QUESTION:

In Ca. if you fail to appear at arraignment due to confinement in mental hospital & have no Atty, can court proceed with case? Prosecutor knew of defendants confinement but withheld info from court in order to have bench warrant issued. Is this legal?

ANSWER:

If you were unable to appear at your arraignment due to government action or detention under color of law (e.g. a 5150 hold or 5250 hold), then it is unlikely the court will uphold any adverse outcome. An attorney should be able to get your case back on calendar and get your warrant re-called (you may need to be present as well).

And while I don’t know any of the facts of your case, I think you may be overestimating the amount of communication between the hospital and the DA. I think the most likely scenario is that the DA, the judge, and the public defender didn’t know the reason you were not at court – they all handle a large volume of cases.

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