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People v. Speed

February 02, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
THADDEUS SPEED, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, Illinois Nos. 97--CF--201, 97--CF--495, 98--CF--346 and 98--CF--719 Honorable Daniel W. Gould, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Homer

The defendant, Thaddeus Speed, pled guilty and was convicted of attempted possession of a stolen motor vehicle (case No. 97--CF--495) and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (case No. 98--CF--346) (625 ILCS 5/4--103(a)(1), 720 ILCS 5/8--4, 24--1.1 (a) (West 1996)). Pursuant to plea negotiations, the defendant was sentenced on September 1, 1998, to 30 months of probation. He was subsequently charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with intent to deliver (case No. 98--CF--719) (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2) (West 1998)) and violation of the terms of his probation. Following a stipulated bench trial, the defendant was convicted of the drug offense, and his probation was revoked. He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in No. 98--CF--719, to be served concurrently with 4-year terms imposed in Nos. 97--CF--495 and 98--CF--346. The defendant appeals from his convictions in all three cases. *fn1 He contends that the court erred by conducting proceedings via closed circuit television. For reasons that follow, we affirm the defendant's conviction in No. 98--CF--719 and dismiss his appeal in Nos. 97--CF--495 and 98--CF--346.

FACTS

The record shows that the defendant made his first appearance in person in Nos. 97--CF--495 and 98--CF--346 on August 19, 1997, and May 29, 1998, respectively. In both cases, he was assigned services of the public defender and thereafter appeared for proceedings only via closed circuit television. On September 1, 1998, pursuant to a negotiated agreement with the State, the defendant pled guilty to attempted possession of a stolen motor vehicle and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. The court accepted the defendant's pleas and imposed concurrent 30-month periods of probation, as agreed. The defendant was admonished of his appeal rights, but he did not move to withdraw and vacate judgment or perfect an appeal from his convictions or sentence.

On November 12, 1998, the defendant was charged in No. 98--CF--719 with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Upon return of the indictment in that case, the State petitioned for revocation of the defendant's probation in the two earlier cases. On June 1, 1999, the defendant appeared via closed circuit television and waived his right to a jury trial. After admonishing the defendant of the rights he was waiving and ensuring that the defendant's decision was knowing and voluntary, the court accepted the jury waiver and set the cause for a bench trial.

On June 30, 1999, the defendant appeared in person for trial. At the close of the evidence, the court found the defendant guilty of the drug delivery offense in No. 98--CF--719. The court also found that the defendant had violated the terms of his probation in the earlier cases. The defendant was subsequently sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for the drug offense, to be served concurrently with 4-year sentences imposed for the earlier offenses. The defendant appeals.

JURY WAIVER IN NO. 98--CF--719

The defendant first argues that he is entitled to a new trial in No. 98--CF--719, because the court's acceptance of his jury waiver over closed circuit television violated his constitutional rights and Illinois law. Having failed to object in the trial court, the defendant asks this court to consider the matter as plain error.

Our resolution of this issue is controlled by our recent decision in People v. Lindsey, 309 Ill. App. 3d 1031, 723 N.E.2d 841 (2000), appeal allowed, 189 Ill. 2d 670 (2000). In Lindsey, as here, the defendant was arraigned and his jury waiver was accepted at proceedings where the defendant appeared from the jail via closed circuit television. We ruled that no plain error was committed because the evidence of guilt was not closely balanced and there was no basis to believe that fundamental due process protections were denied by the video procedure. We also ruled that the defendant could not prevail on his claim that the circuit court's failure to promulgate rules for the use of closed circuit television proceedings was plain error. Lindsey, 309 Ill. App. 3d 1031, 723 N.E.2d 841.

The record in this case, as in Lindsey, provides no basis for finding plain error. The defendant does not argue that the evidence of guilt was closely balanced. Nor does he contend that his closed circuit television appearance affected the fairness of the jury waiver proceeding. From the record, it appears that the defendant was informed of the nature and cause of the charge he faced, and his waiver of a jury trial was both knowing and intelligent. Accordingly, we conclude that the defendant was not deprived of substantial rights and his video appearance was not, therefore, plain error. Lindsey, 309 Ill. App. 3d 1031, 723 N.E.2d 841.

We further find that plain error did not result from the trial court's alleged noncompliance with the statutory directive to promulgate rules setting forth which proceedings may be conducted by closed circuit television. See 725 ILCS 5/106D--1 (West 1998). The record does not disclose whether the court had complied with its statutory duty to promulgate rules setting forth which proceedings could be conducted via closed circuit television. See 725 ILCS 5/106D--1 (West 1998). However, even were we to assume that it did not, we would conclude that such defect did not impair the fairness of the jury waiver proceeding or constitute plain error. See Lindsey, 309 Ill. App. 3d 1031, 723 N.E.2d 841.

Therefore, we affirm the defendant's conviction in No. 98--CF--719.

GUILTY PLEAS IN NOS. 97--CF--495 AND 98--CF--346

Next, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in accepting his guilty pleas via closed circuit television in Nos. 97--CF--495 and 98--CF--346. Having failed to perfect an appeal from these convictions, he argues that the court's ...


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