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People v. Hollahan

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

May 6, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSEPH A. HOLLAHAN, Defendant-Appellant

Modified upon denial of rehearing July 16, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, Illinois, Circuit No. 10-CM-1213. Honorable Ronald J. Gerts, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

SCHMIDT, JUSTICE.

[¶1] Defendant, Joseph A. Hollahan, appeals his convictions of two counts of domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2) (West 2010)), arguing that the trial court held a bench trial without obtaining a proper jury waiver. We affirm defendant's convictions and remand the matter for the proper entry of an order for fines, fees, and costs.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] The State charged defendant by information with committing two counts of domestic battery against two different women (720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(2) (West 2010)). Thereafter, defendant executed a signed jury waiver. In open court, the trial court asked defendant to explain the difference between a bench and a jury trial. Defendant replied that a " [b]ench trial is presided by a judge, and [a] jury trial is a jury of my peers." The court then asked defendant if he wanted a judge to decide his case. Defendant replied that he wanted a bench trial and affirmed that he signed the jury waiver.

[¶4] Nearly one year later, private counsel withdrew from representation of defendant due to a disagreement with defendant. The trial court appointed a public defender. Shortly thereafter, during a hearing at which defendant appeared from the jail by videoconference, the trial court stated that it would allow defendant to withdraw his jury waiver as it was the court's policy to allow a defendant to withdraw a jury waiver when a new attorney takes over the case. Defendant asked if he would be able to have a trial the next month if he waived his right to a jury trial. The trial court stated that it did have bench trial dates available the next month. The public defender asked defendant if he wanted to waive his right to a jury trial to get the cases tried in late December. Defendant replied in the affirmative.

[¶5] The next day, defendant was physically present in court, and filed a second signed jury waiver. The trial court again asked defendant to explain the difference between a bench trial and a jury trial. Defendant replied, " A jury trial is a jury of my peers. Bench trial is Your Honor." Defendant stated that he signed the jury waiver he filed that day. Then, defendant's public defender stated: " I had a conversation with [defendant] about our waiver of right to a jury trial and how I did not have discovery today. And [defendant] and I discussed that, and he's comfortable waiving his right to a jury without me seeing that." The trial court asked defendant if that was true, and defendant replied that it was true.

[¶6] Approximately one month after defendant's second jury waiver, defendant pled guilty to one count of domestic battery and was sentenced to incarceration of 226 days, and 2 years' domestic violence probation and an assessment of $200 plus court costs. In exchange for defendant's plea, the State dismissed the second count of domestic battery. The court asked defendant if he understood that by pleading guilty, he was giving up his right to plead not guilty and to a trial by jury. Defendant replied that he understood.

[¶7] Defendant subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea in the instant case, as well as in three other cases unrelated to this appeal. A different public defender represented defendant at the hearing on his motion to withdraw guilty plea. The trial court granted the motion and vacated defendant's conviction.

[¶8] The State asked to set all of defendant's cases for trial because it had reached agreements with defendant twice in the past and was not going to attempt to reach an agreement with defendant again. The trial court found that defendant's jury waiver was not part of the previous plea agreement and stated that it would not be withdrawn. The court then set the matter for bench trial.

[¶9] At the bench trial, Caitlin West testified that defendant was her mother's former boyfriend. At the time of the incident in question, defendant lived with West and her mother, Odette Heinrich. West was at home in her bedroom when she heard a large crash. She walked out of her bedroom and saw Heinrich and defendant standing in the doorway of their bedroom. The television set in Heinrich and defendant's bedroom was on the floor. Defendant slapped Heinrich in the face. West tried to get in between defendant and Heinrich, and defendant pushed her down to the floor. West landed on a vacuum and hurt her back. She got up and called 911. Defendant and Heinrich had been drinking that night, but West had not.

[¶10] Heinrich testified that she had dated defendant for seven years. At the time of the incident, Heinrich and defendant were watching television in their bedroom. Defendant started arguing with Heinrich and threw the television set on the floor. Heinrich got up and tried to leave the room, and defendant slapped her several times. West walked in as defendant was slapping Heinrich. West tried to get Heinrich away from defendant and defendant threw West to the floor. West got up and called the ...


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