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The People of the State of Illinois v. Martinez L. Mineau

November 6, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MARTINEZ L. MINEAU,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 08-CF-4923 Honorable Rosemary Collins, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hudson

JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Presiding Justice Jorgensen specially concurred, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Martinez L. Mineau, was charged with burglary (720 ILCS 5/19-1(a) (West 2008)) and unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-103(a) (West 2008)). Pursuant to an agreement with the State, he pleaded guilty to the unlawful-possession charge and the State dismissed the burglary charge. Defendant later moved to withdraw the plea. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. Defendant appeals, contending that the cause should be remanded for a new hearing where the attorney who represented him at the hearing did not file a certificate pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(d) (eff. July 1, 2006) and the certificate that co-counsel filed was insufficient. We affirm.

¶ 2 Defendant was indicted on January 8, 2009. Represented by assistant public defender Erin Hannigan, he pleaded not guilty. Questions soon arose about defendant's fitness to stand trial but, following a hearing, the court found him fit.

¶ 3 On August 24, 2010, defendant pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle, in exchange for the dismissal of the burglary charge. There was no agreement about a sentence. Ultimately, the trial court sentenced defendant to 8 years' imprisonment, with credit for 668 days he spent in presentencing custody.

¶ 4 Hannigan filed on defendant's behalf a motion to withdraw the plea or, alternatively, to reconsider the sentence. At a January 13, 2011, court appearance, Hannigan told the court that defendant's case was being reassigned to a new public defender, David Doll. Nonetheless, Hannigan filed an amended postplea motion and a Rule 604(d) certificate. The certificate stated:

"I hereby state that I have consulted with the Defendant, Martinez Mineau, by mail and/or in person, to ascertain defendant's contentions of error in the sentence or the entry of the plea of guilty; have examined the trial court file and report of proceedings of the plea of guilty; and have made any amendments to the motion necessary for adequate presentation of any defects in those proceedings."

¶ 5 Both Hannigan and Doll appeared at the hearing on the motion, although Doll questioned defendant and argued on his behalf. Following the hearing, the trial court denied the motion. Defendant, through Hannigan, filed a timely notice of appeal.

¶ 6 Defendant contends that he is entitled to a new hearing on his postplea motion because Doll, who questioned him and delivered the closing argument at the hearing, did not file a Rule 604(d) certificate. Defendant alternatively contends that the certificate Hannigan filed is defective because it uses the disjunctive "or" in two places.

¶ 7 Rule 604(d) requires that, when a defendant moves to withdraw a guilty plea or to reconsider a sentence imposed following a guilty plea, "[t]he defendant's attorney shall file with the trial court a certificate stating that the attorney has consulted with the defendant either by mail or in person to ascertain defendant's contentions of error in the sentence or the entry of the plea of guilty, has examined the trial court file and report of proceedings of the plea of guilty, and has made any amendments to the motion necessary for adequate presentation of any defects in those proceedings."

Ill. S. Ct. R. 604(d) (eff. July 1, 2006). It is well established that "[d]efense counsel must strictly comply with Rule 604(d)'s certificate requirement, and, when counsel fails to do so, the case must be remanded to the trial court for proceedings in compliance with the rule." People v. Love, 385 Ill. App. 3d 736, 737 (2008).

ΒΆ 8 Nothing in the rule's plain language requires that, when a defendant is simultaneously represented by multiple attorneys from the same office, each attorney must file a certificate. In arguing for such a rule, defendant relies on two cases, People v. Herrera, 2012 IL App (2d) 110009, ...


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