Silas v. State

In Silas v. State[1] the Alaska Court of Appeals held that an individual’s revocation of probation requires a finding of good cause. Roy Silas was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and served a term of active imprisonment followed by 10 years of probation with a 5-year suspended term of imprisonment. A condition of his probation was that he participate in a sex offender treatment program as directed by his probation officer, and that he not discontinue the program without approval from his probation officer. Silas participated in a program for more than a year, until he was arrested for the theft of a computer. Following his release, he attempted to reenter the program, but was terminated by the director for possessing pornographic videos, for failure to abide by a curfew, and for unwillingness to fully engage in treatment. At his subsequent revocation hearing, Silas contended that he did not “discontinue” his treatment, but rather that he was terminated against his will and therefore did not violate the terms of his probation. The superior court judge indicated that the reasons for Silas’s termination were irrelevant, and that his termination alone was sufficient to show good cause for revocation. The appellate court reversed and remanded, saying Pulusila v. State and Trumbly v. State  require “good cause” for revocation of probation, meaning the revoking court must find “the corrective aims of probation cannot be achieved,” and that “continuation of probationary status would be at odds with the need to protect society and society’s interest in the probationer’s rehabilitation.” Although the court stipulated that involuntary termination could in some instances lead to a finding of good cause for revocation, the lack of fact-finding in this case provided an insufficient record to resolve that question. The appellate court held that the superior court should have determined whether the circumstances of Silas’s termination from the program indicated that the probationary aims could not be met, or that the continuation of probation would be contrary to protection of society and to Silas’s rehabilitation.

 

[1] 425 P.3d 197 (Alaska Ct. App. 2018).

Silas v. State

In Silas v. State[1] the Alaska Court of Appeals held that an individual’s revocation of probation requires a finding of good cause. Roy Silas was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and served a term of active imprisonment followed by 10 years of probation with a 5-year suspended term of imprisonment. A condition of his probation was that he participate in a sex offender treatment program as directed by his probation officer, and that he not discontinue the program without approval from his probation officer. Silas participated in a program for more than a year, until he was arrested for the theft of a computer. Following his release, he attempted to reenter the program, but was terminated by the director for possessing pornographic videos, for failure to abide by a curfew, and for unwillingness to fully engage in treatment. At his subsequent revocation hearing, Silas contended that he did not “discontinue” his treatment, but rather that he was terminated against his will and therefore did not violate the terms of his probation. The superior court judge indicated that the reasons for Silas’s termination were irrelevant, and that his termination alone was sufficient to show good cause for revocation. The appellate court reversed and remanded, saying Pulusila v. State and Trumbly v. State  require “good cause” for revocation of probation, meaning the revoking court must find “the corrective aims of probation cannot be achieved,” and that “continuation of probationary status would be at odds with the need to protect society and society’s interest in the probationer’s rehabilitation.” Although the court stipulated that involuntary termination could in some instances lead to a finding of good cause for revocation, the lack of fact-finding in this case provided an insufficient record to resolve that question. The appellate court held that the superior court should have determined whether the circumstances of Silas’s termination from the program indicated that the probationary aims could not be met, or that the continuation of probation would be contrary to protection of society and to Silas’s rehabilitation.

 

[1] 425 P.3d 197 (Alaska Ct. App. 2018).