CCA Affirms That Pending Charges May Serve As A Basis For Revocation

CCA Affirms That Pending Charges May Serve As A Basis For Revocation


In this Hamilton County case Judge Poole revoked Adams' probation after a community corrections violation. The Court of Criminal Appeals stated that the decision to revoke a community corrections sentence rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed on appeal unless there is no substantial evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that a violation occurred. State v. Harkins, 811 S.W.2d 79, 82-83 (Tenn. 1991). Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35- 311(e), the trial court is only required to find that the violation of a community corrections sentence occurred by a preponderance of the evidence. In reviewing a trial court’s findings, the CCA stated that "this court must examine the record and determine whether the trial court has exercised a conscientious judgment rather than an arbitrary one. State v. Mitchell, 810 S .W.2d 733, 735 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1991)." Once there is sufficient evidence to establish a violation of a community corrections sentence, the trial court has the authority to revoke the community corrections sentence and order the original sentence to be served in confinement. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-36-106(e)(4).

As most attorneys know, criminal conduct that is the basis of pending charges may serve as the basis for a revocation of a community corrections sentence. See, State v. Andrew B. Edwards, No. W1999- 01095-CCA-R3-CD, 2000 WL 705309, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 26, 2000), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sep. 11, 2000). This opinion points out however, that the trial court cannot rely solely on the mere fact of an arrest or an indictment.  The State must introduce evidence “in order to establish the . . . commission of another offense.” Id.

In short, this CCA opinion directs that the State must produce evidence at the revocation hearing “to establish that the defendant committed the offense with which he has been charged.” State v. Lontrell Williams, No. W2009-00275-CCA-R3-CD, 2009 WL 3518171 at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 30, 2009). Significantly the court also added, "a defendant’s right to due process is not violated when the trial court denies a continuance of the revocation proceedings until the disposition of the pending criminal charges." This is drawn from precedent in State v. Carden, 653 S.W.2d 753, 755 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1983).

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