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People v. Bell

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

May 23, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ED BELL, Defendant-Appellant.

Rule 23 Order filed April 2, 2013.

Motion to publish allowed May 23, 2013.

Held [*]

The trial court properly dismissed defendant’s fifth successive postconviction petition alleging that his sentence for first degree murder was void due to the absence of anything in the record showing that the grand jury was impaneled and sworn, since the Code of Criminal Procedure does not require a statement that the grand jury was impaneled and sworn, and defendant failed to present a sufficient record supporting his claim that the grand jury was not impaneled and sworn, namely, a transcript of the grand jury proceedings, a bystanders report or an agreed statement of facts.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, No. 95-CF-248; the Hon. Stephen A. Kouri, Judge, presiding.

Ed Bell, of Joliet, appellant pro se.

Jerry Brady, State’s Attorney, of Peoria (Terry A. Mertel and Nadia L. Chaudhry, both of State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, of counsel), for the People.

Panel JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Wright and Justice McDade concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

CARTER JUSTICE

¶ 1 In 1995, defendant, Ed Bell, was convicted of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 1994)) and sentenced to life imprisonment. Defendant appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion for leave to file his fifth successive postconviction petition. Defendant argues on appeal, for the first time, that his sentence is void because the record does not show that the grand jury was impaneled and sworn. We affirm.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 On February 28, 1995, defendant was originally charged by information with two alternative counts of first degree murder. 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 1994). On March 28, 1995, defendant was indicted by a grand jury for the same two counts. On March 30, 1995, defendant acknowledged receipt of the indictment and pled not guilty to the charges. Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

¶ 4 Following defendant's direct appeals (People v. Bell, No. 3-96-0016 (1997) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23); People v. Bell, No. 3-98-0779 (1999) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23)), he filed multiple postconviction petitions. Relevant to this appeal, on February 19, 2012, defendant filed a motion for leave to file his fifth successive postconviction petition, alleging that his natural life sentence was void because the ...


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