Violation of Probation Dismissed
The Defendant was arrested and accused of violating his probation, for the second time, by leaving his court-ordered monitoring device at home while he went to work. The Defendant scored more than eight years in prison. The State Attorney’s Office offered him six years in prison.
The Defendant’s MLG attorney filed a bond motion, challenging the probable cause for the Violation of Probation, and was able to secure a bond for the Defendant.
Meanwhile, the Defendant’s attorney and MLG’s private investigator worked to locate and interview witnesses helpful to the defense. MLG staff worked to subpoena these favorable witnesses and assure their appearance at the Defendant’s final VOP hearing.
The Defendant’s attorney also presented the Court and the State with Correa v. State, 43 So. 3d 738 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010), which both outlines the myriad problems with probation/court issued GPS monitors and stands for the proposition that, “When seeking to revoke a defendant’s [probation], the State must prove by the greater weight of the evidence that a willful and substantial violation occurred…” In the Correa case, the Court found that a single, apparently accidental incident of being away from the Defendant’s GPS monitor was not a willful and substantial violation.
The Court in Correa also explained that:
The purpose of the electronic monitoring of probationers, community controlees, and parolees is not punitive. Instead, the electronic monitoring of these persons serves two more positive goals. First, electronic monitoring enables a limited number of supervising officers to supervise persons subject to home curfew or similar restrictions more easily, more efficiently, and at a lower cost. Second, electronic monitoring helps the subject to conform his or her conduct to society’s requirements by discouraging behaviors that are likely to lead to new law violations or other violations of supervision… [W]here, as in Mr. Correa’s case, the apparent noncompliance with the rules results from equipment problems or the subject’s unintentional failure to operate the equipment properly, the noncompliance with the rules does not rise to the level of a willful and substantial violation of probation or community control.
The day of the final VOP hearing, the State Attorney’s office dismissed the Violation of Probation, and the Defendant was released from jail and continued on probation.