Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County. No. 07-CF-617 Honorable Christopher R. Stride, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Jorgensen
PRESIDING JUSTICE JORGENSEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hutchinson and Schostok concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Defendant, John Dean, Jr., appeals from the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to appoint new counsel to represent him on his motion where the motion alleged counsel's ineffectiveness. He asks that we reverse the trial court's denial of his motion and remand for the appointment of new counsel and further postplea proceedings. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
¶ 3 Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2006)) in exchange for the dismissal of seven other first-degree murder charges and a sentencing cap of 45 years.
¶ 4 Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced defendant to 33 years in prison. Defendant moved for reconsideration of his sentence. The trial court denied defendant's motion, and defendant timely appealed. On appeal, we vacated the trial court's order and remanded for compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rules 604(d) (eff. July 1, 2006) and 605(c) (eff. Oct. 1, 2001). People v. Dean, No. 2-10-0240 (2010) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).
¶ 5 On remand, defendant filed a motion to withdraw his plea.*fn1 The motion alleged:
"1. On November 6, 2009 he entered a negotiated Plea of Guilty to the offense of Murder;
2. At the time of the entry of the plea, and for a long time prior thereto, he was being medicated in an amount that affected his ability to reason and understand and he did not fully appreciate the consequences of his plea;
3. Since his medication dosage has been reduced he is more alert and better able to reason and understand matters;
4. He was never informed that the jury could return a verdict of 'Second Degree Murder';
5. His plea was induced by his attorney because his attorney did not want to try his case."
¶ 6 On May 26, 2011, the trial court held a hearing on defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The court first addressed defense counsel's arguments concerning whether the medication taken by defendant affected defendant's ability to knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty. Defense counsel argued that, when defendant pleaded guilty, defendant was taking two antipsychotic drugs, which made defendant sleepy and interfered with his ability to reason and understand what was taking place. The court stated that, although two years had passed, it recalled very vividly defendant's Rule 402 (Ill. S. Ct. R. 402 (eff. July 1, 1997)) conference and plea hearing, due to the nature of the offense. The court noted that ...