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Vermont Supreme Court Clarifies the Crime of Giving False Information to Police as Well as the Appropriateness of Certain Probation Conditions

In State v. Albarelli, 2016 VT 119 (Nov. 18, 2016), the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of defendant for simple assault, disorderly conduct, and providing false information to a police officer, but struck certain probation conditions.

Issue: A fight began after two groups of men got into a disagreement around midnight at the north end of Church Street. Defendant attacked complainant’s brother, who was protecting complainant, as complainant was to going to be married the next day. When someone called the police, Defendant and others fled. They were found by local police. Defendant gave police a false name and birthdate. When confronted by police about the crime of giving false information, Defendant gave his true name and birthdate.

Holding: Defendant’s convictions for simple assault, disorderly conduct, and providing false information to a police officer were all affirmed. Defendant’s provision of false information was appropriately “with purpose to deflect an investigation,” as was necessary per a 2006 amendment to the statute; his purpose was inferable from his behavior. The court struck many of Defendant’s probation conditions, including conditions mandating he look for a job and a condition mandating random urine testing. Conditions forbidding Defendant, who admitted having an alcohol abuse problem, from buying or consuming alcohol were struck because incompatible with the state’s view that alcoholism was a health/social problem rather than a criminal transgression.

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