Can a Defendant Withdraw His Plea of Guilt After Being Advised by Trial Court of His Right to Have a Counsel ?

In People v. Creek, 112 Ill. App. 3d 1081, 446 N.E.2d 555, 68 Ill. Dec. 649 (1983), the defendant pleaded guilty to attempted murder. The trial court admonished him as to his right to appeal after filing a motion to vacate the judgment and to withdraw the plea and advised him of his right to have counsel appointed to assist with these motions. Despite the admonishments, the defendant filed a pro se notice of appeal within 30 days of the sentencing. Sometime much later, the appellate defender's office was notified of the defendant's desire to appeal. Well outside the 30 days, the defendant then filed a motion to withdraw his plea of guilty and have the judgment vacated. At this time, a local attorney was appointed, and he filed to amend the motion to withdraw the plea and vacate the judgment and moved to dismiss the appeal. The appeal was dismissed, but the trial court denied the motion to amend because the original motion was not filed within 30 days of his sentencing. The defendant's sole contention on appeal was that the failure of the circuit court to notify the office of the State Appellate Defender of its initial appointment to represent him deprived him of the assistance of counsel. On appeal, this court held the failure of the trial court to notify the public defender's office of its appointment to represent defendant was harmless error and did not deprive him of assistance of counsel, as the defendant decided to proceed pro se despite the admonishment as to the availability of counsel. Creek 112 Ill. App. 3d at 1085-86, 446 N.E.2d at 558. This court noted "the defendant elected to pursue his appeal of the judgment entered on his guilty plea in a manner contrary to that delineated in the trial court's admonishment, which he presumably understood." Creek 112 Ill. App. 3d at 1085, 446 N.E.2d at 558.