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Crawford holding doesn’t apply to probation revocation hearings

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The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s argument Thursday that he should be afforded the same right of confrontation in his probation revocation hearing as is outlined in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

Robert Smith was on home detention through Marion County Community Corrections when the community supervisor manager alleged eight counts of violations, including testing positive for drugs. At a hearing on the allegations, the state was allowed to enter into evidence Exhibit 1, which consisted of five lab reports showing Smith tested positive for cocaine and marijuana on five separate occasions, and an affidavit from Megan Jones, the supervisor of the lab that performed the tests. She attested to the positive results of the test.

Smith argued that admitting that evidence violated his due process right to confrontation and it was not reliable because it only spoke of general lab procedures and not specific results.

Smith’s community-corrections placement was revoked, and he was ordered to serve time in the Department of Correction. He has since been released. Because of this, the judges did not address his claim the court erred in not giving him good credit time.

The justices only addressed Smith’s right to confrontation argument, in which he argued that the high court should find his due process right to confrontation requires confrontation as defined in Crawford.

“We reject the argument that Smith’s due process right to confrontation should be the same right to confrontation as defined in Crawford for purposes of the Sixth Amendment; more-over, we reject any argument that Crawford changed the due process analysis we employ in revocation proceedings,” Justice Frank Sullivan wrote.

The justices adopted the “substantial trustworthiness” test in Reyes v. State, 868 N.E.2d 438, 440 n.1 (Ind. 2007), for determining when hearsay evidence should be admitted at probation revocation hearings. In Smith’s case, his due process rights to confrontation weren’t violated by the admission of Exhibit 1 because the evidence supports the trial court’s finding that it was substantially trustworthy. The trial judge found Jones’ affidavit to be reliable.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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