Consequences of Newly Appointed Lawyer's Failure to Amend a Motion

Could Result of Hearing Have Been Different if Counsel was Not Ineffective Had Contacted the Defendant and Amended the Pro Se 'Motion to Reconsider Sentence' ? In People v. Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d 283, 660 N.E.2d 1321, 214 Ill. Dec. 372 (1996), the defendant entered negotiated pleas of guilty in four separate cases. Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 284. After the pleas were accepted and the agreed-upon sentences imposed, the defendant moved pro se to reconsider his sentences. Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 286. The motion, which resembled a notice of appeal, raised no allegations of error and contained no prayer for relief. Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 286. The defendant was not present at the hearing on his motion, and his newly appointed counsel, without contacting the defendant to discuss the viability of any claims, failed to amend the motion. Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 289. The trial court denied the motion, a notice of appeal was filed, and the defendant sent the trial court a letter that "listed facts which the defendant thought warranted the imposition of lesser terms." Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 287. On review, this court held that counsel was ineffective for failing to consult with the defendant when, given the facts of that case, "there was a reasonable probability that the result of the hearing would have been different had counsel contacted the defendant, discussed the defendant's claims, amended the pro se 'Motion to Reconsider Sentence,' and effectively argued the motion." Brasseaux, 254 Ill. App. 3d at 289.