State v. J.P.; 562010CF00184
Arresting Agency: Department of Corrections
Case Summary: Our client was originally placed on community control for a Burglary of a Dwelling and Grand Theft charge. He was sentenced to a year of community control to be followed by three years of probation. Community control is a fancy phrase for house arrest. Our client was accused of four violations. One involved going grocery shopping at Publix outside of his scheduled time to do so. Another alleged that J.P. was not home at 10:53pm on a friday night when the community control officer came to the house and knocked on the door for upwards of 15 minutes. Finally, the officer also alleged that J.P. didn’t submit to a required random urinalysis while at the office of the Department of Corrections. The assistant state attorney assigned to the case wanted our client to serve 30 months in prison. This was the “offer” that was mad to us and repeated attempts to negotiate were unsuccessful. The defense requested an evidentiary hearing. During the course of the hearing we established through cross examination that our clients’ trip to Publix was within the confines of his scheduled time allotment. We also made it clear that J.P. never refused to take the urine test. In fact, he communicated to the officer that he was physically unable to urinate at the time and simply needed to drink some water and wait for his system to cooperate. You see, the thing about a VOP, or in this case an alleged VOCC is that it must be willful and substantial. The theme of our defense was that none of these violations was willful nor substantial. And they weren’t. We established through direct examination that our client was at home asleep the night that the officer knocked on that door and got no answer. We produced a receipt from that indicated that J.P. purchased cold medicine with a nighttime sleep aid in it on the very day that the officer showed up at our client’s house. It was a hard fought bench trial with a lot at stake, including multiple felony convictions and certain prison time.
Result: Judge Dan Vaughn found Insufficient Evidence of a willful & substantial violation of community control on all four (4) allegations. Our client was released from the county jail and was back to work the following day.
Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties