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People v. Peck

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 5, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SEAN A. PECK, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 11CF1744 Honorable Timothy J. Steadman, Judge Presiding.

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Turner and Justice Harris concur in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          JUSTICE STEIGMANN

         ¶ 1 Following a December 2012 trial, a jury found defendant, Sean A. Peck, guilty of (1) possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (15 or more objects but less than 200 objects containing N-benzylpiperazine (ecstasy)) (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(7.5)(A) (West 2010)) and (2) possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (less than one gram of a substance containing cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2010)) premised on drugs found in a search of defendant's residence. In February 2013, the trial court sentenced defendant to concurrent prison terms of 20 years and 10 years, respectively. Following the sentencing hearing, defendant's counsel filed a motion to reconsider the sentence. Defendant pro se filed a separate motion to reconsider the sentence and argued that his trial counsel was ineffective when she failed to file a motion to suppress his incriminating statements. In August 2013, the court denied the motions. Defendant appealed.

         ¶ 2 On appeal, defendant argued that (1) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress his incriminating statements and (2) the trial court erred when it failed to conduct a hearing in compliance with People v. Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (1984). This court agreed with defendant's latter assertion and remanded the case with directions for the trial court to (1) appoint defendant new counsel and (2) conduct a Krankel hearing on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. People v. Peck, No. 4-13-0749 (May 15, 2015) (unpublished summary order under Supreme Court Rule 23(c)).

         ¶ 3 On remand, newly appointed Krankel counsel filed an amended motion for a new trial. Defendant filed a motion to withdraw the amended motion and argued Krankel counsel had (1) not sufficiently communicated with him and (2) a conflict of interest due to a professional relationship with defendant's trial attorney. Defendant elected to proceed pro se and filed a new motion to support his contentions for the Krankel hearing. At a May 2016 hearing, the court found trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress defendant's incriminating statements.

         ¶ 4 Defendant appeals, arguing (1) that the trial court failed to properly admonish him before permitting him to waive counsel and proceed pro se at his Krankel hearing; and (2) in the alternative, that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress his incriminating statements following his request for legal representation. For the reasons that follow, we agree with defendant's second argument and reverse and remand for a new trial.

         ¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 6 In December 2011, the State charged defendant with (1) possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (15 or more objects but less than 200 objects containing ecstasy) (720 ILCS 570/401(a)(7.5)(A) (West 2010)), (2) possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (less than one gram of a substance containing cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/401(d) (West 2010)), (3) possession of a controlled substance (15 or more objects but less than 200 objects containing ecstasy) (720 ILCS 570/402(a)(7.5)(A) (West 2010)), (4) possession of a controlled substance (less than 15 grams of a substance containing cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/402(c) (West 2010)), and (5) possession of cannabis (more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of a substance containing cannabis) (720 ILCS 550/4(c) (West 2010)). The State enhanced each count due to defendant's prior conviction for possession of cocaine.

         ¶ 7 A. The Evidence

         ¶ 8 These charges arose from a search warrant executed on defendant's residence on February 17, 2011. The police found 0.5 grams of a white substance later tested and identified as cocaine, 19 pills in defendant's kitchen cabinets, and 50 pills in a black leather jacket (17 of the 69 total pills were tested and identified as ecstasy). The police also found a digital scale, a razor blade with white residue on the blade, a screwdriver with white residue on the tip, and a box of sandwich bags in the kitchen cabinets. During the search, defendant and his girlfriend, Pershoun Ewing, were present.

         ¶ 9 The police later brought defendant to the Decatur police department and placed him in an interview room. Detective Jeff Hockaday informed defendant of his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)) and asked defendant if he had any questions. Defendant immediately responded, "I want an attorney." Hockaday responded, "You do want an attorney?" Defendant explained he did not want to say anything that the police could use against him. Hockaday stated, "Okay, now like I explained to you out there *** Pershoun is going to be arrested as part of this, okay?" Following this statement, defendant asked what evidence the police retrieved from his residence. Hockaday listed several items that the police found at defendant's residence. He explained he was going to charge Pershoun and send the evidence away for fingerprints. Hockaday told defendant, "I know your prints are going to come back *** so we're just going to go from there."

         ¶ 10 Hockaday asked defendant if he had any questions. Defendant asked, "What's the next move?" Hockaday responded, "You're going to go to county [jail] here in a minute once I get some paperwork done, alright?" Defendant asked, "What's my charge?" They then discussed the possible charges based on the evidence retrieved from his residence. Defendant reiterated that he was "going to have to hire a lawyer." Hockaday responded, "You've already asked for an attorney *** unless you withdraw that request right here, I'm not going to bother wasting my time with you. Okay? The bottom line-you can help yourself out." Defendant responded, "I'll withdraw it then." Hockaday then began discussing that defendant could become an informant and not face charges. Later, defendant asked about Pershoun, and Hockaday replied, "She's in the hospital, and she's got a warrant *** she's going to get charged with the dope unless I hear the truth from you *** if you make me arrest her, that's what I'll do." Defendant then admitted selling cocaine and ecstasy. The entire interrogation lasted approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes.

         ¶ 11 B. Pretrial

         ¶ 12 In July 2012, defendant filed a motion to dismiss for ineffective assistance of counsel and argued the State violated his speedy trial rights. The trial court disagreed and found no speedy trial violation. Defendant decided to waive counsel. Soon thereafter, defendant asked the court to reappoint his former counsel. The court granted his request and reappointed his former counsel. However, defendant again took issue with his counsel and argued she neglected to file motions on his behalf and was not working with his best interest in mind. In response, counsel told ...


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