from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 15CF1189
Honorable Ryan M. Cadagin, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: James E. Chadd, Patricia Mysza, and
John R. Breffeilh, of State Appellate Defender's Office,
of Chicago, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Daniel K. Wright, State's
Attorney, of Springfield (Patrick Delfino, David J. Robinson,
and Thomas R. Dodegge, of State's Attorneys Appellate
Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice DeArmond
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In November 2015, the State charged defendant, Vincent P.
Schnoor, with aggravated robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1(b)(1) (West
2014)), financial institution robbery (720 ILCS 5/17-10.6(f)
(West 2014)), and misappropriation of financial institution
property (720 ILCS 5/17- 10.6(a) (West 2014)).
2 In March 2016, defense counsel moved "for a fitness
exam to determine whether a bona fide doubt exists
with respect to" defendant's fitness to stand trial.
The trial court appointed a psychiatrist who later submitted
a report in which he concluded that defendant was fit to
stand trial. In April 2016, the parties stipulated to the
findings and conclusions in that report.
3 In February 2017, the trial court conducted a plea
conference pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(d)
(eff. July 1, 2012) at which the State indicated it would
agree to 15 years in prison in exchange for defendant's
guilty plea. The court stated that the State's offer was
reasonable and appropriate. However, defendant rejected the
4 In May 2017, a jury trial was held at which the State
introduced evidence of other crimes-namely, (1) a witness
testified that he found contraband unconnected to these
charges in defendant's vehicle and (2) the State
presented a recorded interview of defendant in which he
admitted that he robbed automated teller machines (ATMs). The
jury found defendant guilty.
5 In July 2017, at a hearing on defendant's motion for a
new trial, defendant pro se presented written
complaints about problems he perceived in the trial
proceedings. The trial court did not inquire into
defendant's complaints at that time. The court later
denied the posttrial motion and sentenced defendant to 25
years in prison.
6 Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) he was denied due
process when the trial court failed to conduct an independent
fitness inquiry and instead relied on the parties'
stipulation, (2) defense counsel was ineffective for failing
to object to other-crimes evidence, (3) the trial court erred
when it failed to conduct an inquiry pursuant to People
v. Krankel, 102 Ill.2d 181, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (1984),
regarding defendant's written complaints, (4) the trial
court violated defendant's right to due process by
imposing a longer sentence because defendant exercised his
right to a trial, and (5) defendant's sentence was harsh
and excessive. We disagree and affirm.
7 I. BACKGROUND
8 A. The Charges
9 In November 2015, the State charged defendant with
aggravated robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-1(b)(1) (West 2014)),
financial institution robbery (720 ILCS 5/17-10.6(f) (West
2014)), and misappropriation of financial institution
property (720 ILCS 5/17-10.6(a) (West 2014)). At arraignment,
the trial court admonished defendant that, due to his
criminal record, both robbery charges would be deemed Class X
felonies if he were convicted.
10 B. The Fitness Proceedings
11 In March 2016, defense counsel moved "for a fitness
exam to determine whether a bona fide doubt exists
with respect to" defendant's fitness to stand trial.
The trial court appointed a psychiatrist, Dr. Terry Killian,
to examine defendant and prepare a report regarding
defendant's fitness to stand trial. Killian later
submitted a report in which he concluded that defendant was
fit to stand trial. In April 2016, the parties stipulated to
the findings and conclusions in that report. The trial court
accepted the stipulation and set the case for trial. The
record contains no further discussion about defendant's
12 C. The Rule 402 Conference
13 In February 2017, the trial court conducted a plea
conference pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402 (eff.
July 1, 2012) at the parties' request. During the
conference, the State advised the court that a guilty verdict
would result in a mandatory Class X sentence due to
defendant's criminal record. The State informed the court
that because defendant used a fake handgun and confessed to
robbing the bank, the State was willing to accept a
negotiated plea for 15 years in prison. (The prosecutor did
not specify to which charge the proposed plea agreement would
apply.) The State further stated that it would recommend 15
to 18 years in prison if defendant entered an "open
14 Defense counsel stated that defendant was willing to plead
guilty in exchange for 10 years in prison and asked the court
if it would sentence defendant in excess of 15 years if he
entered into an open plea. The court stated that the
State's offer of 15 years was reasonable and appropriate
and also stated that a sentence imposed pursuant to an open
plea might be above or below the State's recommendation,
depending on the evidence presented at sentencing.
15 Defendant rejected the State's plea offer and declined
to enter a guilty plea. In May 2017, defendant rejected the
State's amended plea offer for 14 years in prison. Prior
to trial, the State dismissed the misappropriation of
financial institution property charge.
