People v. Merritt, 2017 IL App (2d) 150219

CONTINUANCE: The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant’s motion for a continuance to proceed pro se which was filed and heard on the date of trial. Even though defendant had filed a motion for new counsel about six weeks in advance of trial and the trial court had not ruled to deny it until 5 days prior to trial, that was not an excuse for waiting until the day of trial to request a continuance to prepare to proceed pro se. Defendant knew that the court might deny his motion for new counsel, so he was not diligent in requesting a continuance to proceed pro se should that happen. Accordingly, the trial court properly summarily dismissed defendant's postconviction petition on the claim that appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising the issue of the denial of the continuance on direct appeal

CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES: The trial court made the required finding that consecutive sentences were necessary for the protection of the public even though it did not state it in those words.

FORFEITURE: Where the postconviction petition raised a claim about the consecutive sentences, but did not argue that the trial court failed to make the necessary finding that the sentences were necessary for the protection of the public, the issue was forfeited.