State ex rel. Romley v. Fields

In State ex rel. Romley v. Fields, 201 Ariz. 321, 323, P4, 35 P.3d 82, 84 (App. 2001), the defendant was indicted on various drug-related charges and was advised in his arraignment of a future trial date through a minute entry that included a warning stating that if the defendant failed to appear, he might be tried in absentia. Id. at 140-41, 901 P.2d at 1170-71. Prior to trial, however, the defendant escaped from the jail and fled to Colombia. Id. at 141, 901 P.2d at 1171. The trial court subsequently changed the trial date through a minute entry. Id. Defendant's counsel argued as a consequence that his client's absence from trial proceedings was not voluntary pursuant to Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 9.1. Despite the change of date, we noted that the defendant had actual notice of the trial date before his escape even though he had not yet been advised of the continued trial date. Id. at 144, 901 P.2d at 1174 The defendant's escape and failure to appear for his original trial date demonstrated that it did not matter to the defendant if "his trial was set for a few days or a few months away." Id. at 145, 901 P.2d at 1175. Thus, there was adequate evidence to find the defendant was voluntarily absent from the country and that he had effectively waived his right to be present at trial under Rule 9.1. Id.