Thursday, April 5, 2012

KY SC March 22 - Goldsmith - Probation Revocation

William Dustin Goldsmith v. Com.,

2012 WL 975717 (Ky. 2012) March 22, 2012.  Probation revocation. 

Goldsmith pled guilty to three Class D felonies in both Carlisle and Hickman Counties accepting a 15-year sentence in each county and was sentenced to probation. After he violated probation, the trial court ran the two counties' sentences consecutive for a total of 30 years. Since the final judgments were silent as to whether the two counties' sentences were to run consecutively, and the trial court lost jurisdiction 10 days after entry of final judgment under CR 59, the trial court committed plain error because it “exercise[ed] discretion it did not have.”  

The trial court decided to run the sentences consecutively when Goldsmith criticized a religious drug treatment program he had been sent to as a requirement of probation, was “exceedingly disrespectful to the court” when he cursed several times, and the court could not perceive another remedy for Goldsmith’s behavior.  But while “the trial judge has broad discretion and alternative means in handling outbursts in the courtroom…imposing an illegal sentence is not one of them.” Because Goldsmith’s sentence had been fixed and his probation revoked, contempt proceedings were the option.  Case remanded with instructions to run the two 15-year sentences concurrent for a total of 15 years.

Contributed by Susan Balliet