The Iowa Supreme Court says defendants do not have to be present in some misdemeanor trials if the person is intentionally trying to delay justice.
The case involved Randall Hurlbut of Le Mars who was convicted after being charged with driving while intoxicated.
Hurlbut asked for a new lawyer three times and show up to some hearings — but didn’t show up for his trial in February 2020 — telling his lawyer he couldn’t get a ride.
The Supreme Court ruling says a misdemeanor defendant who knows his trial date yet deliberately chooses without good cause to remain absent from his trial cannot then cry foul when the court follows through with the trial. It says the defendant has rights — but the state possesses a compelling interest in the orderly disposition of justice.
Here’s the ruling: Hurlbut ruling PDF