A hearing for a former Chicago cop claiming he had ineffective counsel when he was convicted of his wife’s 2017 murder in their Spring Grove home was delayed Wednesday when he asked for a public defender to aid him on his case.
Lorin Volberding, 76, was sentenced to 50 years in prison following his Jan. 15, 2020, murder conviction for killing his wife on Feb. 3, 2017, in their home.
Both Volberding and his wife, Elizabeth Volberding, were retired Chicago police officers. According to court records, Volberding called a neighbor on the day of the murder and said, “I think I just shot and killed Liz.”
The 2nd District Appellate Court ruled earlier this year that McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge “erred in failing to inquire into the underlying factual basis of the defendant’s allegation of ineffective assistance and in considering improper aggravating factor in sentencing.”
Volberding argued that when his attorney, now-retired Henry Sugden, filed a motion to withdraw from the case, the court erred by not conducting a Krankel hearing. That case law establishes “a procedure for trial courts to follow when a defendant mades … claims of ineffective assistance,” according to the appellate order.
The appellate court vacated Volberding’s sentence and sent the case back for an initial Krankel inquiry and, if necessary, a new sentencing hearing.
Volberding was brought back into Coppedge’s courtroom Wednesday.
Typically, Coppedge said, a Krankel hearing would be “a conversation between you and I” about why Volberding thought his representation was ineffective.
If Volberding felt he needed a public defender to aid him during that conversation, Coppedge said, he would appoint one.
“I need to have an attorney,” Volberding said.
After questioning whether Volberding had any assets, Coppedge appointed a public defender for the hearing.
The hearing was rescheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 31.
If his arguments are successful at the later hearing, the court could re-sentence Volberding.