Evidence of new crimes sufficient to revoke probation

A defendant’s admission that he was trespassing and a witness’s testimony that the defendant planned to steal tin from a Greene County resident’s property was sufficient to revoke the man’s probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Shaun Pierce pleaded guilty to Class B felony burglary in 2010 and was sentenced to 13 years in prison with six years suspended to probation. He was released to probation in 2013.

Last October, Pierce was one of four people who rode in a truck onto the property of Brent and Kathleen Ferree, got out and began loading tin into the truck. The Ferees called police, then gave chase when the truck left. The tin flew from the truck, which crashed. Pierce and three others fled and Pierce was arrested in a nearby woods.

Greene Superior Judge Dena Martin revoked Pierce’s probation and ordered him to serve five years of his previously suspended burglary conviction. Court of Appeals Judge Melissa May wrote for the panel that affirmed the trial court in Shaun Pierce v. State of Indiana, 28A05-1502-CR-57.

May rejected Pierce’s argument that the evidence was insufficient because the tin was not admitted and the witness was not credible. This is an impermissible invitation to reweigh evidence. She also noted that evidence a person exerted unauthorized control over property may be proven by witness testimony and circumstantial evidence.

“As the State proved by a preponderance of the evidence Pierce committed theft and trespass, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by revoking Pierce’s probation,” May wrote.


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