FLORIDA RESIDENT WITH MASSACHUSETTS PROBATION VIOLATION

In 1992, JB pled guilty to possession of cocaine and heroin in the Lowell District Court. He was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction, but the Judge suspended the jail sentence for one year. This meant that JB would never see the inside of a jail cell so long as he complied with the terms of his probation for one year. During his third month of probation, however, JB left snowy Massachusetts and moved to sunny Florida without getting the approval of his probation officer or the Judge. The Probation Department at Lowell District Court issued a Notice of Surrender for Alleged Violation of Probation and the Court issued an arrest warrant in 1993 for JB. JB never returned, instead establishing himself and a career in Florida. After 17 years living in Florida, however, the law caught up to JB. While attempting to renew his driver’s license, the State of Florida informed him that he had an outstanding warrant in Massachusetts and that Florida would not renew his driver’s license until the warrant was cleared. JB needed his license to work but was scared that the Judge would send him to jail for one year if he returned to Massachusetts. JB called attorney Joshua Lewin and explained the situation. After discussing the case, JB retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin promptly went to the Lowell District Court and was able to get the warrant recalled without JB having to be present in Court. As a result, JB was able to renew his license in Florida and he was not without a license for a single day. But that was only half the battle, as JB was still facing a one year jail sentence in Massachusetts. Attorney Lewin spoke to the probation department and court prosecutors about the case. On a snowy April morning, JB returned from Florida to Lowell and appeared in front of the Judge with Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin persuaded the Judge that it was not in the interests of Justice to send JB to jail. In fact, Attorney Lewin’s argument was so persuasive that the Judge terminated JB’s case entirely and set him free without any punishment. When he came to Massachusetts, JB was facing a one year jail sentence. The only punishment he got was having to deal with a freak New England spring snow storm. That was punishment he was willing to accept. Oftentimes we are able to get the Judges to terminated probation in these old cases without the client having to return to Massachusetts; every now and then, however, we get a judge who insists that the client return to Massachusetts. This was the case here; but when the client did appear the Judge terminated the probation and discharged the client from any further responsibility in the case.