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Name: People v. Howze
Case #: B134049
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/08/2001
Subsequent History: Modification of opinion on denial of rehearing 86 Cal.App.4th 839c; review denied 4/25/01

Applying the doctrine of estoppel, the Court of Appeal held that appellant’s state and federal constitutional rights were not violated, and the court did not act in excess of its jurisdiction under Penal Code section 1043, when it commenced trial in appellant’s absence. Here, the appellate court found that appellant consented to commencing trial in his absence, and that his absence was occasioned by his own deliberate conduct. While the consent was not in strict compliance with the statutory requirement that it be in writing, appellant failed to show any prejudice resulting from that error. The appellate court also found that estoppel applied because appellant subsequently participated in the trial without making any objection based on a lack of jurisdiction. Where as here the defendant made his motion to represent himself two days before trial was to begin, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion and finding it untimely based on its finding that the defendant was manipulative, obstreperous, and created a risk of disrupting the proceedings.