County District Court File No. 05-CR-17-6
Ellison, Attorney General, Michael Everson, Assistant
Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Philip K. Miller,
Benton County Attorney, Foley, Minnesota (for respondent)
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Gina
Schulz, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for
Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Larkin,
Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
defendant is voluntarily absent from his or her jury trial
and has not personally consented to or requested a
no-adverse-inference jury instruction, a district court does
not err by denying defense counsel's request for a
no-adverse-inference jury instruction.
argues that he is entitled to reversal of his conviction of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct because, after he
voluntarily absented himself from his jury trial without
personally consenting to or requesting a no-adverse-inference
jury instruction, the district court denied his counsel's
request for the instruction. We affirm.
State of Minnesota charged appellant Christian Flah with two
counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) and one
count of second-degree CSC against an 11-year-old child. The
district court conducted a jury trial on the charges, and
Flah rested without calling any witnesses or offering any
evidence. On the second day of trial, Flah failed to appear.
To afford Flah time to appear or otherewise communicate with
his counsel, the court excused the jury and recessed to
discuss jury instructions. The court subsequently noted on
the record that Flah's counsel would prefer that the
no-adverse-inference jury instruction "remain in the
instructions" and expressed its concern that it did not
know whether Flah wanted the instruction and whether
including it would create a potential issue for appellate
review. Flah's counsel offered no additional argument,
and the court declined to give a no-adverse-inference jury
jury found Flah guilty of one count of first-degree CSC and
one count of second-degree CSC. After officers found Flah and
arrested him, the district court adjudicated him guilty of
first-degree CSC and sentenced him to 144 months'
Flah waive his right to challenge the district court's
denial of his counsel's request for a