COA: Filing errors don’t reverse probation revocation

Errors made in petition filing were not sufficient to reverse revocation of a man’s probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined Wednesday.

In July 2011, Scott Hall was convicted of burglary and received a 20-year sentence to be served in a home incarceration program through community corrections.

Five years into his probation, Hall was charged with attempted robbery and battery, which he later pled guilty to. At the request of Hall’s probation officer, the deputy prosecuting attorney filed a petition to revoke Hall’s placement in the home detention program, alleging Hall had violated the terms of his placement.

Hall admitted to the alleged violation, leading the Clark Circuit Court to revoke his placement. Hall was ordered to serve the balance of his previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction.

On appeal, Hall argued that the petition was not properly before the trial court because the deputy prosecuting attorney filed the petition rather than the director of the community corrections program.
But the appellate court found that any potential error was procedural, not jurisdictional, and that Hall did not preserve the issue for review in Scott A. Hall v. State of Indiana, 17A-CR-3022.

Hall also alleged that fundamental error occurred, and he was never properly advised of the allegations against him due to “numerous factual errors and incorrect law [sic] that were contained in the petition.”

“While the petition to revoke his placement in community corrections did contain some inaccuracies, none of those inaccuracies related to the violations of the community corrections program that the State claimed Hall had committed,” Judge Edward Najam wrote.

The appellate court noted that Hall had been given notice of claimed violations in order to prepare his defense, had an opportunity to defend himself during the hearing on the petition to revoke his placement and received written notice of the claimed violation.

“As such, the trial court did not deprive Hall of his due process rights when it revoked his placement in community corrections,” Najam concluded.

Therefore, it found that Hall did not demonstrate that the trial court committed fundamental error.

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