☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 546

< > Effective - 28 Aug 1939    bottom

  546.030.  Prisoner must be present in court, when. — No person indicted for a felony can be tried unless he be personally present, during the trial; nor can any person be tried or be allowed to enter a plea of guilty in any other case unless he be personally present, or the court and prosecuting attorney shall consent to such trial or plea in the absence of the defendant; and every person shall be admitted to make any lawful proof by competent witnesses or other testimony in his defense; provided, that in all cases the verdict of the jury may be received by the court and entered upon the records thereof in the absence of the defendant, when such absence on his part is willful or voluntary, and when so received and entered shall have the same force and effect as if received and entered in the presence of such defendant; and provided further, that when the record in the appellate court shows that the defendant was present at the commencement or any other stage of the trial, it shall be presumed, in the absence of all evidence in the record to the contrary, that he was present during the whole trial.


(RSMo 1939 § 4054)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 3665; 1919 § 4008; 1909 § 5214

(1956) Where defendant charged with first degree murder was at liberty on bond and jury was discharged on its failure to reach verdict during his voluntary, although inadvertent absence from courtroom, his retrial did not constitute double jeopardy. State v. McCrary, 365 Mo. 799, 287 S.W.2d 785.

(1959) Absence of defendant's counsel from courtroom at time verdict was returned violated no constitutional right of defendant. State v. Smith (Mo.), 324 S.W.2d 707.

(1961) Defendant was not deprived of constitutional right to appear and defend in person where he was represented by competent counsel throughout all stages of trial and was personally present at all times except when voluntarily absent for short time during proceedings in chambers when record of prior convictions was presented to judge under second offender law. State v. Colbert (Mo.), 344 S.W.2d 115.

(1967) Accused's presence is not necessary during proceedings which are not part of the trial, such as preliminary or formal proceedings or motions which do not affect his guilt or innocence. State v. Durham (MO.), 416 S.W.2d 79.

(1968) Where transcript on appeal did not affirmatively show defendant who was charged with a misdemeanor present at trial and no request for trial in his absence appeared in record, conviction could not stand. State v. Cook (MO.), 432 S.W.2d 345.

(1976) Right to appear and defend in criminal prosecutions is a broader right than the statutory right to be personally present at the trial. A defendant may waive these rights and his counsel acting unilaterally may waive defendant's right to be present at a pretrial motion to suppress an oral confession.  State v. Sanders (A.), 539 S.W.2d 458.

---- end of effective  28 Aug 1939 ----

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