By Jeffrey M. Messina
There are generally certain probation requirements placed on a defendant who enters into a deferred sentence. For those not "in-the-know," a deferred sentence is one where a defendant pleads guilty, then jumps through a series of court-imposed hoops for a predesignated amount of time, and upon successful completion of said hoop-jumping, has the charge(s) dismissed from his or her record. Some requirements are specific to the particular defendant while others are more or less universal. This case is an appeal from a trial court ruling finding that defendant violated two conditions of his probation, which resulted in the revocation of his deferred sentence.
The defendant in this case was charged with sending inappropriate pictures to the wrong audience. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor, accepting a deferred sentence for two years, with specific probation requirements relevant to this appeal, that: (1) required him to notify his probation officer within two days of a change of address; and, (2) that he could not change his address without the prior permission of his probation officer.
The State filed a probation violation against defendant based on these facts: defendant’s mother and probation officer (PO) played a bit of phone tag, but the initial call from mom was meant to tell the PO that her son had moved in with her. The PO subsequently investigated and approved the residence. After hearing, the trial court determined that that defendant moved to his mother’s home before PO approved the new residence. On such basis, the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss, struck the deferred sentence and imposed a zero-to-one-year suspended sentence.