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Short Version

A judge just granted me early discharge from my probation sentence. Am I legally required to continue reporting to my probation officer (regardless of whether the officer has acknowledged my release)? I am being supervised in a different state from my conviction.

Background

I live in (United States) state A, and was convicted of a crime in another state, state B. I was sentenced in state B to probation, and my supervision was transferred via the Interstate Compact to my home state, state A.

My attorney filed a motion in state B requesting that my probation be terminated early. The judge granted our motion, thereby ending my state-mandated supervision.

My question is: As soon as the judge signed the order granting my motion, am/was I legally finished with my responsibilities as a probationer? For example, can I stop reporting to my probation officer in my home state? Or must I wait for some official termination procedure to wend its way from the court, through the probation office in state B, over to the probation office in my home state A, after which I will presumably be told that I may stop reporting?

What Actually Happened

I sent a copy of the judge's order to my PO, and she said that before she can let me stop reporting, she needs to hear from state B's probation department telling her that my supervision has been terminated. (Via ICOTS, which I vaguely understand is some sort of communication portal for the Interstate Compact.)

What she said makes complete sense to me and was not surprising. At the same time, though, once the judge has decreed my sentence to be over, isn't it over effective immediately? (Not that it has to necessarily be symmetric, but for what it's worth, my supervision began the very second the judge sentenced me; is it not logical to suppose that my supervision ends the very second the judge ends the sentence?)

NOTE: FWIW, I'm not suggesting that I'll completely ghost my PO, even if the law says that I can. I don't want trouble, nor would I want to be rude to her. I just want to know my rights, both for my own curiosity and also in case things go south and I need to exercise them.

2 Answers 2

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You’re both right

Legally, you no longer have an obligation to report to your probation officer.

Legally, she must report you for not reporting and request a warrant for your arrest. You will then be arrested and, when you get to court, the judge will release you.

Probably easier just to keep reporting.

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  • Thanks. (Not sure why the downvote; was not me.) This makes sense. Is this whole ICOTS thing just a matter of local (state-by-state) convention, then?
    – AlanOlson
    Jul 21, 2022 at 16:23
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Orders are not always effective immediately

Let me construct a simple case:

  • Adam appears in front of Judge Barbara because he stole the candy shipment of his brother Cain.
  • Judge Barbara convicts Adam to be confined to a corrections facility for 1 month.
  • Because Adam wasn't in jail before (it's petty crime after all) and doesn't pose a risk of running away, so Adam is let go home to bring his affairs in order.
  • Judge Barbara files the paperwork in the legal system, which then is processed.
  • A specific time after the verdict and paperwork is done, the order becomes final and unappealable.
  • The corrections institution meanwhile prepares the paperwork and a cell for Adam, which can take some weeks or months.
  • Adam at some point gets a letter to appear on day X at the door of the corrections institution to sit his time. If he doesn't show up, police will come with a warrant.

Do you see what happens here? Between the conviction and the actual start of the sentence time passes. Depending on the jurisdiction, most orders need quite some time to process such orders. Usually, a verdict takes between two weeks and a month to become final. This time is for the other party to appeal the decision - and until that timeframe has lapsed, the order is not final and effective.

In the case of an order shortening a sentence or overturning a conviction, it can still take a couple of days to have all the paperwork processed that is needed to properly release a person. Until the order is fully processed, the PO or corrections facility needs to follow the previous standing order.

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  • (FYI I didn't downvote you, not sure why someone did.) Thanks. Just to clarify, in my case it has been 9 weeks, not a couple of days. Also, if your point is that my motion might not take effect immediately when the judge signed it, then when would it take effect? Also, my understanding was that convicts are usually taken into custody immediately upon sentencing; is that not generally true?
    – AlanOlson
    Jul 21, 2022 at 16:22
  • @AlanOlson that is not generally true. It depends on the case and if they had been in custody before. In most petty cases they are ordered to appear for custody at a later date.
    – Trish
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:53

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