(725 ILCS 5/115-4.1)
(from Ch. 38, par. 115-4.1)
Absence of defendant.
(a) When a defendant after arrest
and an initial court appearance for a non-capital felony or a misdemeanor,
fails to appear for trial, at the request of the State and after the State
has affirmatively proven through substantial evidence that the defendant
is willfully avoiding trial, the court may commence trial in the absence
of the defendant. Absence of a defendant as specified in this Section
shall not be a bar to indictment of a defendant, return of information
against a defendant, or arraignment of a defendant for the charge for which
pretrial release has been granted. If a defendant fails
to appear at arraignment, the court may enter a plea of "not guilty" on his
behalf. If a defendant absents himself before trial on a capital felony,
trial may proceed as specified in this Section provided that the State
certifies that it will not seek a death sentence following conviction.
Trial in the defendant's absence shall be by jury unless
the defendant had previously waived trial by jury. The absent defendant
must be represented by retained or appointed counsel.
The court, at the conclusion of all of the proceedings, may order the clerk
of the circuit court to pay counsel such sum as the court deems reasonable,
from any bond monies which were posted by the defendant with the clerk,
after the clerk has first deducted all court costs. If trial had previously
commenced in the presence of the defendant and the defendant willfully absents
himself for two successive court days, the court shall proceed to trial. All
procedural rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, Constitution
of the State of Illinois, statutes of the State of Illinois, and rules of court
shall apply to the proceedings the same as if the defendant were present
in court and had not either had his or her pretrial release revoked or escaped
from custody. The court may set the case for a trial which may be conducted
under this Section despite the failure of the defendant to appear at the
hearing at which the trial date is set. When such trial date is set the
clerk shall send to the defendant, by certified mail at his last known address
indicated on his bond slip, notice of the new date which has been set for
trial. Such notification shall be required when the defendant was not
personally present in open court at the time when the case was set for trial.
(b) The absence of a defendant from a trial conducted pursuant to this
Section does not operate as a bar to concluding the trial, to a judgment
of conviction resulting therefrom, or to a final disposition of the trial
in favor of the defendant.
(c) Upon a verdict of not guilty, the court shall enter judgment for the
defendant. Upon a verdict of guilty, the court shall set a date for the
hearing of post-trial motions and shall hear such motion in the absence
of the defendant. If post-trial motions are denied, the court shall proceed
to conduct a sentencing hearing and to impose a sentence upon the defendant.
(d) A defendant who is absent for part of the proceedings of trial,
post-trial motions, or sentencing, does not thereby forfeit his right to be
present at all remaining proceedings.
(e) When a defendant who in his absence has been either convicted or
sentenced or both convicted and sentenced appears before the court, he must
be granted a new trial or new sentencing hearing if the defendant can
establish that his failure to appear in court was both without his fault
and due to circumstances beyond his control. A hearing with notice to the
State's Attorney on the defendant's request for a new trial or a new
sentencing hearing must be held before any such request may be granted. At
any such hearing both the defendant and the State may present evidence.
(f) If the court grants only the defendant's request for a new sentencing
hearing, then a new sentencing hearing shall be held in accordance with
the provisions of the Unified Code of Corrections. At any such hearing,
both the defendant and the State may offer evidence of the defendant's conduct
during his period of absence from the court. The court may impose any sentence
authorized by the Unified Code of Corrections and is not in any way limited
or restricted by any sentence previously imposed.
(g) A defendant whose motion under paragraph (e) for a new trial or new
sentencing hearing has been denied may file a notice of appeal therefrom.
Such notice may also include a request for review of the judgment and sentence
not vacated by the trial court.
(Source: P.A. 101-652, eff. 1-1-23