Probation and supervised release are very attractive alternatives to incarceration for a person who has been convicted of a crime. In addition to being able to stay out of prison, these types of criminal penalties allow you to work while carrying out your sentence and often to live with and maintain a closer relationship with family. It’s important to remember that probation and supervised release often come with very strict terms, however. As a recent case out of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit shows, a person who violates those terms is likely headed to jail.
Mr. Padgett was convicted on two counts of cocaine-related conspiracy in 1998. He was again charged and convicted on a criminal offense 11 years later, this time for allegedly attempting to escape custody. He was eventually sentenced to supervised release, but that release was revoked on two separate occasions. Padgett was resentenced to more than a decade behind bars after a court found that Padgett violated the terms of his probation by possessing a firearm and a knife and by committing battery.
Padgett later appealed the decision, arguing that the court abused its discretion in revoking his probation. The Fourth District disagreed, finding that there was ample evidence in the record to support the allegation that Padgett violated the probation by possessing a firearm and committing battery. Padgett was apprehended by police near the place where he worked, shortly after reports that five shots were fired at the business. He fit the description of the subject and was identified by a witness as the person who fired the shots. A particle sample taken from Padgett the same night tested positive for gun residue.
“On the basis of all this evidence, the district court found that the Government had proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Padgett had possessed a firearm,” the Court said. That standard, the Court explained, required the prosecution to simply show that it was more likely than not that Padgett violated his probation. Although the judge went with a sentence near the maximum number of years Padgett could get behind bars, the Court said the decision was warranted under the circumstances. “Padgett had violated the terms of his supervised release once before, squandering the second chance afforded him by committing multiple serious violations of his supervision,” the Court observed.
This case is just one example of how critical it is that a person who has been given probation or another form of supervised release obey the terms of the release. If you have been charged with a crime or accused of violating a probation agreement in West Virginia, it is vital that you seek experienced legal representation. The West Virginia criminal defense lawyers at the Wolfe Law Firm have been serving clients throughout the state for more than 25 years. Call us at 1-877-637-5756 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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