Second Probation Violation Hearing After First Hearing Ended
When the new case is a felony, judges often propose that the probation violation hearing and the new case’s preliminary hearing be held at the same time.
In Myesha Quarterman’s case, she was placed on felony probation in 2008 for various theft-related offenses (identity theft (Penal Code § 530.5), receiving stolen property (Penal Code § 496(a)) and four counts of commercial burglary (Penal Code § 459)). She was then arrested in 2010 for pawning a camera and camera accessories, allegedly with knowledge that the items were stolen. She was charged with receiving stolen property (a felony) and violating her probation.About This Article Briefly: Collateral estoppel and due process principals dictate that a judge may not hold a second probation violation hearing after the first one ends if the violation is based on the same set of facts.
At a joint preliminary hearing on the new charges and a probation violation hearing, a Solano County judge held Quarterman to answer on the new charges, but declined to sustain the probation violation. At the hearing, only a police officer testified and the court found that for probation violation purposes, the People failed to present evidence that the property Quarterman tried to pawn was stolen.
The prosecutor then re-alleged a probation violation and successfully asked for a different judge to hear the case. Quarterman’s attorney strenuously argued that collateral estoppel barred the second probation violation case, but the new judge allowed the case to proceed. This second time, the district attorney had the camera owner and the pawn shop owner testify and the probation violation was sustained.
The First Appellate District (in People v. Myesha Marie Quarterman (2012 DJDAR 987) agreed with Quarterman. The First Appellate District court noted that collateral estoppel is one of two parts of res judicata (Latin for “already decided”) wherein due process prevents an issue necessarily decided and conclusively decided from being relitigated in a subsequent proceeding. The Court also commented that collateral estoppel applies in criminal proceedings independent of double jeopardy principles (collateral estoppel is not the same as double jeopardy).
The Court further stated that the first hearing did conclude – i.e. the People did not request a continuance or move to dismiss the probation violation petition without prejudice to allow a later petition.
The People argued that since double jeopardy does not apply to a probation violation hearing, collateral estoppel cannot apply either. The Court disagreed with this, explaining that collateral estoppel is always an issue, as it applies to every civil and criminal proceeding.
Accordingly, the First Appellate District reversed the order revoking probation for Ms. Quarterman.
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