The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Freeman
After a trial held in the circuit court of Cook County, a jury found defendant, Michael Mayo, guilty of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. 720 ILCS 5/12-14(a)(2) (West 1998). Defendant received a sentence of two consecutive eight-year terms. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the convictions, holding that the State violated the speedy-trial provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (725 ILCS 5/103-5 (West 1998)). No. 1-99-2034 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). We granted the State's petition for leave to appeal. 177 Ill. 2d R. 315(a). We reverse and remand.
Defendant was arrested on February 3, 1998, and subsequently charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of criminal sexual assault. After defendant's arrest, he remained in custody and was never released on bond. On March 11, 1998, the trial court appointed a public defender to represent defendant. The public defender entered a not-guilty plea on defendant's behalf.
On July 1, 1998, defendant, through his public defender, expressed his wish to demand trial and proceed pro se. After admonishing defendant of his rights, warning him of the perils of self-representation, and asking defendant a few general questions, the trial court allowed the public defender to withdraw and continued the case to July 9, 1998, on defendant's motion so that defendant could answer the State's discovery motion.
On July 9, 1998, defendant appeared in court without an answer to the State's discovery motion. Defendant stated that he needed some help and told the court and public defender that he could not represent himself. Based upon this representation, the trial court reappointed the public defender.
After a few status dates, defendant appeared in court on November 30, 1998, with a different public defender. Defendant told the court that he wanted trial to be set. The public defender responded that if defendant wanted to demand trial, he could try the case himself. The trial court asked defendant if he wanted to represent himself or have an attorney. Defendant stated that he wanted an attorney. However, after some discussion between the public defender and State's Attorney as to a continuance date of December 21, 1998, defendant interjected and the following exchange occurred:
"[Defendant]: I would like to take back my-I'm ready at this time. I don't need her [public defender] help. She is not helping me.
[Public Defender]: I just got on the case. I'd like the record to reflect I got on the case two weeks ago and spoken to his wife.
[The Court]: Be back on December 21st. If you still want to represent yourself we'll go back at that time and you'll go to trial by yourself. I don't suggest it because I think it's-
[Defendant]: The only reason I suggested that this woman talked to my wife, she gave the impression that she is not working on my behalf. She told my wife she already finds no reason to be here. What is she doing for me if she is telling my wife that she shouldn't be here on my behalf?
[Public Defender]: I didn't tell her that.
[Defendant]: Ask my wife right there.
[Public Defender]: I don't want to get in the middle of this. If you want to get a private attorney ...