People v. Ward

Decision Date13 February 1991
Docket NumberNo. 4-90-0386,4-90-0386
Citation208 Ill.App.3d 1073,567 N.E.2d 642
Parties, 153 Ill.Dec. 684 The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Stephen WARD, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

Daniel D. Yuhas, Deputy Defender, Office of State Appellate Defender, Springfield, Jon McPhee, Asst. Defender, for defendant-appellant.

Donald D. Bernardi, State's Atty., Pontiac, Kenneth R. Boyle, Director, State's Attys. Appellate Prosecutor, Springfield, Robert J. Biderman, Deputy Director, Donna Dagnall, Staff Atty., for plaintiff-appellee.

Justice STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court:

After a jury trial, defendant, Stephen Ward, was found guilty of aggravated battery on a corrections officer (Ill.Rev.Stat.1989, ch. 38, par. 12-4(b)(6)) and sentenced to an extended term of 10 years in prison. On appeal, defendant argues that he was denied his sixth amendment right to conduct his own defense. We agree and reverse.

In October 1989, an indictment charged defendant with two counts of aggravated battery. On November 14, 1989, defendant, an inmate at Pontiac Correctional Center, appeared before the court for the first time on that indictment and was advised, inter alia, that he had the right to be represented by counsel and that if he could not afford to hire an attorney of his own choice, someone would be appointed to represent him, namely, the public defender. When defendant responded that he did not want a public defender, but "would appreciate a bar association [lawyer]," the court replied that defendant did not have the choice of who his appointed counsel would be. The court explained to defendant that the county had a public defender who had the responsibility to represent accused people such as defendant. Defendant continued to object to the public defender's appointment, explaining that, "I'm a two time loser. I feel that a public defender wouldn't represent me to the fullest." The court explained again that under the law, defendant had no choice as to who his appointed lawyer would be, stating, "You can refuse a lawyer all together [sic ], but you don't have a choice * * *." Defendant responded, "If it comes to that, that's what I'll do then." The court appointed the public defender anyway and recommended to defendant that he at least speak to his court-appointed counsel before he decided whether to have that counsel represent him. The court then continued the matter for a few days.

On November 22, 1989, defendant next appeared in court, and the public defender appeared as his counsel. Defendant was arraigned and pleaded not guilty, and the case was set for trial in January 1990. Counsel filed various discovery motions on defendant's behalf, and they were granted.

On December 22, 1989, defendant appeared in court and complained about the public defender's representation. After listening to these complaints, the trial court found no deficiencies in counsel's representation. Defendant continued to indicate that he had a problem with his court-appointed counsel, saying, "I don't feel comfortable with him." After further discussion, the trial court told defendant that his choices were either to continue with the court-appointed counsel, to hire a private lawyer, or to represent himself as his own lawyer. When defendant continued to complain and indicated that maybe he should represent himself, the court said that there was no need to make a final decision at that hearing and that they could talk about the matter again in January.

On January 8, 1990, a hearing was conducted on defendant's motion for a change of place of trial, which was filed by his court-appointed counsel, and the motion was denied. Thereafter, the trial court inquired of defendant regarding his court-appointed counsel, and defendant responded that his position was the same as when he was last in court, namely, that he wanted a different lawyer appointed for him. The court again explained that it was not going to take that action, stating that it could discharge defendant's court-appointed counsel, but that would leave defendant with only two options: first, that he represent himself; or second, that he or his family hire a private attorney to represent him. Defendant responded that he did not have the resources to do that. Defendant then stated, "I am not going to represent myself. I don't know how to represent myself." The matter was continued for trial until February, and the court concluded the proceedings by again informing defendant that it had no reason to discharge his court-appointed counsel.

