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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Smith’s community-corrections placement was revoked, and he was ordered to serve time in the Department of Correction.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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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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