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Crouse v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 15, 2017

DONALD ALAN CROUSE, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).

         Appeal from the District Court of Uinta County The Honorable Joseph B. Bluemel, Judge

          Representing Appellant Office of the State Public Defender: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel.

          Representing Appellee Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; James M. Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, CHIEF JUSTICE

         [¶1] Appellant, Donald Crouse, challenges an order of the district court revoking his probation and reinstating the original prison sentence. He claims the State failed to prove that the alleged violation was willful. He further claims that the district court, in reaching its decision, improperly relied upon allegations of other probation violations that were not charged or proven. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Appellant presents two issues, which we reword for clarification:

1. Did the district court abuse its discretion in revoking Appellant's probation and reinstating the original prison sentence?
2. Did the district court err by relying on improper information to reach its decision?

         FACTS

         [¶3] Pursuant to a plea agreement, Appellant entered a no contest plea to one count of kidnapping.[1] He was sentenced to three to six years of imprisonment, but that was suspended in favor of three years of probation. As a condition of his probation, Appellant was required to "submit himself to a full psychiatric evaluation with continued monitoring for an[y] prescribed medications as recommended in the [pre-sentence investigation report] . . . [and] take medications as prescribed." Another condition prohibited Appellant from having any contact with the kidnapping victim, his brother, or his parents, who lived in the same neighborhood as Appellant. Appellant was also ordered to "abide by other conditions set forth by his supervising Probation Agent." Appellant was released on probation on May 12, 2016.

         [¶4] As detailed below, on more than one occasion, Appellant's probation officer discussed with Appellant the probation condition of completing a psychiatric evaluation. Appellant made an appointment at a mental health clinic, and went to the clinic on the scheduled date. However, he left the clinic without completing the evaluation or making another appointment. On July 1, 2016, the State filed a petition to revoke his probation, asserting that Appellant had violated a probation condition by failing to obtain the required psychiatric evaluation. At the initial hearing on the revocation petition, Appellant was advised of his rights, and informed of the allegations contained in the petition. Appellant denied the allegations. The district court then addressed the issue of bond.

         [¶5] The prosecutor recommended a relatively high bond. In making that recommendation, the prosecutor noted that Appellant lived "three doors" away from the victim's home and, on the day before being arrested for the alleged probation violation, had been observed "on the [victim's] property, looking into a trailer that was attached to a truck, looking around the truck, and standing and looking at the [victim's] home." The prosecutor specified that the State was not alleging those actions were a probation violation, because Appellant had not actually contacted the victim or his family. However, based on Appellant's alleged failure to obtain a psychiatric evaluation as ordered, and on his "proximity to the victim, " the State recommended a $60, 000 bond. Defense counsel urged the court to release Appellant on his own recognizance. He acknowledged that Appellant was "not terribly diligent" about completing his psychiatric evaluation, but claimed that there was no "knowing, intentional violation of probation." The district court ...


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