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Court sets drug-court termination requirements

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An Indiana Court of Appeals ruling today sets requirements for drug court terminations after a man’s participation was terminated without minimum due process.

In Robert L. Gosha v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0912-CR-1210, the panel reversed Madison Superior Judge Dennis D. Carroll’s denial of a motion to correct error and remanded to the trial court.

Robert Gosha pleaded guilty Nov. 20, 2007, to operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced him to eight years, with four years suspended to probation. Gosha admitted during a June 9, 2009, hearing to violating probation, and the court ordered the previously suspended four years be executed at the Indiana Department of Correction. However, the judge stayed the sanctions pending successful completion of a drug court program. The judge also ordered that if Gosha was removed from the program for any reason, the balance of the executed sentence would be automatically transferred to the DOC.

After he was admitted to the drug court program, cocaine residue and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found at Gosha’s house during a home visit. The drug court conducted a hearing and – without notice and without any evidence presented – terminated Gosha’s participation.

Gosha’s request for an evidentiary hearing was denied, as was his motion to correct error.

He claimed he did not receive minimum due process during the drug court hearing, and even the state conceded he was denied his right to due process. The appellate panel agreed.

Both the state and Gosha urged the appellate court to adopt the same due process requirements afforded defendants in probation-revocation proceedings. The court found support for that argument in Hopper v. State, 546 N.E.2d 106 (Ind. Ct. App. 1989), trans. denied.

Judge Edward Najam wrote, “The due process rights afforded a defendant in probation revocation proceedings, and which we now require for defendants participating in a Drug Court Program, are described as follows: written notice of the claimed violations, disclosure of the evidence against him, an opportunity to be heard and present evidence, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and a neutral and detached hearing body …. Cox v. State, 706 N.E.2d 547, 549 (Ind. 1999).”

“We remand to the trial court with instructions to conduct an evidentiary hearing, with written notice to Gosha of the claimed violations, disclosure of the evidence against him, an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence, and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses,” the court wrote.
 

 
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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