Sentence thrown out for man who wasn’t in courtroom

HILLSDALE, Mich. (AP) – A Hillsdale County judge has been called out again for sentencing someone without bringing him into court.

The Michigan appeals court told Judge Michael Smith to hold another hearing and give Charles Trout Jr. an opportunity to stand in front of him.

Trout was sentenced to at least 13 years in prison for maintaining a methamphetamine lab, but he wasn’t physically in court when he got the punishment. Trout had to participate by video from jail, although his attorney was in the courtroom.

The appeals court says it found no evidence that Trout had waived his right to appear in court.

Smith says Hillsdale County saves time and money by having people participate in court hearings by video if they’re being held in jail.

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