If I pressed charges of simple assault against a person who did not show up for court and the judge found them guilty, can I now I be called back to court?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I pressed charges of simple assault against a person who did not show up for court and the judge found them guilty, can I now I be called back to court?

I was visiting my brother who was separated and in middle of divorce. My sister-in-law came to the home stole the child and attempted to leave. My 2 sons were standing behind her car when she threw her child in the car and slammed car in reverse nearly running over my children. Me and my brother attempted to stop

car and called police. Police would do nothing. They said it was a domestic issue and since they were still legally married they could do nothing which had absolutely nothing to do with almost killing my children. I filed assault charges the next day and went to court on the day I was told to. She did not show up to court and the judge found her guilty. She later showed up to courthouse telling them she forgot.

Somehow she was able to get out of what the judge had already ordered. Now I have been served papers that she appealed and I have to go back to court. Why is this happening again? I went to court, I stood before the judge, I told my side and I was told it was done. Why is the court allowing her to bring me back to court for the exact same thing?

Asked on November 19, 2016 under Criminal Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Because, whether for good or for ill, one of the overriding policies and values of our legal system is to, when possible, decide matters "on the merits" (e.g. not due to procedural matters or nonappearance) and similarly, to (especially in criminal cases) allow people to have their day in court and tell their side of the story. Often, this prevents legitimate miscarriages of justice, as when people miss a court date for a truely understandble reason--hospitalization; a death in the family; some other home or domestic emergency (very sick child; massive leak to deal with before it destroys the house; etc.). Unfortunately, the leniency this policy engenders often causes judges to excuse simple selfishness, poor planning, or out-and-out stupidity, too, reasoning that it is better to be too lenient and allow people a new date in court when they probably don't deserve it, rather than be too strict and deny people a  second chance when it is warranted.

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