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Supreme Court Affirms Finding of Violation of Probation

In State v. James Anderson, 2016 VT 40 (April 22, 2016), the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s finding that defendant violated his probation by failing to complete sex offender programming to the satisfaction of his probation officer during the unsuspended part of his sentence.

Issue: Part of Defendant’s sentence was a requirement to attend the Vermont Treatment Program for Sexual Abusers. In June 2014, he was suspended from the program for 90 days. To be readmitted to the program, he would have to answer five standard questions and send them to his caseworker no later than a week before the end of the suspension period. He did not answer the questions.

Holding: The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision, finding that while there may have been insufficient time to complete the treatment program because of the 90 day suspension period, defendant still could have answered the five questions and sent them to his probation officer. The Court also noted that, because the treatment program had to be completed to the satisfaction of defendant’s probation officer, it might have been possible to achieve during the unsuspended portion of defendant’s sentence.