Re: to Appeal a Failure to Appear Finding
I'm confused. In Kent Municipal Court, you must first request a "contested" hearing BEFORE you are scheduled for a "pre-hearing conference". At the pre-hearing conference, you are usually given the opportunity to "defer" or continue with the "contested" hearing. I have never heard of them scheduling a pre-hearing conference BEFORE you enter a plea, yet that's what you've implied.
As far as your plea, as far as I know, you can change it AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO JUDGMENT. If you originally request a "mitigation" hearing, you can walk in and say you're changing your plea to "not guilty", and the court MUST then schedule you for a contested hearing. At least that's what I've heard judges say -- I don't know of any rule or law that says that.
As far as your request for a contested hearing, IRLJ 2.6 (a)(1) states:
Quoting IRLJ 2.6
The word "shall" in a rule or law means MUST! The court has NO options (unless they schedule a "pre-hearing conference pursuant to sections (1)(i) and (ii)) -- if you request a contested hearing the court MUST schedule one. The "supervisor" has NO power to "grant" you anything -- the court MUST schedule the contested hearing.
I don't suppose you kept a copy of your "Order on Pre-hearing Conference" that you filled out and signed at the time. If not, go to the courthouse and have the clerk pull up your file and make you a copy.
Your main problem is that mitigation hearings CANNOT be appealed (see IRLJ 5.1). Therefore, your only recourse, as I see it, is a Motion to Vacate Judgment. That is NOT an appeal. If your motion is granted, you should be given the opportunity to contest. If it is not, you MIGHT be able to appeal that. You'll also need to read CRLJ 60, governing such motions.
Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?