I was summoned to appear in court for Violation of Probation in April. Apparently, unknown to me, one of the stipulations of probation was to get a drivers license reinstated. As I explained to the judge at the hearing, I have been unsuccessful with the DMV in the endeavor to get the drivers license reinstated, or to even get a limited or restricted license. The judge set another hearing date in 5 weeks. Unfortunately, I also had made arrangements for a trip several months prior and had already bought flight tickets and made hotel reservations. The trip conflicted with the hearing date. Using their procedures, I made requests to the Clerk of the Court 6 times to have the hearing rescheduled. The judge refused each time, without good reason I might add. I don't see what the hearing will accomplish, it is next to nothing in importance due to the fact that I must await word from the DMV. The airline will not refund the ticket and I will have to pay for first night hotel stay. I will cost me about a thousand dollars.
1) You are on probation. You have limited rights. You had better get used to understanding your reality or the Judge can (and probably will) revoke your probation and let you serve your sentence in jail / prison instead. (Being on probation is an alternative to incarceration. It is a gift of sorts, albeit it is given by an Indian giver who can take it back at any time (the alternative being jail). It behooves you to remember that at all times while serving your probationary period. It may help to think of your time on probation as walking on a tightrope. Stray just a little to either side, lose your concentration or balance even for a moment and you fall. However, instead of landing on the ground you land in jail or prison.)
2) The Judge doesn;t need a reason, much less "a good one" to refuse your request. You serve at the Judge's pleasure, not s/he at yours. (Again, being on probation is an alternative to incarceration. It is a gift of sorts, albeit it is given by an Indian giver who can take it back at any time (the alternative being jail). It behooves you to remember that at all times while serving your probationary period. It may help to think of your time on probation as walking on a tightrope. Stray just a little to either side, lose your concentration or balance even for a moment and you fall. However, instead of landing on the ground you land in jail or prison. )
3) Your thousand dollars means nothing to anyone but you, and it should pale in comparison to your liberty (which, in my opinion, and based upon your words in your proffer, is in serous jeopardy as you apparently do not have a clue what being on probation means...).
4) I will not retype that which I have now typed 2x but I will strongly suggest that you look at my AVVO Legal Guide on surviving probation / CC in Florida as it contains a great deal of information on the subject and may prove to be helpful to you. For your convenience a link follows:
Michael A. Haber, Esq.'s AVVO Legal Guide on Probation in Florida: What it is and how to survive it? http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/probation-in-florida--what-it-is-and-how-to-survive-it
5) My advise:
A) Hire a lawyer to represent you at your PVH. Do not go this alone. Naturally you are free to reject my sage advise and do what you want but I urge you not to represent yourself. There is a solid reason for Abe Lincoln's age old quote that "he who represents himself has a fool for a client". Please do not be that fool. My advise is firm: Hire a lawyer.
B) Wake up, smarten up and get with the program. You are on probation. This is not a vacation. Your next stop is jail / prison.
6) As to suing the court or the judge, personally, or both for lost travel expenses... Last I checked this was still America, and in America you can sue pretty much anyone for pretty much anything. Whether or not a) you can find a lawyer to sign her / his name to the paperwork, b) your lawsuit survives a motion for summary judgment / to dismiss, c) you get a favorable judgment, d) your defendant is collectable or e) you ever see a dime is both beyond my ability to predict and is anyone's guess. That said, suing either a law enforcement officer, agency or municipality is both a civil rights question and almost always an uphill battle. You need to have a viable claim, provable damages and, most importantly, a lawyer who is willing to sign her / his name to your paper containing your factual proffer. Still, this is not a criminal defense question; It is a civil rights question, and, if you want to increase your odds at getting a competent answer then you should repost this part of your question and list "civil rights" and not "criminal defense" as a practice area.
I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)
No and depending on who the judge is you may be able to hire a lawyer to waive your appearance or properly continue the hearing for after your trip.
Sounds like you should have hired an attorney. An attorney probably could have gotten the VOP dismissed since inability beyond your control is a defense.
Hire a lawyer and ask him/her to request a continuance from the Judge, not the Clerk. Attorney scheduling conflicts are afforded more courtesy than unrepresented probationers who may be inconvenienced by having to come to court to defend VOP allegations. If you have found this response helpful, please let AVVO know.
This response is a general answer to a question posed by an unidentified person and is therefore not case-specific. It is not intended to and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the answerer and anyone viewing the response.
No, you cannot sue the court or the judge personally. The judge has absolute immunity from suits like this.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.
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