Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 10-CF-798 Honorable Thomas E. Mueller, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Schostok
JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Bowman and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 On May 10, 2010, the defendant, Joseph P. Liss, was charged by indictment with one count of forgery (720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(2) (West 2008)). Following a jury trial held in the defendant's absence, he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial, held in absentia, violated his constitutional right to be present in the courtroom. Alternatively, he argues that he was not properly admonished that, by failing to appear for trial, he would be waiving his constitutional right to confront witnesses. We affirm.
¶ 3 On May 10, 2010, the defendant was charged by indictment with one count of forgery (720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(2) (West 2008)). The indictment alleged that the defendant, with the intent to defraud, knowingly delivered to Amcore Bank a document capable of defrauding another. Specifically, the defendant wrote a check payable to himself in the amount of $2,300 from his father's checking account and signed his father's name (Gregg Liss). The defendant thereafter cashed the check at the bank.
¶ 4 At the defendant's May 14, 2010, arraignment, the defendant was advised of the charge against him and the possible penalties. The trial court further advised the defendant as follows:
"You will have the right to have this case tried either before a judge or a jury. If this case goes to trial, at the trial you will have the right to confront or cross-examine any witness that's called to testify against you. You will have use of this court's subpoena power to force any individual into court to testify at the trial on your behalf, and you will also have what's called a privilege against self-incrimination, which means that if you and your lawyer decide that your case is going to go to trial but you are not going [to] get on the witness stand and testify at that trial, no one can make you testify."
The defendant indicated that he understood the foregoing admonition.
¶ 5 Thereafter, the defendant pled not guilty to the forgery charge and stood on his right to a jury trial. The trial court entered the plea and further admonished the defendant as follows:
"In the event, Mr. Liss, you do post bond sometime between now and the trial date, remember that it is your obligation to make every court date, and that if you miss a court date, a warrant will issue for your arrest.
If this case gets set for trial and you elect not to come to court the day of trial, not only would a warrant issue, but then you would run the risk that the trial could go forward without you, which means that you could be tried in your absence, a jury could find you guilty, and a judge could sentence you, even though you are not here.
The defendant responded affirmatively. The next status date was set for May 19, 2010. The record indicates that the defendant remained in ...