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What happends if your scheduled to have a vop docket hearing but your public defender says your not going to it?

Okeechobee, FL |

I called my husbands public defender today to find out where his case stands and he told me that my husband was not going to his docket hearing. three weeks ago I sent the public defender paperwork proving that the vop was incorrect, he sent them to the state lawyer and now he say we are waiting on them and he doesnt know how long that can take. My husband has already been in jail for 2months. why wouldn't he have to go to that hearing and how long does it normally take the state to make a decision?

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Attorney answers 2


Your husband may not be personally appearing at the docket hearing but the hearing may still be taking place. This depends upon a number of factors, ex. the reason the hearing is called, whether the judge, State Attorney and the Public Defender believe that your husband's presence is needed and the difficulty in transporting prisoners.

As far as the time it takes for the State Attorney to make a decision, there's no average. It depends upon the individual's work ethic and the policies in that office. It's not unusual for a State Attorney to rotate hundreds of cases at any given time; I believe my average was about 750 monthly rotating but my office also afforded me a lot of discretion where other offices demand that all decisions are approved by a manager which dramatically slows down the process.

I'm sure this Public Defender doesn't want to pressure the State Attorney because that might effect your husband's case negatively but occasionally (weekly) checking in and I'm sure on the date of the scheduled hearing, he'll ask if the State has conducted its investigation and research to make a determination.

Your husband's criminal history and the guideline sentence for his charge will also largely effect all the parties time lines. VOPs have a lower threshold of proof; a simple traffic citation may result in a violation. So if your husband has a history of violating or other significant history, it may be that both the State and PD know that the judge won't accept a plea involving a short period of incarceration. In short, there are many factors considered in navigating criminal pleas and factual determinations.

Hope this helps.


The key issue to your inquiry concerns the evidence which proves that the VOP should be dismissed. The problem may be that the Public Defender has too many cases and not enough time to look at your husband's case. If so, you should consider hiring a private attorney. Two months in jail for something you re innocent of is too much time.

You are writing from Okeechobee, but do not specifically state that the case is pending in Okeechobee. If it is, then Judge Belanger usually acts quickly to schedule VOP hearings- unless someone has requested a continuance. Since the holidays are almost here, a continuance may keep your husband in jail until January. Perhaps a motion for bond or a conditional release should be considered.

I recommend that you discuss this case with the assigned public defender or a private attorney ASAP. You need to confirm that the evidence substantially rebuts the VOP charge, make sure that the info is shared with the State Attorney, and see why the case has been postponed. If the attorney agrees that the evidence clears your husband, then any delay would cause your husband to unnecessarily spend time in jail.

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