People v. Bryant, 2016 IL App (5th) 140334 (May). Episode 193 (Duration 6:21)
Defendant said he was to emotionally distraught during his plea hearing to have acted knowingly and voluntarily.
Defendant plead guilty in the middle of his second murder trial.
He accepted 28 years (he was sentenced to 45 years during his first trial). He then tried to withdraw his guilty plea saying he was on medication that made it involuntary.
He said he was taking prescribed Klonopin that interfered with his ability to “reason properly” and “think clearly.”
Also, for the second trial his girlfriend and codefendant had flipped on him.
The trial attorney testified during the hearing and utterly refuted defendant’s claims.
To Emotionally Distraught
Defendant, in part, claimed that he was to emotionally distraught during the plea to have acted voluntarily.
Although the defendant testified that his former girlfriend’s testimony had “destroyed” him and that he had “never cried so hard in [his] life,” there is no credible evidence that the defendant’s alleged emotional state impacted his ability to make a knowing and voluntary guilty plea.
The trial court determined that the defendant’s claim that he was to emotionally distraught combined with his prescribed Klonopin had clouded his judgment was “unfounded” and that his claim that his trial attorney had advised him that he had an absolute right to withdraw his guilty plea within three or four days was “patently false.”
The court also found that the defendant had initiated the mid-trial plea negotiations, that his decision to do so had been prompted by his girlfriend’s incriminating testimony, and that he had been adequately admonished when he entered his plea.
The court concluded that the defendant’s plea had been voluntarily entered and that he was “suffering from post-decision remorse.”
A defendant who is receiving psychotropic drugs or medications is not presumed to be unfit “solely by virtue of the receipt of those drugs or medications.” 725 ILCS 5/104-21(a).
Here, the circuit court’s conclusion that despite his ingestion of Klonopin, the defendant was competent to stand trial and plead guilty is clearly not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The case does need to go back for a resentencing because the judge did not take into account Defendant’s criminal record pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/5-3-1. (You can wave a PSI but criminal history must be entered in the record.)