New York State Court of Appeals
Bench Conferences — Defendant’s Right to Participate
People v. Flinn
Background: The defendant was convicted for attempted murder. During voir dire of prospective jurors, the defendant chose to stay at the defense table, rather than participate during bench conferences.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals held that the defendant validly waived his right to be present during bench conferences at which prospective jurors were questioned on voir dire. The record established that he was explained his right and that the judge told the defendant that he was “welcome to attend” the conferences. The defendant waived his right by staying in his seat.
Martin P. McCarthy II for the appellant; Patricia L. Dziuba for the respondent