Court: Suicide attempt no cause for a new trial

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected the claim of a convicted rapist who said because he tried to kill himself during his trial, he was denied the right to be present at his trial.

Jason Finnegan took an overdose of drugs on the final day of his trial for raping a 14-year-old girl in Otter Tail County.

The trial went on without him, although the jury wasn’t told why Finnegan wasn’t attending.

“The district court did not err in finding that appellant voluntarily absented himself from trial, and hold that a suicide attempt can constitute a voluntary and unjustified absence from trial constituting a waiver of the right to be present. Appellant knew that he was required to be in court the next morning for the final day of his trial,” the court said.

Here’s the full decision.

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