrelated charges on November 18, 1994 and February 21, 1995. Once again, police failed to act on the outstanding warrant.

Either in late March or early April of 1995, another man, whose name is not included in the record, was mistakenly arrested pursuant to the defendant's warrant. On May 17, 1995, the court determined that the wrong person was arrested and ordered that he be released. Defendant's warrant was corrected to reflect a new IR number, a no-bail order was set and the case was stricken off the call with leave to reinstate.

On April 19, 1995, and again on June 2, 1995, defendant was arrested on charges unrelated to the warrant. Yet again, police failed to hold him on the warrant. Thus, defendant was arrested at least 12 times after the residential burglary. Each time, the State did not initiate proceedings on the outstanding warrant.

Some time in late July 1995, defendant was arrested pursuant to the corrected warrant. Between August 1, 1995, and May 7, 1996, the case was continued by agreement eight times. On May 7, 1996, defendant was tried in a bench trial and, as noted, was sentenced to serve a period of 12 years in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Initially, defendant claims that his right to a speedy trial was violated where the State did not bring him to trial for more than six years after he was initially charged. The State responds that this issue is waived because defendant did not raise it in the trial court.

It is settled law that absent plain error, "both a trial objection and a written post-trial motion raising the issue are required for alleged errors that could have been raised during trial." (Emphasis in original.) (People v. Enoch, 122 Ill. 2d 176, 186, 522 N.E.2d 1124 (1988); see also People v. Nevitt, 135 Ill. 2d 423, 553 N.E.2d 368 (1990). Although we agree with the State that defendant waived his speedy trial claim by not raising it in the trial court either by way of objection or by including it in his post-trial motion, we elect to address the issue because defendant contends on appeal that waiver of the issue was the result of the ineffectiveness of his trial counsel. ...


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