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You Can’t Go Home Again: Moving Back To Mom’s House Results In Probation Violation

In State v. Lucas, 2015 VT 92 (July 10, 2015), the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the Defendant violated his probation by moving back to his mother’s house without first notifying his probation officer.

Issue: The Defendant pled guilty to a misdemeanor sex offense in 2013. As part of his probation, he was required to notify his probation officer prior to any change in residence. Defendant’s mother called and left a message with the probation officer to inform him that the Defendant was moving in with her. However, the probation officer did not approve the move until after the Defendant had changed residences. The trial court denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint, and found him in violation of his probation. The Defendant appealed, arguing that there were conflicting instructions in his probation order, that the order was unnecessarily restrictive, and that his violation was de minimis.

Holding: The Court upheld the judgment of the trial court. The Court found that the Defendant did not successfully preserve his ability to appeal the restrictiveness or the alleged conflicting parole instructions. Further, the Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ruling the violation was not de minimis.

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