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Majority finds no error regarding potential electronic monitoring

February 4, 2015

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that a trial court had improperly delegated to a community corrections program the authority to decide whether he should be subject to electronic monitoring.

Chad Madden entered into a plea agreement on several charges while he was on probation for another incident and had charges pending in a separate case. As part of the agreement, he could petition to the trial court for a sentence modification after successful completion in a therapeutic community program. He did so, and the trial court ordered him to report to the Jefferson County Community Corrections Department and comply with all rules for community correction, including electronic monitoring if recommended or required by the JCCCD.

Madden acknowledged at the modification hearing he understood and agreed to comply with the terms of probation. But he later filed a motion to correct error, claiming the court improperly delegated its authority by allowing JCCCD to decide whether and for what duration he should be placed on electronic monitoring as a condition of his probation. The record does not say whether Madden was ever actually placed on electronic monitoring. The trial court denied his motion.
 
“Here, the trial court ordered, as a condition of probation, that Madden be subject to home detention as supervised by the Community Corrections program, which is authorized by the home detention statutes. Also, the Community Corrections program is required by statute to place such a probationer on electronic monitoring. Given this statutory authority, we cannot say that the portion of the trial court’s order requiring Madden to comply with all rules established by the Community Corrections program, including electronic monitoring, improperly delegates the trial court’s sentencing authority to the Community Corrections program,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in Chad A. Madden v. State of Indiana, 39A01-1404-CR-173. Mathias and Judge Terry Crone also found the trial court order did not deprive Madden of procedural due process, as he claimed. They noted Madden was provided a hearing regarding the sentence modification and if he is referring to any future finding by the JCCCD that he violated his probation, that question is not ripe for review.

Judge Patricia Riley dissented, writing the probation and home detention statutes explicitly establish the duty to outline the conditions of probation resides with the trial court, and there is no language in these statutes allowing the court to delegate its authority to define a defendant’s terms of probation.

She also found it was an abuse of discretion to require electronic monitoring as a condition of the probation because the trial court’s initial sentencing decision and basis for modification were controlled by the plea agreement, which is silent regarding any terms of probation.
 

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