16 D. The Jury Trial
17 Defendant's jury trial was conducted in May 2017.
During the State's case-in-chief, numerous witnesses
testified. Their testimony indicated that in November 2015,
defendant robbed Marine Bank in Springfield, Illinois. He
covered his face with a mask and used a fake firearm. After
the robbery, defendant got into a car crash with another
person, who called the police.
18 The police ultimately tracked defendant down and brought
him in for questioning, during which he made numerous
incriminating statements. After defendant was arrested, he
contacted his coworker, Larry Bass, to get money from
defendant's hotel room. While in that room, Bass and
defendant's employer, Robert Ewa, found a large sum of
currency. Ewa picked up some of that currency and later
turned it over to the police. The currency was traceable to
Marine Bank by serial number. The police found and searched
defendant's vehicle and recovered numerous incriminating
items from it, including a BB gun.
19 Kevin Echols testified that, in November 2015, he
discovered that a laptop computer, radios, a jacket, and
other personal items were missing from his vehicle. Later in
November 2015, Echols was shown photographs that depicted the
person robbing the bank, and Echols recognized the jacket the
robber was wearing in those photographs as the one missing
from his vehicle. Echols testified that the jacket was from
American Family Insurance and had been given to him by his
girlfriend, who worked for American Family Insurance. Echols
was shown a photograph from a County Market grocery store
surveillance video. The photograph shows a man with his face
uncovered and wearing a jacket. Echols identified the jacket
as his and as the same one that was missing from his vehicle
and that was in the photograph of the bank robber. Other
witnesses identified the man in the County Market
surveillance video as defendant.
20 Detective Timothy Zajicek of the Springfield Police
Department testified that he interrogated defendant, and a
recording of that interrogation was played for the jury.
Approximately 20 minutes into the video, defense counsel
objected to a statement in which defendant admitted to
robbing ATMs. The State responded that it had made all the
redactions requested by defense counsel. Defense counsel
withdrew her objection, stating that they agreed that mention
of the ATM burglaries would be redacted from the video, and
she accepted the State's assurances that the video
complied with their agreement. However, defense counsel did
not renew her objection when the ATM crimes were repeatedly
mentioned in the rest of the recorded interrogation viewed by
21 Defendant testified at trial and admitted that he robbed
the Marine Bank. However, defendant explained he thought his
employer, Ewa, was going to kill defendant unless he robbed
the bank to give Ewa money. Defendant also testified that he
mistakenly believed his coworker, Larry Bass, was a federal
law enforcement officer and that Bass told defendant to rob
the bank as part of a federal sting operation targeting Ewa.
22 On cross-examination, defendant acknowledged that he did
not mention his belief he was a part of a sting operation
when he initially was interrogated by the police. Instead, he
wrote a statement for the police during the interrogation in
which he said that he thought he had two choices: (1) either
kill Ewa or (2) cause an investigation of Ewa by going to his
bank and causing a "suicide by another person
incident." He also acknowledged that he initially told
the police he was not involved in the bank robbery.
23 In closing argument, defense counsel acknowledged the
overwhelming evidence against defendant but asserted that
defendant had proved the affirmative defenses of compulsion
and mistake of fact.
24 The jury found defendant guilty of aggravated robbery and
financial institution robbery.
25 E. The Allegations of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
26 In June 2017, defense counsel filed a motion for a new
trial. In July 2017, the trial court conducted a hearing on
that motion at which defense counsel told the court that
defendant felt that counsel had not addressed in the
posttrial motion all the issues defendant wanted addressed.
Defense counsel also informed the court that prior to the
hearing, defendant gave counsel a document on which defendant
had written the additional issues defendant wanted addressed,
and counsel attached that document to her posttrial motion as
"Defendant's Addendum." That document reads as
"1. The usage of other crimes evidence involving the
idea created a prejudicial effect that outwit [sic]
it's [sic] probative value when combined with
Agent Echols testimony.
2. The state failed to establish chain of custody for def s
handwritten statement for the time period of 9:14:31pm to
3. The usage of other crimes evidence involving
27 Defense counsel asked the trial court to amend her motion
by incorporating therein the arguments in
"Defendant's Addendum." The court granted her
request and then denied the motion.
28 F. Sentencing
29 Immediately following the hearing on the motion for a new
trial, the trial court conducted the sentencing hearing at
which neither party offered any evidence. The State
recommended 25 years in prison and argued in support thereof
that (1) defendant's conduct threatened serious harm, (2)
defendant has a history of criminal activity, (3) the
sentence should be designed to deter others, and (4) the
trial court should give defendant a greater sentence
"because a lenient sentence in this case could send a
message that one could commit a notorious, serious crime, get
to take the stand, manufacture a completely outrageous story
and receive a lenient sentence, and that's not the
correct message that this court should send ***." The
State also argued ...