from the Circuit Court of Stephenson County. Nos. 15-CM-646
15-CM-647 Honorable James M. Hauser, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hudson and Justice Hutchinson
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Following a bench trial, defendant, Paul Jindra, was
convicted of two counts of disorderly conduct (720 ILCS
5/26-1(a)(1) (West 2014)) and one count of assault
(id. § 12-1(a)) for an incident involving the
"village animal catcher" and one of defendant's
cats. The court sentenced defendant to conditional discharge
plus a fine and a fee. After defendant was convicted and
sentenced, he filed a pro se four-sentence motion to
reconsider. The only issue raised on appeal is whether the
contents of that motion mandated that the court conduct a
preliminary inquiry into a claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel, consistent with the procedure set forth in
People v. Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181, 189 (1984). We
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 Prior to trial, defendant's attorney, Assistant Public
Defender Travis Lutz, subpoenaed Brissa Cuthbertson to
testify. Cuthbertson appeared for trial on the originally
scheduled trial date. However, at the State's request,
the trial was continued to a later date. The court informed
Cuthbertson that her subpoena was continued to the new date
set for trial and issued her a reminder slip for the new
date. On the new date set for trial, Cuthbertson failed to
appear. Despite Cuthbertson's absence, Lutz did not
request a continuance and answered that the defense was ready
for trial. Cuthbertson was not mentioned in any witness's
4 The court found defendant guilty of all counts, sentenced
him to one year of conditional discharge, and ordered him to
pay a fine and a fee.
5 On the same day as sentencing, defendant filed a pro
se motion, titled "Motion (To Reconsider),"
based on Cuthbertson's nonappearance. In his motion,
defendant wrote the following:
"I would like the judge to reconsider this case. the
[sic] key witness, Brissa Cuphbertson [sic], did not
appear in court, nor was her written statement submitted to
the judge. The public defender was Mr. Travis Lutz. This eye
witness [sic] is crucial to this defense."
6 At the next court date, Lutz was unsure of how to proceed
with the case, because defendant had filed a pro se
motion and Lutz had subsequently filed a motion for a new
trial. Lutz informed the court that he was ready to proceed
on the motion for a new trial. The court then reminded
defendant that he was represented by counsel, that he was
"not to file any pleadings," and that instead he
should do so through his counsel. Defendant responded that he
understood. The court asked if Lutz would like time to
consult with defendant about his motion to reconsider. Lutz
responded "yes," that he would speak to defendant,
and that, "if that's what we're going to
do," Lutz would file a proper motion to reconsider.
7 When the court set a date to hear the motions, defendant
interjected, "That's an important point. New
information is supplied by Brissa-Brissa Cuthbertson."
The court instructed defendant to speak with his attorney
about that, but defendant continued, "Yes. She
doesn't care. She'll come tomorrow, if you ask her.
She says it was a mistake. She didn't think she was
supposed to show up last week." The court again
admonished defendant to speak with his attorney.
8 At the next court date, Lutz addressed the matter of the
pro se motion to reconsider. Lutz told the court,
"I don't think we're looking to proceed on that
in any fashion. I'd rather ask to proceed on the motion
for new trial that I had filed." This motion, which did
not mention Cuthbertson, was heard and denied. Defendant
9 II. ANALYSIS
10 The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court should
have conducted a preliminary inquiry pursuant to
Krankel into defendant's alleged claim that he
was denied the effective assistance of counsel because of
counsel's failure to secure the presence of a key witness
and to ...