Medina County Courthouse

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Procedure on Probation Violations

Judge James Kimbler has adopted a new procedure for certain probation violations. Under the previous system if a probationer violated the terms of his or her supervision, regardless of the reason, the probationer was served with notice of a probation violation and brought into court for a hearing. At that hearing they either admitted to the violation and were sanctioned by Judge Kimbler or the probationer denied the violation and the matter was set for a hearing. The hearing was held at a later date. At that hearing the probationer also had the right to counsel, and if he or she couldn't afford counsel, Judge Kimbler appointed an attorney to represent the probationer.

Under the new system a probationer is given the choice of waiving his or her right to a hearing and consenting to being sanctioned by the probation office supervising the probationer. If they agree to waive the hearing, the probation officer can then sanction them by using non-residential community control sanctions. Such sanctions do not include incarceration in jail, a community based correctional facility, or prison, but can include electronic monitoring at home, ie, "home arrest."

The decision to waive a hearing is entirely up to the probationer. They are given an explanation of their rights, allowed time to consider their options, and if they agree to this procedure, they sign the waiver and Judge Kimbler signs a court order adopting the sanctions authorized by the probation officer.

Judge Kimbler believes that this new approach will lead to faster imposition of sanctions for probation violations; will give the probation officer supervising the offender, who has the most knowledge of the offernder's conduct, more involvement in the process; and will save taxpayer money by cutting down on the need for court appointed attorneys.

Not all violations will be eligible for this procedure. If a probationer, for example, commits a new offense of violence while on probation, that offender will be arrested for violating probation and taken into custody.

Judge Kimbler adopted this new procedure after reading a report from the Buckeye Institute regarding Ohio's criminal justice services that was given to him by Medina County Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry. The report dealt with ways to deliver more effective criminal justice services at less cost to taxpayers.

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