The Sixth Amendment guarantees:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury....
I recently discovered that, in general, these "rights" are not optional!
For example, under under Federal rule: if you want a bench trial in a criminal matter, both the prosecution and the judge must agree to waive the jury (FRCP 23a). (Many states do, however, allow a criminal defendant to unilaterally opt for a bench trial.)
Likewise: Under FRCP 43, a criminal defendant cannot opt out of being present for his entire trial.
These rules seem opposed to the basic civic principles that surround the presumption of innocence before conviction, and the right of a person to pursue an effective defense. I can think of plenty of reasons why a person may not want to show his face in a public court, much less sit through the entire process. Including reasons that may prejudice the triers of fact: e.g., disfigurement, handicaps that produce irritating tics, etc.
The notes on these federal rules cite a great deal of jurisprudence and history. Before I attempt my own research, can anyone point to principles or customs that might illuminate or reconcile these FRCP mandates with the basic understanding of American criminal justice I described?