On February 13, 1990, a different representative of the public defender's office appeared on behalf of defendant. In conversation with the trial court, defendant indicated that he did not like his new court-appointed attorney any better than the previous one, explaining that the court had "to understand it is not my fault because I am getting a wicked lawyer." After further discussion with the court, defendant said that he would file a motion to represent himself, "but I am not going to be held accountable for anything that goes wrong in the case because I don't know anything about the law." In response, the court said that defendant had the right to make the request and a constitutional right to defend himself, but "I would strongly try and discourage anybody from doing that." The following colloquy then took place:

"DEFENDANT: No, sir, I am forced with no choice.

THE COURT: See, Mr. Ward, we run into that an awful lot now.

DEFENDANT: Look [at] the way the system operate[s].

THE COURT: Defendant comes in and says 'judge, this whole system is against me. Everybody is working together on this. They are going to get me convicted. I don't have a chance. I don't want this public defender. I don't want the lawyer you appointed. He is not going to represent me. He is going to sell me out. I am going to get convicted.' Then I say 'Do you want a lawyer?' You say, 'No, judge, I really like to have a lawyer but I want one other than the state pays for.' I say, 'It has to be a P.D.' I say, 'Do you want to represent yourself?' You say, 'No, judge, if I was convicted, I will say it was a dumb move on my part and the judge shouldn't have let me do it. I done a bad job on it and got convicted. I shouldn't have to do anymore time because I represented myself.' What happens on those cases the Illinois Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court has said 'Hey, that is too bad. If an inmate wants to represent himself and screws up his case and the court tells him what kind of problems there are and he loses and messes up, then he can't come back later and say I goofed it up.'

DEFENDANT: I am aware of that.

THE COURT: 'I want to start over. I don't like the way it turned out without a lawyer. I want to have a lawyer and see how it turns out.' No, we do it once. Unless there is some kind of error in the way the case was handled you are stuck with whatever the results are.

DEFENDANT: I am aware of that.

THE COURT: Lets [sic ] talk about that.

If you are going to represent yourself, I need to know some things.

How far have you gone in school?

DEFENDANT: Tenth grade.

THE COURT: Are you able to read and write?


THE COURT: Have you worked on any kind of legal motion in any other court cases you have been involved in?


THE COURT: Could you tell me the type of case or cases that have been involved?

DEFENDANT: Civil matters.

THE COURT: Have you filed some civil lawsuits in your own behalf?


THE COURT: Have you tried to represent yourself before?

DEFENDANT: No. Never. I was forced like circumstances like this here.

THE COURT: Have you ever tried to do your own legal research in a law library?

DEFENDANT: Tried to do the best I can.

THE COURT: No. Have you tried to research some problems before?


THE COURT: Do you know anything about researching the law?

DEFENDANT: No, I don't.

THE COURT: Have you ever actually gone through a trial where you have represented yourself?


THE COURT: Do you know anything about the rules of evidence which apply in a criminal case?

DEFENDANT: No, I don't.

THE COURT: Have you ever been forced to try and pick a jury for a jury trial?

DEFENDANT: No, I haven't.

THE COURT: Have you ever called witnesses into court and questioned witnesses?


THE COURT: Have you ever made an argument to a jury about what you believe has been proven or not proven?


THE COURT: Have you ever prepared what are called legal instructions as to what the law is that would apply to your case that you wanted the judge to give to a jury?


THE COURT: This is a case in which you are charged with two counts of aggravated battery. The possible penalties upon conviction would be an additional term of imprisonment for a period of anywhere from two years up to five years, which would carry with it a one year supervised release or parole period. Depending upon your past record, the state could ask for an extended sentence of anywhere from five to ten years, if you were convicted. You could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.00 in addition to an additional period of imprisonment. If you have a Class II or higher felony conviction within the last ten years, and I can't remember if you have indicated--what is your present sentence?

DEFENDANT: 29 years.

THE COURT: For a murder?


THE COURT: Okay. That is within the last ten years?


THE COURT: Then I think I may have told you before if you would be convicted of aggravated battery, the only possible sentence you could receive would be a consecutive sentence or add-on sentence of anywhere from two years up to ten years in DOC. There would be no possibility other than prison time and it would not start until after you finished your present sentence together with whatever good time...

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