[Update: Since I seem to be getting a fair number of hits to this page, I think it’s important to point out that this decision is almost 5 years old and was subsequently appealed to the State Supreme Court by the prosecution. The State Supreme Court not only dismissed the state’s appeal as moot, but also then vacated the decision of the Appellate Court, in effect, leaving it without any legal value. The issue itself seems to be undecided in Connecticut and ripe for relitigation.]
Last week, the Appellate Court overturned the trial court’s order modifying the conditions of probation in State v. Boyle [pdf]. Mr. Boyle was convicted of DUI and sentenced to 6 months, executions suspended after 30 days and 18 months probation. While on probation, his probation officer moved the trial court to modify the conditions of his probation. Via the modification, the officer wanted to add sex offender treatment and evaluation as a condition of probation.
Specifically, the probation officer assigned to the case requested that the defendant be required to review, sign and abide by all sexual offender conditions of probation to include sexual offender evaluation and any recommended treatment, polygraph examinations and Abel screens, which are specialized tests to determine a person’s sexual interest in children, as deemed necessary by the office of adult probation.
The request was based on the probation officer’s discovery that the defendant had a 1997 conviction of sexual assault in the fourth degree stemming from an incident that occurred in 1995, that the defendant was listed on the state’s sex offender registry and that a parole board evaluation conducted in 2001 rated the defendant’s recidivism-sexual offense relapse risk as high and his dangerousness-severity of risk as severe.
During the hearing on the Motion, there was no reference to any act of the defendant leading to the DUI or any subsequent act.
The probation officer testified, however, that because the use of alcohol was a factor in the defendant’s past crimes, he believed it was necessary to make the recommendation in case the defendant started drinking again.
In response to the court’s inquiry as to how the condition of sexual offender evaluation was reasonably related to the defendant’s current rehabilitation, the probation officer stated that he did not believe that it was ‘‘so much related to his rehabilitation as much as it [was] to his supervision and the safety to the community as a probation department.”
The Court granted the Motion and the defendant appealed. On appeal, the Appellate Court held that
‘‘[I]n determining whether a condition of probation [is proper] a reviewing court should evaluate the condition imposed under our Adult Probation Act in the following context:
The conditions must be reasonably related to the purposes of the [Probation] Act. Consideration of three factors is required to determine whether a reasonable relationship exists: (1) the purposes sought to be served by probation; (2) the extent to which constitutional rights enjoyed by law-abiding citizens should be accorded to probationers; and (3) the legitimate needs of law enforcement.”
The Court concluded:
Because the defendant’s sexual conduct was not a common thread in the defendant’s criminal history and was wholly unrelated to the defendant’s present conviction, however, there is no logical nexus between the added condition of probation and the underlying offense of which he was convicted.
Obviously, since this was a criminal case which was decided in favor of the defendant, there was a dissent [pdf].