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COA splits on need for evidentiary hearing in revocation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals split as to whether only a chronological case summary entry indicating a man’s admissions to violating terms of community corrections placement is enough to bypass holding an evidentiary hearing.

When a probationer admits to a violation of probation, the due process requirements of an evidentiary hearing, and confrontation and cross-examination of the witnesses is unnecessary. Robert Beeler was serving his sentence following a guilty plea to felony robbery and criminal confinement in Marion County Community Corrections Home Detention. The state alleged he violated the terms of community corrections because he had been alleged to be a juvenile delinquent in another case and did not comply with the rules of home detention.

According to a CCS entry in Beeler’s robbery and criminal confinement case, he admitted to all four counts under the notice of violation of community corrections and the two counts charged under the notice of violation of probation. The trial court found he violated the terms and ordered him to serve six years of his previously suspended sentence.

Since Beeler didn’t object to the trial court revoking his community corrections placement and probation, he must prove the court made a fundamental error. The only indication on record that Beeler admitted to violating the terms was the CCS entry to that effect. In Robert Beeler v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-1007-CR-456, the majority concluded that was enough to establish an admission and thus waive the requirement of an evidentiary hearing. The majority cited Epps v. State, 244 Ind. 515. 525, 192 N.E.2d 459, 464 (1963), and Trojnar v. Trojnar, 698 N.E.2d 301, 304 (Ind. 1998), to support their ruling.

Judge Terry Crone dissented, pointing out that there was no transcript containing Beeler’s admission. He disagreed with the state’s position that the appellate court should be able to rely on the trial court’s assertions in its docket to establish the truth of events even when the transcript doesn’t specifically verify them.

“Given the fundamental due process and liberty interests at stake, and given that the transcript actually contradicts the CCS’s version of events, I disagree with the State’s position,” he wrote. “If Beeler admitted to a probation violation off the record – a fact that Beeler does not concede on appeal – it was incumbent upon the State to ensure that the admission was repeated on the record. This it failed to do.”

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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