A defendant in a criminal case involving misdemeanors and felonies of harassment and assault was scheduled for a trial in Bronx County before Supreme Court Justice Duffy. On the date of the trial, June 12, 2010, the defendant failed to appear. The defendant’s lawyer argued that Mr. Bernandez did not receive notice of the scheduled trial date.
A hearing was held before Justice Duffy to determine if Mr. Bernandez knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to be present at the time of his trial. The court found that the defendant was previously advised by the judge that if he failed to appear, prosecutors could proceed to try his case in his absence. The defendant was further advised by the court clerk to return to the court for his trial.
The defendant failed to appear at the time of his trial and a bench warrant was issued. Since Mr. Bernandez was warned that he would be tried and of the consequences of his failure to appear at the time of trial, the court determined that the trial could go on in absentia.
Mr. Bernandez made a mistake. If you are charged with a crime, you should appear with defense counsel. Not showing up on the day of the trial is a mistake!