Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County, Illinois, Circuit No. 08-CF-368. Honorable Walter D. Braud, Judge, Presiding.
Where defendant agreed to waive his rights to file an appeal and a postconviction petition in order to avoid the death penalty after he was found guilty of first degree murder, and then the appellate court, after finding that defendant was improperly admonished about the waiver of his appeal rights, heard and denied his appeal, defendant filed a postconviction petition alleging that his waiver of his right to file the petition was not knowingly and intelligently made and that he presented a valid claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of that petition as frivolous and patently without merit, since no specific admonishments are required when the right to file a postconviction petition is waived, but rather the proper inquiry is whether the waiver was knowing and intelligent and given with sufficient awareness of the circumstances and consequences, and in defendant's case, the " layman's explanation" of the waiver provided by the trial court was appropriate.
Michael J. Pelletier and Steven E. Wiltgen, both of State Appellate Defender's Office, of Elgin, for appellant.
John L. McGehee, State's Attorney, of Rock Island (Mark A. Austill, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McDade and Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] A jury found defendant, Elijah Reid, guilty of two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2008)). Prior to sentencing, defendant agreed to waive his appeal and postconviction rights in exchange for the State's agreement not to pursue the death penalty. This court found that defendant was improperly admonished regarding the waiver of his appeal rights, then heard and denied his appeal. People v. Reid, 2012 IL App. (3d) 100210-U. Defendant subsequently filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief, which was dismissed at the first stage as frivolous and patently without merit. Defendant appeals from that dismissal, arguing that (1) he was not barred from filing his postconviction petition because his waiver of that right was not knowingly and intelligently made, and (2) his petition presented an arguable claim for ineffective assistance of counsel. We hold that defendant was properly admonished of his right to file a postconviction petition and therefore was barred from filing such a petition. We affirm.
[¶3] On April 16, 2008, defendant was charged with two counts of first degree murder (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) (West 2008)) in the April 11, 2008, murders of Ryan Ferry and Jermaine Robinson. The State filed notice of its intent to seek the death penalty. On January 15, 2010, a jury found defendant guilty on two counts of first degree murder.
[¶4] Prior to sentencing, defendant and the State entered into an agreement whereby the State agreed to drop its pursuit of the death penalty in exchange for defendant's agreement to waive his right to appeal and to file a postconviction petition. Defendant would receive a sentence of natural life imprisonment--the minimum possible sentence--for each murder. The State announced the agreement to the court, and the defense concurred, stating: " That's correct, Your Honor. [Defendant] will give up his rights to direct appeal or post-conviction petition reserving only his indefeasible right to apply for pardon or commutation from the Governor."
[¶5] The following colloquy between defendant, defense counsel, and the court ensued:
" MR. RICHARDS [Defendant's attorney]: There is an agreement that the
defendant will not file a notice of appeal, will not file a post-conviction petition, and will waive further appeals exclusive of his constitutional rights to ...