from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 11-CF-1981. Honorable Edward A.
Burmila, Jr., Judge, Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justice Wright concurred in the judgment
and opinion. Justice McDade concurred in part and dissented
in part, with opinion.
HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 The defendant, Jaime Garcia-Rocha, appeals the dismissal of
his postconviction petition at the second stage of
proceedings. The defendant argues that (1) his petition made
a substantial showing that his due process rights were
violated when the trial court failed to hold a proper fitness
restoration hearing before accepting his guilty plea, (2) he
received unreasonable assistance of postconviction counsel
where postconviction counsel failed to adequately raise the
issue concerning the fitness restoration showing, (3) his
petition made a substantial showing that he received
ineffective assistance of plea counsel where plea counsel
failed to advise him that his guilty plea would result in
presumptively mandatory deportation, and (4) he received
unreasonable assistance of postconviction counsel regarding
his ineffective assistance of plea counsel claim.
3 The defendant was charged with aggravated fleeing or
attempting to elude a peace officer (625 ILCS
5/11-204.1(a)(4) (West 2010)).
4 The trial court found that bona fide doubt existed
as to the defendant's fitness and appointed the county
psychologist to determine the defendant's fitness to
5 A psychological report prepared by the county psychologist
concluded that the defendant was mentally unfit to stand
trial. Specifically, the report opined that the defendant
lacked the ability to cooperate with his attorney, make
reasoned decisions, or pay attention to court proceedings.
The report stated that the defendant had issues with
substance abuse and cognitive disruption and had a possible
history of head injuries. The report opined that the
defendant could be restored to fitness within one year with
6 A fitness hearing was held. The parties stipulated that, if
called to testify, the county psychologist would testify
consistently with the facts, opinions, and conclusions in her
report. The trial court entered an order finding that the
defendant was unfit to stand trial and there was a
probability that the defendant could be restored to fitness
within a year with treatment. The trial court remanded the
defendant to the Department of Human Services (DHS) on an
7 Approximately two months later, a fitness report signed by
the defendant's therapist and psychiatrist was filed. The
report opined that the defendant was fit to stand trial with
8 At a subsequent hearing, defense counsel informed the court
that the last report from DHS indicated that the defendant
had been restored to fitness. The trial court then stated:
"Show the Court is in receipt of the report from the
[DHS]. Pursuant to their statutory duties, they report to the
Court that he's been restored to fitness and he is now
ready to proceed with trial. Show that his custody is
transferred. He is remanded to the custody of the Sheriff of
9 Defense counsel then indicated that the parties had a
proposed plea agreement to present to the court. The
defendant agreed to plead guilty to aggravated fleeing or
attempting to elude a peace officer in exchange for a
sentence of 180 days in jail with credit for time served and
24 months' probation. The trial court questioned the
defendant as follows regarding the medication he was taking:
"THE COURT: Are you taking any kind of drugs or
medication that's prescribed for you by a doctor other
than what I have already been advised of?
THE DEFENDANT: Only the one giving it there.
THE COURT: Did you take that medication today?
THE DEFENDANT: I drink it in the afternoons.
THE COURT: Okay. So the fact that you haven't taken it
yet, does that interfere in any way with your ability to
communicate with [defense counsel]?
THE DEFENDANT: No."
10 After admonishing the defendant pursuant to Illinois
Supreme Court Rule 402 (eff. July 1, 1997), the trial court
asked the defendant how he pled. The defendant replied,
"I plead guilty." The following exchange then
"THE COURT: Mr. Garcia, I have a question for you, are
you an American citizen?
THE DEFENDANT: No.
THE COURT: Do you understand that by pleading guilty you are
putting at risk your ability to remain in the United States
or ever become a citizen? Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
THE COURT: You want to go ahead with this ...