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People v. Dockery

May 17, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
PAUL W. DOCKERY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Randolph County. Nos. 96-CM-367, 96-DT-156, 96-TR-1937, & 96-TR-1938 Honorable William A. Schuwerk, Jr., Judge, presiding.

Justices: Honorable Charles W. Chapman, J. Honorable Clyde L. Kuehn, J., Concurs Honorable Thomas M. Welch, J., Dissents

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Chapman

The circuit court of Randolph County dismissed charges against Paul W. Dockery (defendant) for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, because the State failed to provide him with a speedy trial. The State appeals pursuant to section 114-1(a)(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (the Code) (725 ILCS 5/114-1(a)(1) (1998)) and Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(1) (145 Ill. 2d R. 604(a)(1)). It asserts that the trial court erroneously found that defendant's demand for a speedy trial was sufficient. It seeks the reversal of the order dismissing the charges against defendant and a remand for further proceedings. We affirm.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The issue is whether, as a matter of law, the speedy trial demand made by defendant was sufficient. Given that neither the facts nor the credibility of witnesses is contested, the issue is one that the reviewing court may consider de novo. See People v. McArthur, 304 Ill. App. 3d 395, 397, 713 N.E.2d 93, 95 (1999).

BACKGROUND

Defendant was involved in a rear-end collision with another vehicle in Randolph County on September 6, 1996. As a result of the investigation of the collision, defendant was ticketed for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, illegal transportation of alcohol, and failure to reduce speed in order to avoid an accident. Defendant made bond and was given notice that he was to appear in court on September 19, 1996, but he failed to appear in court at that hearing or for one reset for October 17, 1996. Counsel filed an entry of appearance November 4, 1996. The caption and body of the filing read as follows:

"ENTRY OF APPEARANCE

Comes now Thomas M. Daley[] and respectfully enters his appearance on behalf of the defendant, Paul Dockery, for the above charge(s) and demands a trial by jury."

When defendant failed to appear at a hearing set for November 25, 1996, a warrant issued for his arrest, but the warrant was quashed on December 5, 1996. On July 15, 1997, defendant filed a letter discharging attorney Daley as counsel. His return address was given as "FPC Yankton, Box 700, Kingsbury 307, Yankton, South Dakota," which was indicative of defendant's incarceration in a Federal prison.

On July 22, 1997, at a time when defendant was still in Federal prison, substitute counsel filed an entry of appearance and a demand for a speedy trial. The caption and body of this filing read as follows:

"ENTRY OF APPEARANCE

Now comes Herbert J. Lantz, Jr., attorney at law, and hereby enters his appearance as counsel of record for defendant, Paul ...


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