Daisey Kates Hearing & Probation Violations
The basic objective of probation is to provide a vehicle for the rehabilitation without incarceration. While on probation an individual is subject to drug testing, regular appointments with their probation officer, status hearings before the sentencing judge who ordered the probation and any other
OverviewA judge has a great deal of discretion during a probation violation hearing and so it is very important for a defense attorney to make a persuasive argument if a client is faced with a possible revocation of his or her probation. In most situations one faces probation revocation due to an arrest, positive drug test, or a failure to comply with Court orders such as making restitution for property damage. Arrests and/or positive drug tests are considered direct violations because they involve the commission of crimes during probation which is obviously not permitted. While an arrest for an alleged criminal offense is not a conviction, Pennsylvania, similar to many states and the Federal Courts, permits a prosecutor to make a motion to the Court for the revocation of an individual's probation based on the arrest alone.
Daisey KatesIn Pennsylvania, the lead case which is often cited in these prosecution motions is Commonwealth v. Daisey Kates. This case is based on the proposition that there is no statutory restriction preventing a Court from proceeding with a probation revocation hearing prior to a trial on criminal charges which form the basis for the alleged probation violation. Pennsylvania, like many jurisdictions, permits these proceedings because the issues pertaining to probation revocation and the standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt) at trial are not identical. Further, courts have found that individuals subject to these types of hearings are not deprived of their Due Process rights under the United States Constitution.
ConclusionThis legal procedure is obviously very difficult for many clients as well as defense attorneys. It's important, however, that if you are faced with a violation of probation that you and your attorney discuss possible strategies to avoid revocation based on the arrest alone. Your attorney's argument must address not only the underlying violation but distinguish the prosecution's constitutional argument so that a judge can assess whether a revocation is appropriate. If your attorney fails to address these issues, you face serious consequences and most likely jail.