Lack of evidence leads COA to reverse probation violation

November 13, 2015

A Franklin County man who was ordered to spend five months in the Department of Correction after an alleged probation violation won a reversal of the trial court order Friday for lack of evidence.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the state offered evidence that could not be judicially noticed as proof that a defendant had violated probation. The court in a footnote wrote the document was not presented to the trial court, and bears no date or the signature of the person who prepared it. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion to strike the document.

Joshua T. Trammell served a concurrent sentence for Class D felony convictions of theft and resisting law enforcement arising from separate causes disposed through a single plea agreement. A probation officer filed a notice of violation alleging he tested positive for opioids, but Trammell claimed he had a prescription.

“The standard of proof for revoking probation may be lower, but there still must be evidence from which the trial court can determine that an alleged violation occurred within the probationary period,” Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel in Joshua T. Trammell v. State of Indiana, 24A01-1502-CR-51. “Such evidence is lacking here, and we are compelled to conclude the trial court abused its discretion in revoking Trammell’s probation.  



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