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Name: People v. Avila
Case #: F042072
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/08/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/23/04

During his trial for second degree commercial burglary, appellant asked for a continuance because he was in serious pain from an old back injury. The continuance was denied. Appellant continued to complain about serious headaches, and maintained that he was unable to assist in his defense due to the pain. A motion for a mistrial was denied. Following appellant’s conviction, he made a motion for a new trial because he had been “mentally absent” from trial because of the pain. In denying the motion, the trial court stated that it believed appellant was in pain, but did not believe it interfered with appellant’s ability to assist in his defense. The appellate court here affirmed the conviction. The documentary medical evidence did not show that appellant was mentally absent or incompetent during trial, and his testimony was not credible. The trial court articulated its reasons for the denial of the motion, the decision was entirely reasonable, and there was no abuse of discretion.