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Court defines due process rights for drug court participants

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a defendant that his due process rights were denied when his participation in a drug court program was ended without giving him notice of a hearing, or allowing him to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

Even the state conceded that Robert L. Gosha was denied his right to due process and believed he should have a new hearing.

In Robert L. Gosha v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0912-CR-1210, as part of his probation violation, Gosha was referred to drug court. Sanctions would be stayed if he successfully completed the program. After being admitted, he was allegedly found with drugs and paraphernalia in his home.

The drug court held a hearing without notice and without any evidence presented, and terminated Gosha’s participation in the program. The trial court also denied Gosha’s request for an evidentiary hearing on the ending of his participation and Gosha’s motion to correct error.

Finding Hopper v. State, 546 N.E.2d 106 (Ind. Ct. App. 1989), to be instructive, the Court of Appeals ruled that the due process rights afforded a defendant in probation revocation hearings are now required for defendants participating in a drug court program. Defendants should receive written notice of the claimed violations, disclosure of the evidence, a chance to be heard and present evidence and cross-examine witnesses, and have a neutral and detached hearing body.

The drug court is to conduct an evidentiary hearing to allow Gosha written notice of the violations, and the ability to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The judges also noted that a defendant may waive his right to procedural due process, but Gosha didn’t knowingly waive that right.

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