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COA splits, reverses probation revocation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals was split today in its decision to reverse the revocation of a defendant's probation. The judges didn't agree that the probation revocation hearing comported with due process.

Judges Carr Darden and Margret Robb believed the circumstances surrounding Paul Davis' case were similar to that of Martin v. State, 813 N.E.2d 388 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004). In that case, the trial court revoked Martin's probation after he admitted being arrested and that charges were pending, but the state provided no evidence or the probable cause affidavit for the charges prior to the court finding he violated his probation. The appellate court overturned the revocation, finding the evidence was insufficient to support revoking his probation.

In Davis v. State, No. 49A04-0907-CR-379, Davis' attorney admitted at the probation revocation hearing that Davis had been arrested but didn't state what the allegations were. His attorney also told the judge "The agreement is twelve years DOC contingent also upon the fact that if he beats that Court Five case, we would be allowed to come back to have the twelve years revisited."

Just as in Martin, the state failed to provide evidence that Davis had committed a criminal offense. The trial court was unaware as to the specific allegations and Davis' attorney only admitted that Davis was arrested.

"As there was only an admission to an arrest without a probable cause finding and neither party entered the probable cause affidavit into evidence, we find that the probation revocation hearing denied Davis minimum due process," wrote Judge Darden.

The majority also rejected the state's argument that Davis wasn't entitled to due process rights because he admitted to violating his probation. But when the admission itself is insufficient to support a probation revocation, it doesn't render the procedural due process safeguards and evidentiary hearing unnecessary, wrote the judge.

In his dissent, Judge Paul Mathias acknowledged that an arrest, standing alone, doesn't support the revocation of probation, but Davis didn't just admit he had been arrested. He also referred to the agreement between Davis and the state that he agreed his probation would be revoked, but he would have the right to revisit the issue if he was acquitted on the pending charges.

"Here, Davis not only admitted to the historical fact that he had been arrested, his counsel also agreed that his probation would be revoked. Although Davis did not personally speak during the revocation hearing, his counsel's admission is binding on him," he wrote.

For these reasons, he would hold Davis wasn't denied due process and would uphold his probation revocation.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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