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People v. Bell

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 21, 2014

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

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 04-CF-1032. Honorable Timothy M. Lucas, Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

Where defendant's appointed counsel filed a petition pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 651(c) and an amended postconviction petition after defendant's pro se petition advanced to second-stage proceedings, the trial court did not err in striking the six pro se amendments defendant made to his petition and in dismissing the petition, notwithstanding defendant's contention that his appointed counsel failed to comply with Rule 651(c) by failing to consult with him on the merits of his amendments, since Rule 651(c) only applied to defendant's initial petition and counsel was not required to act on the amendments.

JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Lytton and Justice Schmidt concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HOLDRIDGE, J.

Page 911

[¶1] Defendant, Davevett Bell, filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief which advanced to second-stage proceedings. Postconviction counsel was appointed and filed an amended petition accompanied by a Rule 651(c) certificate (Ill. S.Ct. R. 651(c) (eff. Dec. 1, 1984)). Defendant then filed a series of six pro se amendments to his original pro se petition, introducing new claims not made in the original petition. The trial court struck defendant's pro se amendments and subsequently dismissed the petition. Defendant appeals, arguing that appointed counsel did not comply with the requirements of Rule 651(c). We affirm.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] On October 19, 2006, defendant was convicted of attempted first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(c)(1)(D), 9-1(a)(1) (West 2004)) and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2004)). He was sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment of 55 years for attempted first degree murder and 5 years for unlawful possession. On direct appeal, this court affirmed defendant's convictions and sentences. People v. Bell, 384 Ill.App.3d 1099, 973 N.E.2d 1093, 362 Ill.Dec. 697 (2008) (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23).

[¶4] On September 21, 2009, defendant filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief. Four days later, the matter was docketed for stage-two proceedings, and the public defender was appointed to represent

Page 912

defendant. On June 17, 2010, counsel for defendant filed an amended petition for postconviction relief. Counsel also filed a Rule 651(c) certificate, certifying that he: (1) consulted with defendant by mail and in person to ascertain his contentions of deprivation of constitutional rights; (2) examined the record of proceedings at the trial; and (3) made any amendments to defendant's pro se petition as were necessary for adequate presentation of defendant's contentions.

[¶5] From June of 2011 through February of 2012, defendant filed five pro se motions to supplement his original petition. Each of these motions raised issues not previously raised in defendant's original pro se petition for postconviction relief. In the second of these supplemental motions, filed in September of 2011, defendant claimed for the first time that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the issue that defendant's due process rights were violated when he was prosecuted without a fitness hearing. In support, defendant pointed to a 2005 psychological evaluation which found, inter alia, that defendant likely " experiences unusual perceptual events or full-blown hallucinations as well as unusual ideas that may include magical thinking or delusional beliefs."

[¶6] On April 12, 2012, counsel informed the court that " [defendant] has filed a number of additional matters relating to his case that I need to review and determine whether or not I intend to adopt them, if I need to file any 651(c)." The court granted counsel's request for time and further ruled that no additional pro se motions would be considered for the purposes of that request. ...


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