No. 2--05--0478 Filed 2/14/07
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE ) Appeal from the Circuit Court
OF ILLINOIS, ) of Lee County.
v. ) No. 03--TR--6614
RAYMOND B. GARGANI, ) Honorable
) Charles T. Beckman,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE BYRNE delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Raymond B. Gargani, was tried in absentia without the benefit of counsel. A jury
found him guilty of driving while his license was revoked (see 625 ILCS 5/6--303 (West 2004)), and
the trial court sentenced him to a 364-day jail term. Defendant was not represented at any point in
the proceedings until the court appointed counsel 31 days after he was sentenced.
Defendant appeals, arguing that he is entitled to a new trial because he was tried in absentia
without counsel and without waiving his right to counsel. The State briefly objects to our appellate
jurisdiction but ultimately concedes that the denial of counsel is plain error that entitles defendant to
a new trial. We conclude that we have jurisdiction over the appeal and that defendant is entitled to
a new trial. We reverse the judgment and remand the cause for further proceedings.