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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. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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