Anyone on probation in Massachusetts knows just tenuous your situation can be. Any new arrest is grounds for being surrendered. A failure to comply with the conditions of probation will result in a surrender notice being issued. While the large majority of probation officers are hard working and hones there are a few who are not. These people are dangerous. You have to be mindful of the vindictive dishonest probation officer who thinks his job is to put people in jail rather than monitor their probation or help them overcome the problem that landed them in criminal court.
Defending someone at a probation surrender hearing can be tough for the criminal defense attorney. The standard of proof necessary to find a violation of probation is low and many judges are quick to incarcerate the probationer. This article discusses some of the things you can do to protect yourself from the dishonest probation officer.
Keep Good Records
Simple as it might sound, keeping good records is the best way to keep a lying probation officer at bay. Recently I represented a man in Lawrence District Court on a violation of probation. The man has been fighting a severe drug addiction for years. He runs a successful business and the hours he keeps prevented him from attending support group meetings that had worked for him for over a year. He provided a dirty urine sample and a surrender notice issued. He hired my office to represent him at that proceeding. He got himself into treatment and stopped using drugs before the preliminary hearing. At the request of the probation officer his wife faxed proof that he was in this program. At the preliminary hearing the probation officer lied to the judge stating that the man never entered the program and that he never received the fax. The probation officer asked that the defendant be held in custody pending a final hearing. Fortunately the wife took our advice and produced the fax with the receipt page showing delivery. The judge did not hold the defendant in custody.
Disclose Proof of The Probation Officer’s Pattern of Vindictiveness and Dishonesty
Chances are pretty good that if a probation office is lying about you and your performance during probation he has lied about others as well. Keep in mind that probation officers spend a significant portion of their careers in one court. Some spend their entire career in one court. The judges know which officers are professionals and those who are not. Unprofessional probation officers can be vindictive and dishonest. They might issue surrender notices without cause. They might make demands on the probationer that exceed the conditions set by the judge. In other words, they might set you up for failure. Through your lawyer you might want to show the judge the pattern of abuse followed by this probation officer.
Lets use the case if referred to above in Lawrence. After the initial hearing the judge scheduled a final surrender hearing for a date two months out. The probation officer disregarded this and a week and a half later issued a warrant for the probationer stating that he was in default from his final surrender hearing date. The judge was alerted to the previous hearing and the date scheduled. The clerk’s papers confirmed that the probation officer was wrong. This in and of itself demonstrates who this probation office is and what he is all about. Recognizing this, the judge vacated the warrant and continued the case to the date originally set.
Hire an Experienced Massachusetts Probation Violation Defense Attorney
Attorney Stephen Neyman has been in the criminal law business for nearly three decades. Call our office now at 617-263-6800 or send us an email. Let us help you.