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People v. Lozada

June 28, 2001

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JORGE LOZADA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 97 CR 19898 Honorable John Moran, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Barth

Not Released For Publication

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JORGE LOZADA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 97 CR 19898 Honorable John Moran, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Barth

Defendant, Jorge Lozada, appeals from a sentence imposed in absentia following his plea of guilty to a felony offense. Defendant pled guilty to the offense of residential burglary pursuant to a plea agreement in which he was to receive a nine-year sentence. Subsequent to its acceptance of defendant's plea on December 9, 1997, the trial court granted defendant's request that the sentencing hearing be continued to January 6, 1998. The court warned defendant that his presence at the hearing was mandatory, and that, should he fail to appear, he would be sentenced to the maximum statutory term of 30 years.

 The following exchange occurred:

"THE COURT: "As to Mr. Lazado [sic], the matter will be continued order of the court to January 6th for sentencing hearing at which time as you've indicated, sir, that the - your request to have the matter continued until January 6th *** of next year is granted so that you can have time with your family under two conditions. I'm sure your attorney told you. I want to make sure we understand each other.

I will grant the request. First of all that you are here on January 6th at 9:30 ready to be remanded and secondly that you understand that this assumes that there are no other violations of law between now and then.

DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: If you're arrested for anything, that means that all bets are off and I'll reevaluate the situation based on that. If you fail to appear what will happen you've already pled guilty so you'll -You'll be sentenced in your absence. Based on your absence I'll assume that you are not a good candidate for rehabilitation. *** However, if you fail to appear, then I will assume that doesn't hold true and I'll sentence you to 30 years. Once you are apprehended you will be sent to the penitentiary on a 30 year sentence. Fair enough?

DEFENDANT: Yes."

Defendant was not present in court on January 6, nor was he present on January 7, the date to which the matter was continued. On January 7, 1998, the court recalled that defendant had been admonished with respect to the consequences of his failure to appear. The State thereupon presented evidence of defendant's criminal background, which included two felony convictions in 1987 for residential burglary and, in 1993, two additional convictions for residential burglary. The court then sentenced defendant in absentia to 20 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Defendant was later arrested on a warrant and was brought before the court on April 20, 1999. Defense counsel's oral motion to reconsider ...


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