Probation Revoked in Russell County, Alabama

Because of the significance of the interests at stake for criminal defendants, it is important that they be able to protect these interests throughout the litigation. This can become difficult for a criminal defendant tasked with navigating procedural requirements that can have significant repercussions.  In the case of King v. State, the Alabama Supreme Court a recent case from Russell County, deals with an appeal of a probation revocation that ultimately fails because of a procedural defect.

Billy King plead guilty in 2016 to violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. King was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment, which was split so that King served 18 months imprisonment followed by 13 years and 6 months supervised probation. In March 2018, King’s probation officer filed a delinquency report, the probation officer stated King violated his probation because he failed to report to his probation officer in Alabama.

The trial court held a probation revocation hearing in May 2018.  At the hearing, King’s probation officer testified that, at the time King entered into the guilty plea, King was being supervised in Alabama for a crime committed in Minnesota. After his 18-month imprisonment, King was transferred to Minnesota to serve for a probation violation. The officer stated that King’s plea agreement required him to report back to Alabama after being released from prison in Minnesota.

The trial court entered an Order revoking King’s probation for absconding. King filed a postjudgment motion claiming that the court abused its discretion because the evidence was insufficient to support the court’s decision. The circuit court denied the motion. King appealed the circuit court’s decision, arguing that the court erred in revoking his probation because he never got a copy or was required to sign a written court order laying out the terms of his probation.

In order to raise an issue during an appeal, the issue usually must be raised for consideration by the trial court first in order to preserve the issue for appeal. Though preservation is generally required, an issue may be raised for the first time on appeal for certain claims or under certain circumstances. In the context of probation revocation proceedings, Alabama allows an individual to seek an adequate revocation order, to have a revocation hearing actually be held, to require the trial court to advise the defendant of their right to counsel, and to allege the circuit court erred by failing to appoint counsel for the defendant for the first time on appeal. Because King’s claim that he never was given a copy or required to sign the order laying out the terms of his probation does not fall under any of these, the Court found that King failed to preserve this issue for appeal. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court.

It is important to have a criminal lawyer on your side.  If you are involved in a criminal case or considering an appeal, please call Ingram Law at 205-335-2640.