BLOOMINGTON — A Florida man who represented himself during a 2011 trial agreed Monday to accept a lawyer's help for a second sentencing hearing in his marijuana trafficking case. 

Charles Hamilton was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 for having 60 pounds of marijuana in his truck when he was stopped by police in McLean County.

Hamilton, 61, was convicted in a jury trial in which he served as his own lawyer. He admitted he accepted $15,000 as payment to transport the drug to Chicago.

Last year, the Fourth District Appellate Court ruled the 22-year prison term was appropriate, but the state Supreme Court said Hamilton should have a new sentencing hearing on the issue of his criminal history.

On Monday, Hamilton met briefly with public defender Brian McEldowney before a hearing to discuss his case.  McEldowney continued as Hamilton's lawyer.

At his first sentencing hearing, Judge Robert Freitag was told by prosecutors that Hamilton was previously convicted of felony burglary, assault and cocaine possession.

Hamilton challenged the cocaine charge, saying Georgia officials erred in identifying him as committing that offense.

First Assistant State's Attorney Adam Ghrist said Monday the state has confirmed that a different man named Charles Hamilton was convicted of the drug charge.

A March 4 hearing has been set on the issue of whether a new sentence should be imposed in light of the error in Hamilton's criminal history.


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McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

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