Unsatisfactory Discharge

State v. Nolen, 2012 VT 106.

Today’s case is a brief but interesting foray into the world of probation. 

Defendant was convicted of the misdemeanor charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle.  He received a 9-to-10-day sentence, but all of it was suspended, and he was put on probation for several years.

One year later, the Department of Corrections sought to have Defendant unsatisfactorily discharged from probation because he was not cooperating with the Department and the terms of his probation.  He failed to complete his treatment and mental health programs and would not avoid the victim of his crime (both conditions of his probation).  Defendant further was uncooperative in setting up probation appointments and had a host of medical ailments that kept him from attending most of the meetings (paragraph 2 of the decisions lists these numerous, serious conditions).

Unsatisfactory discharge from probation means that the probationer is dismissed from probation but has not met the terms or objectives of the probation.  The determination carries negative consequences, including becoming a factor in future sentencing and probation schemes.  It is bad credit, and it will follow you.

Defendant disputed the Department’s motion and sought a hearing on the matter.  The State’s Attorney also disputed the Department’s request and argued that if Defendant was in violation of probation, then he should be found as such and should not be rewarded with the termination of probation for bad behavior.

In the parties motions were a number of disputed facts.  The trial court scheduled a hearing, and Defendant asked to appear by phone because his chemotherapy left him weak and with a depleted immune system.  The trial court denied the motion, canceled the hearing, and ordered Defendant unsatisfactorily discharged from probation.

On appeal Defendant argues that this decision was in error because he was entitled to a hearing to dispute the Department’s facts and to defend himself.  The State’s Attorney does not appeal, but it argues, ironically, the same thing. 

The SCOV agrees.  When a motion involves such an important classification, disputed facts, and a request for a hearing, it is an abuse of discretion to deny the Defendant an opportunity to submit and cross-examine evidence at a hearing. 

And that is it.  The SCOV reverses and remands to the trial court for a hearing on the arguments and contested facts.  It also suggests that the trial court revisit the question of whether it can even issue such an unsatisfactory discharge under 28 V.S.A. § 251 since that statute allows for a discharge but does not explicitly empower the court to make a ruling of an unsatisfactory discharge. 

Given the contested nature of this and the underlying factual basis, the hearing is likely to be heated, and another appeal is not unforeseeable.  

Of course, this also depends on whether Defendant survives his various conditions to take the case forward.  


  1. It strikes me as odd that they would give something called an "unsatisfactory discharge."

    Isn't an unsatisfactory discharge just a violation, revocation, and requirement that he serve the underlying suspended sentence?

  2. Can you explain more in detail about unsatisfactory discharge? It's confusing to me and want to make sure Im understanding this right.

  3. No jail time. Just a probation failure. Aka motion for negative termination. Meaning you arent considered for probation.

  4. I was sentenced 3yrs probation,on June 2019 will be 3 yrs, my ? Is,can or will they still make me do the 3 or add more time if I've been on the run. Or will I be discharged unsuccessfully at the end of the 3 years. (Is it like being on parole)

  5. I just recently became in this same situation but do not feel safe going to report because of special circumstances I don't know what to do...

    1. I was cured of HERPES with the use of natural herbs. I love herbs so much. Most times, injections and drugs are just a waste of time. I was cured 8months ago, i suffered from Herpes for 2 years but with the help of Priest Babaka herbal medicine, I was cured within a few weeks of drinking the herbs He sent to me through courier delivery service. This same Priest also cured my Aunt from INFERTILITY, as soon as I heard she Been finding it difficult to CONCEIVE, i referred her to the Priest and she was cured after drinking his herbs. I have referred more than 15 persons and they were all cured from their various illness. Have you taken herbs before?. You have spent so much money on drugs, injections, surgeries etc and yet you have no good result to show for it. Priest Babaka is a Herbalist and a Spiritualist , I assure you of a cure if you drink his natural herbs and follow his Guidance. He has herbs that cures HIV, Herpes, Diabetics, Asthma, Hepatitis, etc. Contact Priest Babaka on email: babaka.wolf@gmail.com or Facebook at priest.babaka

  6. I would strongly love to recommend the services of the best team of dark web hackers. They are professional and very discreet in carrying out their jobs, they have the best customer service agents and satisfaction at heart. If you have any services you wish to contact them for, go on contact@wizardcharlesgrouphackers.com or wizardcharlesgrouphackers@gmail.com, WhatsApp +31 6 84990027, They help track and monitor your cheating partner's phone without his idea, clear or erase criminal records as well as repair a bad credit score, all social media hacks, Recovery lost Funds from scammers / Cryptocurrency / Binary / Forex / Recovery of Stolen Bitcoin and many others. website : https://wizardcharlesgrouphackers.com/.n/


Post a Comment