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Criminal Law: Child Molestation-Waiver of Jury Trial

Defendant appealed his conviction for statutory sodomy and child molestation. During jury selection, defense counsel made an inappropriate remark in front of prospective jurors, so the trial court dismissed the panel and set a new date. On that date, the trial court noted that the case would proceed as a bench trial, although the trial court did not question defendant about waiving his right to a jury trial. During trial, the state admitted a video of the victim’s interview without objection from defendant.

Where defendant never alleged that trial counsel never informed him of his right to a jury trial or that he did not understand or voluntarily waive that right, there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction from a bench trial, and the trial court properly admitted the forensic interview as an accurate recording.

Judgment is affirmed.

State v. Hilbert (MLW No. 79620/Case No. SC99747 – 13 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Ransom, J.) Appealed from circuit court, City of St. Louis, Sengheiser, J. (Joel J. Schwartz and Nathan T. Swanson, St. Louis, for petitioner) (Daniel N. McPherson, Jefferson City, for respondent)