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Articles Posted in Probation

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In a recent case, the Florida Second District Court of Appeals considered Florida’s rule that a change of address during a parole period can constitute a violation of parole. In Mullins v. State, the defendant was convicted of parole violations on two separate grounds. First, the court concluded that the defendant failed to obtain his probation officer’s consent prior to changing his place of residence. Second, the court concluded that the defendant provided his probation officer with false information about the place where he actually lived. Both violations stemmed from the same event:  the defendant’s relocation.

The probation officer found out that the defendant had changed his address during a routine surprise home visit. When the probation officer showed up at the address listed for the defendant, the defendant was not at home. Although this is not a violation of parole, the owner of the home informed the parole officer that the defendant had moved out. 

During the parole violation hearing, the probation officer testified to the exchange she had with the home owner, which the court failed to exclude on the basis of hearsay testimony. Hearsay is a statement made out of court that is offered for the truth of the matter asserted. In this instance, the parole officer’s conversation with the home owner was hearsay because it was offered to prove that the defendant no longer lived at the address–information about which the parole officer had no independent, personal knowledge.

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What is probation, and what happens if it is violated?

Florida code chapter 948 deals with Probation and defines it as:

(1)   “Administrative probation” means a form of noncontact supervision in which an offender who presents a low risk of harm to the community may, upon satisfactory completion of half the term of probation, be transferred by the Department of Corrections to non-reporting status until expiration of the term of supervision.

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