When a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a crime, they will proceed to a sentencing hearing to determine what punishment will be appropriate for the crime. At times, a judge may grant a defendant a term of probation in lieu of jail time. Probation and parole are alternatives to jail or prison that are offered to defendants, as long as they adhere to the terms of the arrangement. In Philadelphia, a probationer or parolee will be assigned an appropriate probation officer by the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
Philadelphia Violation of Probation/Parole
Probation comes with a number of conditions, the most common of which include obligations such as regular drug testing, maintaining a consistent address, regular check-ins with a probation officer, and required attendance and participation in any assigned rehabilitation programs. If a person fails to adhere to these terms, they may be accused of violating their probation. The court will then go through a brief process consisting of two hearings to ultimately determine whether or not a person has violated their probation or parole.
Philadelphia Gagnon I (Detainer) Hearings
The first hearing is known as a "Gagnon I" hearing, or sometimes, a "detainer" hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether or not a probation officer has "probable cause" to hold a person responsible for violating their probation and to also determine whether or not a person should remain in custody of the State. The probation officer will be required to produce enough evidence to show that there was "probable cause" to pursue actions against a person for violations of parole. Defendants may present their own evidence in support of themselves at this hearing. The Gagnon I hearing in Philadelphia will take place before a "Trial Commissioner" who has similar authority to a judge. Although a Trial Commissioner in many instances can decide whether a detainer will "remain in place" or will be "lifted" to allow a defendant's release pending the second hearing, it must be understood that some Philadelphia judges do not allow a Trial Commissioner to lift a detainer without the applicable judge's approval being obtained in advance of the Gagnon I hearing itself.
The Gagnon I detainer hearing will take place at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, which is commonly known as "CFCF."
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility is located at 7901 State Road, Philadelphia, PA 19136.
Philadelphia Gagnon II (Violation of Probation/Parole) Hearings
The second hearing in the process is formally referred to as a Gagnon II hearing, but it may also be called a "violation of probation/parole" hearing. This hearing is meant to determine through use of facts, evidence, and argument, whether or not the terms of a person's probation were violated. Because the defendant has already been convicted of a crime, this hearing will use a much lower standard of evidence than those in standard criminal proceedings. This standard is "a preponderance of evidence" as opposed to "beyond a reasonable doubt." Consequences of being found in violation of the terms of probation can cause a person to be placed into incarceration, or to have to start their probationary period from the beginning.
The Gagnon II violation of probation hearing will take place at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas - Criminal Division, which is housed in the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice; commonly known as the "CJC."
The Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center is located at 1301 Filbert Street.Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Can a probation violation attorney help lift a detainer in Philadelphia?
Lifting a detainer in Philadelphia is not easy, but depending on the circumstances, may be possible. The position of the Philadelphia Probation Department, as may be expected, will generally not help defendants facing alleged probation or parole violations in Philadelphia County. For example, the defendant's probation officer will almost always recommend that the detainer remain "in place" at the Gagnon I hearing pending the Gagnon II VOP hearing; which would generally take place before the defendant's "back" judge (the judge who sentenced the defendant).
If the proper steps are taken and an aggressive defense is mounted, however, the likelihood of getting the detainer lifted at the detainer hearing in Philadelphia will be greatly increased. In fact, in limited instances, it may even be possible to get the "back" judge to order lifting the detainer in advance of the detainer hearing itself - if the judge approves that the detainer be lifted in advance of the Gagnon I hearing at CFCF, the question of whether the detainer would otherwise remain in place will not be at issue at the time of the hearing itself.
Probation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Adult Probation & Parole Department is located at 1401 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Philadelphia VOP Attorney | Philadelphia Violation of Probation Lawyer
Violations of probation and parole can carry serious consequences and can result in loss of probation, and in worst cases, incarceration. A person can be found in violation of their probation quickly and easily by the court. Because of these concerns, it can be incredibly beneficial to have representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney in these matters, as there is much at stake.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento worked as a probation officer while attending Temple University's Beasley School of Law at night, and he knows which defense strategies will work best when a client is facing a violation of probation or parole in Philadelphia. Whether the violation is due to a new arrest, positive drug screen, failure to report, or any other factor, Joseph Lento knows how to approach the Philadelphia County Court, the judge, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, and the probation officer, and he is not satisfied until he gets his clients the best possible result. Joseph's experience both behind the scenes and on the frontlines allows him to understand a client's probation violation from all angles and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client.