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People v. Csaszar

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

December 4, 2013

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARTIN CSASZAR, Defendant-Appellant.

Rule 23 Order filed October 9, 2013

Rule 23 Order withdrawn November 6, 2013

Rehearing denied November 27, 2013

Held [*]

The trial court’s dismissal of the post conviction petition defendant filed with the assistance of his retained counsel was affirmed over his contention that his retained counsel failed to provide reasonable assistance in the post conviction proceedings, since no rule, statute, or constitutional provision requires the State to assure that defendant=s retained counsel’s assistance is reasonable.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 00-CR-1274; the Hon. Catherine K. Haberkorn, Judge, presiding.

Michael J. Pelletier, Alan D. Goldberg, and Anne E. Carlson, all of State Appellate Defender’s Office, of Chicago, for appellant.

Anita M. Alvarez, State’s Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Miles J. Keleher, and Joan F. Frazier, Assistant State’s Attorneys, of counsel), for the People

Presiding Justice Hyman and Justice Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

NEVILLE, JUSTICE

¶1 After a bench trial, the trial court found Martin Csaszar guilty of solicitation of murder for hire (720 ILCS 5/8-1.2 (West 1998)) and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. With the assistance of retained counsel, Csaszar filed a postconviction petition in 2008. The trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss the petition without an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, Csaszar argues only that his retained counsel did not provide reasonable assistance with postconviction proceedings. Because we find that no constitutional provision, no statute, and no rule requires the State to assure the reasonable assistance of retained counsel in postconviction proceedings, we hold that Csaszar has not stated a cognizable claim for relief from the trial court's judgment. Accordingly, we affirm.

¶2 BACKGROUND

¶3 In 1997, Monica Crisan hired Csaszar to drive a truck for Livdimon Enterprise Corporation. Csaszar's employment ended in April 1998. Crisan invited Csaszar to come to her home to pick up his final paycheck on May 3, 1998. Crisan deducted from Csaszar's wages an amount for damage to Livdimon's truck. The amount of the paycheck upset Csaszar. After Csaszar left Crisan's home, Crisan called police to report that Csaszar pulled out a gun and threatened her. Police arrested Csaszar and charged him with aggravated assault and unlawful use of a weapon. The trial court continued proceedings on the charges through 1998 and 1999.

ΒΆ4 Csaszar found work driving a truck for Jakacki Bag and Barrel Company. There he met James Anderson, who worked as a security officer for Jakacki. In 1999, Csaszar told Anderson about the criminal charges Crisan initiated against him. On December 16, 1999, the day before a hearing on the charges, Csaszar met with Anderson and Mark Shaffer. In a tape-recorded conversation, Csaszar gave Shaffer $500 in exchange for Shaffer's promise to kill Crisan. Shaffer, an undercover agent working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), gave a prearranged signal to Chicago police officers once Csaszar gave him the cash. The officers arrested Csaszar and prosecutors charged him ...


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