More fun with Dallas Criminal Justice. A probation officer is accused of lying about drug test results to get a probationer thrown in jail. The defendant spent several days in jail even though there was no verification of the drug test results, only the officer’s assertion.
The PO’s response- “This is crap.”
Actually, it is urine. Feces is not used for drug testing.
The same office is accused of “inappropriate contact” with a female probationer. The PO has since resigned.
Probation officers have a tough job. I have known a lot of them and they work hard with difficult subjects. One of the reason their job is so tough is that we have too many probationers. Texas passed tough drug laws but the jails are too full to enforce them so we encourage or require (POCS cases) probation.
Probationer officers have to collect hundreds of gallons of urine from these probationers to make sure they stay off drugs. We have a myriad of rules and conditions probationer officers must enforce (fines, fees, community service, no booze, no gambling, no leaving the county without permission etc). The job of a PO is not easy.
Just like small class sizes are important to schools, the more probationers we create the harder it is to manage.
Most probation revocation hearings involve the probation officer’s word versus the defendant. Guess how that turns out?
As a prosecutor, I always believed my probation officers. I never had a reason not to. If one of them had lied I would not have known. I was handed an affidavit from the PO listing the defendants infractions and I would file a Motion to Revoke.
I enjoyed putting defendants I did not like on probation knowing they would not make it. If a criminal case has issues, you can offer the defendant probation and get the jail time you want later. Probation in Texas is tough and many defendants can not make it.
Probation violaters almost always plead true”and take a deal. Probation revocation hearings are unlike a criminal trial. The State only has to be prove an allegation by apreponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Probationers do not have many of the rights criminal defendants enjoy.
The sheer number of defendants makes probation neccessary. That same volume of defendants also make corruption more possible. Lower standards of proof and less legal protections for probationers leave the system vulnerable