Articles Posted in Probation

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.

jail_wireMr. 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 He was eventually sentenced to supervised release, but that release was revoked on two separate occasions.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.

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Some people who are arrested, charged, and eventually convicted of a crime may be able to avoid prison time through probation. This is a form of supervised release in which the person is allowed to live freely and go on with his or her life, as long as the person stays out of trouble and checks in regularly with a probation officer. Probation is often also a condition for folks who do some prison time but earn an early release. It’s an incredibly attractive alternative to being locked in a cell. But, as a recent West Virginia Supreme Court decision shows, your probation isn’t likely to last long if you violate the terms of the deal.

prison-979960-mMr. Henry was sentenced to four to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of delivery of a controlled substance in September 2009. A circuit court suspended the sentence, however, and instead ordered Henry to do five years of probation. The terms of his probation required Henry not to break the law, to stay away from people dealing in drugs, and to abstain from using or possessing drugs.

It appears that Henry didn’t follow those rules. His probation officer filed three different petitions to revoke Henry’s probation in the four-year period that followed. The first came after Henry failed a drug test, was arrested and charged with battery, and was arrested again and charged with possession of a controlled substance. The second came after he was arrested for battery again and failed to report a second controlled substance arrest. A court revoked Henry’s probation and sentenced him to prison but later softened the decision after Henry spent about two months behind bars. The court then granted Henry house arrest and probation.

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