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People v. Palmer

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 19, 2017

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARCUS DARNELL PALMER, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County, No. 11-CF-1081; the Hon. Scott Daniel Drazewski, Judge, presiding.

          Michael J. Pelletier, Ellen J. Curry, and Lawrence J. O'Neill, of State Appellate Defender's Office, for appellant.

          David J. Robinson and Kathy A. Shepard, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of Springfield, for the People.

          JUSTICE HOLDER WHITE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Steigmann and Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HOLDER WHITE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 In November 2014, defendant, Marcus Darnell Palmer, filed a pro se postconviction petition, arguing, in relevant part, that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when defense counsel denied him his constitutional right to testify at trial. The following month, the trial court summarily dismissed the petition as frivolous and patently without merit.

         ¶ 2 Defendant appeals, asserting his postconviction petition stated the gist of a constitutional claim sufficient to overcome a first-stage dismissal. Finding defendant's claims are positively rebutted by the record, we affirm.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 A. The Indictment

         ¶ 5 In December 2011, a grand jury indicted defendant on the following charges: (1) unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a church (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(2) (West 2010)) (count I), (2) delivery of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of public housing property (id.) (count II), (3) unlawful delivery of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/401(d)(i) (West 2010)) (count III), (4) unlawful delivery of a controlled substance of more than one gram within 1000 feet of a church (720 ILCS 570/407(b)(1) (West 2010)) (count IV), (5) delivery of a controlled substance of over one gram within 1000 feet of public housing property (id.) (count V), and (6) unlawful delivery of a controlled substance of more than one gram (720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2) (West 2010)) (count VI).

         ¶ 6 B. The Jury Trial

         ¶ 7 In July 2012, defendant's case proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the first day of trial, the trial court admonished defendant regarding his right to testify, stating defendant should discuss his options with defense counsel, but "ultimately, it's your decision to make as to whether you testify or not."

         ¶ 8 The next day, after the State rested, the following colloquy ensued:

"THE COURT: With the State having rested its case in chief, and the court having denied the defendant's motion for a directed verdict, do you [defense counsel] need some time to confer with [defendant] as to what, if any, evidence the defense would be presenting ***? That would include ...

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