A162629

In a case in which appellant twice failed to appear at sentencing – once because he was in custody and once because he felt sick and did not feel “safe” going to the courthouse –,  the Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in finding appellant willfully violated the terms of his Cruz waiver. In so holding, the Court rejected the trial court’s assertion that, by using drugs, appellant “assumed the risk” that he might get arrested and miss his sentencing. With respect to the second failure to appear, the Court explained that appellant’s reasoning for not going to the courthouse supported a strong inference that he was experiencing COVID symptoms, and the court’s website instructed defendants who were experiencing COVID symptoms to “not come to the courthouse” and to contact their attorney, which is precisely what appellant did in this case.  

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