Issues presented (from the PfR):
Does the expungement statute’s requirement that a probationer have “satisfied the conditions of probation” also mean that the probationer must perfectly comply at all times with each and every rule of probation set by the probation agent?
When a circuit court chooses to hold a hearing and exercise discretion to determine whether a probationer who violated a rule set by his agent has nevertheless “satisfied the conditions of probation” so as to qualify for expungement, should the appellate court review the circuit court’s decision for an erroneous exercise of discretion?
When a circuit court makes factual findings concerning whether a probationer violated a condition of probation rendering him ineligible for expungement, must the appellate court uphold the finding in the absence of clear error?
This is a review of a published court of appeals opinion that, we wrote, leaves the final expunction decision “more or less at the whim of the probation agent and the judge.” State v. Ozuna has already held that violations of court-imposed probation rules render expunction unavailable. This case asks, in part, whether violations of DOC-imposed rules (whether standard or agent-created) have the same effect. As the petition puts it, under the court of appeals’ decision, a person who misses an appointment because his or her car broke down must be denied the benefit of a fresh start after completing probation. Let’s hope the supreme court will see reason.