Bail set for Streamwood man whose convictions were overturned
A Streamwood man whose 2015 convictions on charges including armed violence and being an habitual criminal were overturned last year was ordered held Tuesday on $250,000 bail.
James Utley, 42, who represented himself during Tuesday's hearing in Rolling Meadows, argued that his bond should be set at $30,000, the same amount set at a bond hearing following his Feb. 28, 2014, arrest by state parole agents and Streamwood police officers.
On that date, officers arrived at Utley's home to arrest him on a parole violation, said Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Glendon Runk. After entering the home, officers found cocaine, heroin and marijuana along with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, a .38-caliber revolver and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, said Runk, who argued Tuesday that Utley should be held without bail because he faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted as an habitual criminal.
A jury found Utley guilty of armed violence, manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a weapon and being an habitual criminal. However, Utley was not present for the verdict. He left the Rolling Meadows courthouse during deliberations and was arrested in Bartlett the following day.
His convictions were overturned after the appellate court concluded his private attorney's "performance was ineffective."
After Cook County Judge Steven Goebel set bond, he advised Utley to accept the appointment of a public defender, saying he was putting himself at a disadvantage by turning down legal assistance.
Goebel suggested Utley was mistaken if he thought he, on his own, would be able to "out-lawyer" an experienced prosecutor.
"The felony public defenders in this building are highly qualified," Goebel said. "They're talented trial attorneys. ... Not availing yourself of these resources is a mistake."
After some consideration, Utley agreed. He next appears in court on Feb. 11.