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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. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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