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In Virginia, risky for probationers to refuse to admit their “crimes”

Sep 02, 2009 In Virginia, risky for probationers to refuse to admit their “crimes”

Sentencing judges often are fond of "treatment", without sufficiently considering how beneficial the treatment will be.

Too many treatment providers are overly paternalistic, bureaucratic, and barely hesitant to tell on probationers to judges. Who wants to spend years to obtain counseling degrees and licenses only to become tattle-tales to judges?

Virginia probationer James Carroll learned the hard way about the tangled web of being placed in "sex offender" treatment as a probationer in Virginia. Sentenced pursuant to an Alford plea, Carroll registered for sex offender treatment, as required by his sentence, through the Center for Clinical and Forensic Services, Inc. Cynthia Urick of CCFS subsequently wrote Mr. Carroll’s probation officer that Carroll was being discharged from the program after refusing to accept responsibility for his "crime" to which he did not even admit in court, seeing that he had entered an Alford plea.

Amazingly, a 2-1 Virginia Court of Appeals panel found that Carroll’s "failure" to admit responsibility — even in spite of the Alford plea — was sufficient to violate his probation, and did so.

I hope that the en banc Court of Appeals, or else the Virginia Supreme Court, will reverse Carroll’s probation violation.

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