Prejudicial error from defendant’s absence at sentencing.

It is not controversial that a defendant has a federal constitutional right to be present at a sentencing hearing.

The Second District just held in People v Cutting 2019 WL 6163797, though, the the more stringent Chapman standard of prejudice applies when a defendant is unjustifiably absent from sentencing. They went on to hold that the error was prejudicial because the defendant could have presented mitigating facts or expressed remorse. This is one of those situations where it seems impossible to show prejudice. Who knows what he would have said and how it could have changed the outcome? This case will be super helpful for any cases where judges rule on SB 1393 / SB 620 issues on demand without holding a hearing.

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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