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The People of the State of Illinois v. Ronald Richardson

November 29, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD RICHARDSON,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Morgan County No. 09CF19 Honorable Richard T. Mitchell, Judge Presiding.

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

PRESIDING JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices McCullough and Cook concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In March 2010, a jury convicted defendant, Ronald Richardson, of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2008)). In May 2010, the trial court sentenced defendant to 40 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, arguing he was entitled to have the jury instructed on the lesser offense of second degree murder. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In February 2009, the State charged defendant with three counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1), (a)(2) (West 2008)). Each count related to a single crime but charged defendant under a different theory of first degree murder. Defendant pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. Before the case reached trial, defendant requested permission to proceed pro se. The trial court advised defendant of the difficulties in representing himself pro se and engaged in the following discourse with him:

"THE COURT: Okay. And you understand that by going to trial without counsel that you are expected to follow the same rules of procedure as [your former counsel] would if he were involved in representing you? You understand that?

DEFENDANT: I understand sir.

THE COURT: *** There's also instructions which are the law of the case. You understand what that is?

DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

THE COURT: And of course, again, you would be expected to represent yourself in any instruction conferences and anywhere throughout, throughout the whole trial, just the same as if you had counsel. Do you understand that?

DEFENDANT: I understand, sir."

After advising defendant of his responsibilities and giving him time to weigh his options, the court allowed defendant to proceed pro se. In March 2010, the case proceeded to trial. The ...


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