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COA: Judge abused discretion by revoking probation

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A Perry County trial court abused its discretion in revoking a man’s probation based solely on being charged with a new offense, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Lucas Jackson was on probation in Indiana when he moved to Kentucky and had his probation transferred there. A condition of his probation stated that he “shall not commit any act(s) which would be a crime during the period of the probation.”

The state alleged Jackson violated his probation when he was indicted in Kentucky on charges of sexual abuse involving a 12-year-old victim. The indictment was the only evidence introduced during a hearing on the probation violation. His probation officer testified the grand jury indictment constituted a violation of Jackson’s probation. Perry Circuit Judge Mary Lucille Goffinet concluded Jackson violated his probation and at another hearing, revoked it and ordered Jackson serve his previously suspended sentence.

The Court of Appeals reversed because his probation was revoked based solely on the charges in Kentucky being filed against him. The state has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Jackson committed the offense, which it did not do in this case, the judges held in Lucas H. Jackson v. State of Indiana, 62A04-1311-CR-563.
 

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