Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Shanklin

July 23, 2004

[5] THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD SHANKLIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



[6] Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 00CF28. Honorable Donald D. Bernardi, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Knecht

[8]  On September 21, 2001, defendant, Ronald Shanklin, filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging (1) he was unfit or incompetent when he entered his guilty plea and could not have understood the ramifications of the plea agreement; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to alert the trial court defendant was unfit for legal proceedings; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for failure to cross-examine the victim at defendant's sentencing hearing. On October 12, 2001, the trial court dismissed defendant's petition as frivolous and patently without merit pursuant to section 122-2.1(a)(2) of the Post-Conviction Hearing Act (Act) (725 ILCS 5/122-2.1(a)(2) (West 2000)). Defendant appeals, contending the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his petition. We reverse and remand.

[9]  I. BACKGROUND

[10]   On May 9, 2000, in the middle of a bench trial, defendant pleaded guilty to attempt (murder) (720 ILCS 5/8-4, 9-1(a)(1) (West 2000)). A plea agreement had been presented to the court on May 8, but defendant apparently became "frustrated" and stopped the plea agreement proceeding. The trial was to resume the following day. The agreement was retendered, and defendant pleaded guilty. A sentencing hearing was held on June 26, 2000. Included in the presentence investigation report was information obtained by the probation officer that defendant had been hospitalized three times for mental-health problems. Tests completed during his hospital stays indicated defendant was mildly mentally retarded and had significant problems retaining and receiving verbal information. Defendant was sentenced to 19 years in prison, the maximum amount to which he had agreed in his plea bargain. He was also ordered to pay $22,395.60 in restitution.

[11]   On July 6, 2000, defense counsel filed a motion to vacate the judgment and withdraw defendant's guilty plea, arguing defendant did not intelligently and knowingly waive his rights as he did not fully understand or comprehend the trial court's admonishments when he entered his guilty plea. On July 11, 2000, defendant filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing (1) defense counsel persuaded him to plead guilty and (2) he had reported he had mental problems to counsel but counsel did not look into them prior to his guilty plea.

[12]   On June 7, 2001, at the hearing on defendant's motions to withdraw guilty plea, defendant advised the trial court he was withdrawing his motions to withdraw his guilty plea. Defendant stated he did not wish to withdraw his guilty plea and set the case for trial, and he acknowledged this action would terminate his direct appeal rights. He stated he discussed this course of action with his family and defense counsel and no one coerced him into taking this action.

[13]   On September 21, 2001, defendant filed a pro se post-conviction petition. In his petition, he alleged he was unfit or incompetent when he entered his guilty plea and could not have understood the ramifications of the plea agreement. Defendant also alleged he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to alert the trial court defendant was unfit for legal proceedings despite the fact defendant advised counsel of defendant's mental-health history. He further alleged trial counsel was ineffective for failure to cross-examine the victim at defendant's sentencing hearing.

[14]   Defendant supported his petition with copies of a psychological evaluation from Hartgrove Hospital, which indicated he had severely impaired judgment and a depressive disorder. The evaluation further indicated he was functioning at a mildly retarded range of intelligence. Test results indicated defendant displayed significant impairment in verbal learning skills, which suggested difficulty in receiving and retaining verbal information. Defendant alleged because of his impaired mental capacity he could not possibly have understood the ramifications of the plea agreement.

[15]   On October 12, 2001, the trial court dismissed the petition as frivolous and patently without merit. This appeal followed.

[16]   II. ANALYSIS

[17]   On appeal, defendant renews two issues raised in his post-conviction petition, arguing (1) his low mental capacity prevented him from understanding the ramifications of his guilty plea and (2) defense counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate the issue of his fitness to plead guilty. He also raises a new issue: (3) he was not admonished of the possibility of a restitution order as part of his sentence prior to pleading guilty.

[18]   The Act authorizes defendants to file post-conviction petitions to establish "a substantial deprivation of federal or state constitutional rights." People v. Haynes 192 Ill. 2d 437, 464, 737 N.E.2d 169, 184 (2000). To succeed in receiving post-conviction relief, a defendant must state the ways in which his constitutional rights were violated and must provide affidavits, records, or other evidence to support the allegations or explain why none could be obtained. 725 ILCS 5/122-2 (West 2002).

[19]   Adjudication of a post-conviction petition follows a three-stage process. People v. Gaultney, 174 Ill. 2d 410, 418, 675 N.E.2d 102, 106 (1996). At the first stage, the trial court must review the petition within 90 days and summarily dismiss the petition if it is frivolous or patently without merit. 725 ILCS 5/122-2.1(a) (West 2002). To survive summary dismissal, a pro se petitioner need only raise the "gist" of a constitutional claim. People v. Coleman, 183 Ill. 2d 366, 380 n.2, 701 N.E.2d 1063, 1071 n.2 (1998). A petition need only present a limited amount of detail to survive summary dismissal because, by definition, a "gist" of a claim is something less than a completely pleaded or fully stated claim. People v. Edwards, 197 Ill. 2d 239, 244, 757 N.E.2d 442, 446 (2001).

[20]   If a petition is not dismissed, counsel is appointed and given an opportunity to amend the petition. The State may then move to dismiss the petition on its merits. 725 ILCS 5/122-4, 122-5 (West 2002); Edwards, 197 Ill. 2d at 245-46, 757 N.E.2d at 446. Review of the summary dismissal of a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.