Court: No-show San Jose defendant not entitled to new trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court says a defendant who failed to show up for trial while serving as his own attorney is not entitled to a new trial.

The court’s unanimous ruling Monday said the Santa Clara County judge overseeing Zeferino Espinoza’s case had the authority to continue the 2012 trial in Espinoza’s absence and reasonably concluded the defendant’s failure to appear was part of a continuing effort to delay the court.

Judge Paul Bernal did not appoint Espinoza an attorney, and a jury convicted him in his absence of drug and gun possession charges. Espinoza reappeared during sentencing and requested a new trial, but the judge denied him and sentenced him to 2 years and 8 months in prison.

Lawrence Gibbs, an attorney for Espinoza, said he is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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