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Smith’s community-corrections placement was revoked, and he was ordered to serve time in the Department of Correction.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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.