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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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