from the Circuit Court of Champaign County, No. 13-CF-2096;
the Hon. Heidi N. Ladd, Judge, presiding.
Michael J. Pelletier, Patricia Mysza, and Bradley Jarka
(argued), of State Appellate Defender's Office, of
Chicago, for appellant.
J. Robinson and John M. Zimmerman (argued), both of
State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of
Springfield, of counsel, for the People.
JUSTICE APPLETON delivered the judgment of the court with
opinion. Presiding Justice Knecht and Justice Steigmann
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In December 2013, defendant, Johnnie D. Gillon, pleaded
guilty to felony aggravated assault (720 ILCS 5/12-2(b)(4)(i)
(West 2012)) in exchange for the State's dismissal of two
other pending charges. The trial court accepted
defendant's plea and sentenced him to 30 months'
probation. After defendant allegedly committed two criminal
offenses while on probation, the State filed a petition to
revoke defendant's probation.
2 Defendant's counsel raised a bona fide doubt
as to defendant's fitness, and the trial court ordered
defendant to be examined. Based on the opinion of a
psychiatrist, the court found defendant unfit to stand trial
and committed him to the Illinois Department of Human
Services (Department). After the State and defense counsel
stipulated defendant had been restored to fitness based upon
the conclusions in the Department's report, the court
found defendant fit to stand trial. The court revoked
defendant's probation and sentenced him to five years in
prison on the original offense.
3 Defendant appeals, arguing the trial court erred by (1)
relying on the parties' stipulation he was fit to stand
trial instead of making an independent judicial determination
on that issue, (2) not sua sponte raising the
fitness issue based upon defendant's conduct during
subsequent court proceedings, and (3) failing to conduct a
Krankel inquiry (see People v. Krankel, 102
Ill.2d 181 (1984)) into defendant's claim, raised at the
sentencing hearing, of counsel's ineffective assistance.
4 I. BACKGROUND
5 In December 2013, the State charged defendant with unlawful
possession of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West
2012)) (count I), felony aggravated assault (720 ILCS
5/12-2(b)(4)(i) (West 2012)) (count II), and misdemeanor
aggravated assault (720 ILCS 5/12-2(a) (West 2012)) (count
III). Defendant pleaded guilty to count II and was sentenced
to 30 months' probation. The State dismissed counts I and
III as part of the plea agreement.
6 On March 7, 2014, the State filed a petition to revoke
defendant's probation, alleging he committed criminal
trespass and assault on February 28, 2014, in violation of
the conditions of his probation. On March 19, 2014,
defendant's appointed counsel filed a motion for the
appointment of a psychiatrist, raising a bona fide
doubt as to defendant's fitness to stand trial. The trial
court granted counsel's request, appointing psychiatrist
Dr. Albert Lo.
7 On April 21, 2014, Dr. Lo prepared a report based upon the
fitness evaluation of defendant conducted on an unknown date.
Dr. Lo noted defendant's history of paranoid
schizophrenia and his need for medication. He said defendant
was "able to discuss the differences between pleas of
guilty and not guilty" and generally understood the
legal system. However, Dr. Lo noted, as the interview
progressed, defendant "became increasingly hostile,
argumentative, and uncooperative." Dr. Lo believed, due
to his behavior, defendant would have difficulty working with
an attorney. In Dr. Lo's opinion, defendant was
"currently able to understand the nature and purpose of
the proceedings against him, but [was] unable to cooperate
with an attorney and assist in providing a proper defense due
to his mental illness." Thus, Dr. Lo found defendant was
currently unfit to stand trial.
8 On May 5, 2014, at a fitness hearing, the trial court
accepted Dr. Lo's evaluation and opinion, and without
further evidence or argument from either side, it found
defendant unfit to plead or stand trial. The court ordered
defendant placed in the custody of the Department for
evaluation, placement, and treatment.
9 On May 22, 2014, the Department prepared a report (filed
June 13, 2014, with the trial court), advising that, pursuant
to its preplacement evaluation, conducted on May 16, 2014, by
a licensed clinical social worker, defendant was fit to stand
trial. According to the report, during the evaluation,
defendant explained to the evaluator the circumstances
pertaining to his latest criminal behavior with logic and
clarity. He admitted that prior to his arrest, he had not
taken his psychotropic medications. According to the
evaluator, beginning March 1, 2014, since defendant had been
in jail, he had been given his medication and "ha[d]
shown improvements" in "mood stability and thought
processes." When asked to explain the purpose of the
interview, defendant said: "You have to see if I am fit.
I am now." Based on this evaluation, the Department
determined defendant was fit to stand trial.
10 On June 30, 2014, the trial court conducted a fitness
hearing. The court accepted the parties' stipulation to
the Department's report. Neither party produced further
evidence, and both waived argument. The court accepted the
report and found defendant was "now fit to stand
trial." Defendant's counsel presented the court with
an "order for restoration of fitness." The parties
agreed to set the matter for a hearing on the State's
petition to revoke.
11 On July 28, 2014, the trial court conducted a hearing on
the State's petition to revoke defendant's probation.
Elizabeth Porter, store manager of Little Caesars Pizza in
Urbana, testified as the State's only witness. She said
on February 28, 2014, defendant came into the store and began
yelling that Porter owed him a pizza. She said he was cussing
at customers. Porter told defendant she would give him a
pizza if he waited outside. Defendant interrupted her
testimony, saying, "She's lyin'." The court
admonished defendant to not "say anything out
loud." Porter continued her testimony. She said when she
told defendant to wait outside, he cursed at her, at another
employee, and at customers. Porter said she "got in
between" defendant and the customers during the
altercation. According to Porter, defendant threatened to hit
her and kill her as they stood face-to-face just inches
apart. At that point, the police arrived and escorted
12 Defendant testified a police officer had given him money
for a pizza. He said a male employee refused to make him a
pizza and came around the counter to where defendant was
standing. The employee "started putting some gloves on
his hands tightenin' them up." He told defendant to
stop begging for food. He said Porter grabbed the employee by
the shirt. He said Porter told him to go outside so the
employee could beat him up. Defendant said he was afraid to
go outside because the employee was "a real big heavyset
guy" and was waiting for him. Porter told him to go
outside or go to jail, and that is when the police walked in.
13 After considering the testimony, the trial court found the
State had proved the allegations in the petition to revoke
probation by a preponderance of the evidence. The court
revoked defendant's probation. After the court announced
its ruling, defendant yelled out in court: "I didn't
do it, Judge. Why don't you believe? I didn't do
nothin'. Please, ma'am. I ...