in absentia

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In-absentia (in ab-sen-shah) is Latin for "in absence," or more fully, in one's absence. A trial is sometimes called trial in absentia in cases where the trial is held without the presence of the accused. In Smith v. Mann, the Second Circuit held that “Though federal rule of criminal procedure prohibits federal trials in-absentia where defendant is not present at beginning of trial, the Constitution itself does not prohibit trial from being commenced in defendant's absence so long as defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to be present.”

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]