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Name: People v. Mayham
Case #: B237074
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/10/2013
Summary

Appellant’s constitutional rights were not violated by failure to provide him with a video feed of the victim’s testimony after he was excluded from the court room because of his disruptive behavior. In his trial for a violation of Penal Code section 273.5 (spousal abuse), appellant made disruptive comments by communicating with the testifying victim and the jury. He was warned but then removed from the court room when he failed to stop. He was not provided with a video feed of the proceedings from the court room to the holding cell. Following his conviction, he filed a new trial motion, claiming a constitutional violation of his right to a fair trial because he could not assist counsel with cross-examination, but it was denied. Affirmed. There is no statute or court rule requiring a trial court to provide a defendant with audio or video feed of trial testimony when he is excluded from the court room. There is also no authority supporting a claim of a constitutional right to the same. Here, there were practical reasons why appellant could not be provided with audio or video feed. The building where the trial occurred was not a new building and did not have built in features for such equipment. The victim was uncooperative and had to be brought to testify via an attachment following her initial failure to appear. With the possibility she would make herself unavailable if proceedings were continued to attempt to obtain necessary equipment, it was not reasonable to continue the matter. Counsel did not seek permission to tape record the testimony or request a reporter’s transcript of it. Even if appellant had been denied effective assistance of counsel at a critical stage, there was no prejudice. At trial, the victim testified substantially as she had at the preliminary hearing so defense counsel had this testimony to review with appellant prior to trial. Further, the court offered to recess if counsel requested whenever she wished to confer with appellant regarding the trial testimony.