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Andrews v. Commonwealth, 2011-CA-001360, Not to be published, -
The trial court revoked Andrews probation when it found a single positive drug test made him a significant risk to the community and that he could not be managed within the community. After Andrews failed the drug test, he checked himself into a treatment center and was doing well. The trial court revoked Andrews probation.
The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that HB 463 has a particular emphasis on using treatment to rehabilitate offenders and decrease overall costs, and that a failure to comply with a condition of probation is no longer sufficient to automatically justify revocation of probation.
The Commonwealth must now prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the probationer poses a significant threat to prior victims or the community and cannot be managed in the community. Here, Andrews was doing well on probation (except for single drug test failure) and doing well in a community-based treatment program. The Court also took issue with the trial judge’s consideration of Andrew’s initial denial of his need for treatment: “Andrews should not be barred from accessing treatment now simply because he previously denied he had a substance abuse problem or needed treatment. If we were to allow revocation of probation under these circumstances, it would negate the entire statutory change to the probation revocation process and the purposes underlying House Bill 463.”
Contributed by Shannon Smith