Broadly speaking, Massachusetts has two types of probation: supervised and administrative.
Those on administrative probation simply need to stay out of trouble and avoid any new criminal law violations for the duration of their probation period. There is typically no need to check in with your probation officer or comply with any other conditions.
Supervised probation, on the other hand, requires more from the probationer. Often he or she must stay in contact with the probation officer assigned to the case. Additionally, the probationer may need to attend counseling, submit to random drug or alcohol screenings, pay restitution, or satisfy any other condition imposed by the court.
When a defendant is given supervised probation, an automatic travel restriction is put in place. The restriction is part of the standardized “Order of Probation Conditions” form completed by the judge.
Clause 19 of the order reads as follows: “Do not leave Massachusetts unless you get the express permission of your probation officer and sign a waiver of rendition.”
The defendant or the defendant’s lawyer should always ask the court to remove the travel restriction before signing an order for supervised probation. In most cases the judge and the prosecution will agree to the request.
By removing this one sentence, probation can get a lot easier for you, especially if you live anywhere near the state’s border.
So hypothetical situation; A Judge allowed and ordered the agreement between the parties in a specific case (we’ll just call the case, “John Doe, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v.”). The only conditions were that the case be converted from criminal to civil and that John Doe would be placed on “administrative probation” for 6 months. There were no other orders made, relating to probation or otherwise. Some time after the order was made, without any new orders being made, the probation officer assigned to his case tells John Doe, that he “has to submit a monthly report on the first of every month, for the entire 6 months of administrative probation.” Skeptical of the new conditions the officer is adding, but afraid of the possible retaliation that he might receive, he fills the report out for a couple months. After a couple months of filling John Doe understands the difference between the two types of probation, and knows that he is not required to submit anything. What are John Doe’s options at this point? What can he do to correct this? What can he do to protect all the private information that was unlawfully or wrongfully taken by the probation officer, and placed in public record. Thanks for your response in advance. -Anthony
Hi Anthony – Assuming this occurred in Massachusetts, you would likely need an attorney to review the judge’s “order of probation conditions” and possibly even the court record to determine whether the probation officer is going beyond his authority in case.
Yes, hypothetically it is in Massachusetts. As the story goes, the Judge made no other “order[s] of probation conditions”, just the words “Continued without a finding, 6 months administrative probation”. It is interesting that you mentioned that the court record would come into play. I’m not sure why the court record would be necessary since this case was resolved by agreement and then made into an ordered by the Judge. Why would the past court record change the final judgment on the case? Am I missing something?