An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-437


Filed: 1 April 2003


         v.                        Jackson County
                                No. 99 CRS 1899

    Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 25 September 2001 by Judge Ronald K. Payne in Jackson County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 March 2003.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Kathryn Jones Cooper, for the State.

    Angela H. Brown for defendant appellant.


    Angela Franks Sigmon (“defendant”) appeals from the judgment of the trial court revoking her probation and activating her suspended sentence of thirteen to sixteen months' imprisonment. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
    On 29 July 1999, defendant entered a guilty plea to charges of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver, forgery, and felonious breaking and entering. She received a suspended sentence of thirteen to sixteen months' imprisonment and was placed on supervised probation for threeyears.
    Defendant's probation officer filed violation reports against her on 12 November 1999 and 13 February 2001. The 13 February 2001 report charged defendant with the following: (1) failure to satisfy the monetary conditions of her probation; (2) leaving her residence in Jackson County, North Carolina without permission and without informing her probation officer of her whereabouts; (3) failure to appear for a scheduled appointment with her probation officer; (4) relocating from Jackson County to Catawba County, North Carolina, without prior approval of her probation officer; and (5) violating curfew on seven occasions. At a hearing held 24 September 2001, defendant admitted the charged violations, but stated that she could not afford to pay the monetary conditions of probation, because she was supporting her children. She asserted that she violated curfew due to the responsibilities of her employment, but acknowledged that she “didn't always call” her probation officer to notify him. Defendant further averred that she did not perform community service “because I was working cleaning houses[.]” According to defendant, she moved from Silva to Hickory, North Carolina, without informing her probation officer, “[b]ecause the work had run out up here.”
    During the hearing, the trial court made clear that defendant's monetary arrearage was not the basis for its decision. Instead, the court focused on her other violations, informing defendant that
        . . . You were put on probation, you had a curfew, you knew it, you were told youcouldn't violate it, and you went ahead and did it.
            You moved to Catawba County. You knew you weren't supposed to do that. The whole idea of probation is not [to] put somebody in prison, but to keep them where people can make them accountable. You weren't accountable at all.

In its judgment, the court incorporated by reference the allegations contained in the February 2001 report. It found that defendant admitted the charged violations and that she committed them “willfully and without valid excuse.” Moreover, the court found that “[e]ach violation is, in and of itself, a sufficient basis upon which this Court should revoke probation and activate the suspended sentence.” From the judgment of the trial court activating her suspended sentence, defendant appeals.
    Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court “fail[ed] to make any findings of fact to support [its] conclusions of law” or to reflect its consideration of her evidence of a lawful excuse for noncompliance with the terms of probation. Defendant avers that the court's “summary revocation” was “arbitrary and an abuse of discretion.” She further asserts that the special conditions of probation allegedly violated were in force for only the first six months of her probation. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
    “'Probation is an act of grace by the State to one convicted of a crime.'” State v. Hill, 132 N.C. App. 209, 211, 510 S.E.2d 413, 414 (1999) (quoting State v. Freeman, 47 N.C. App. 171, 175, 266 S.E.2d 723, 725, disc. rev. denied, 301 N.C. 99, 273 S.E.2d 304(1980)). The weighing of evidence and the decision to revoke probation upon a finding of a willful violation thereof are matters left to the sound discretion of the trial court. See State v. Robinson, 248 N.C. 282, 285-86, 103 S.E.2d 376, 379 (1958). The violation of a single condition of probation provides sufficient grounds to revoke probation and to activate a suspended sentence. See State v. Braswell, 283 N.C. 332, 337, 196 S.E.2d 185, 188 (1973).
    Probation may not be revoked if the defendant has a lawful excuse for her failure to comply. Therefore, “a trial court is mandated to consider facts brought forth by the defendant which demonstrate that [s]he has a lawful excuse for h[er] probation violation.” State v. Hill, 132 N.C. App. 209, 212, 510 S.E.2d 413, 415 (1999). The trial court must make findings of fact to reflect its consideration of any such evidence, see id., but such findings need not address each of the defendant's specific allegations. See State v. Williamson, 61 N.C. App. 531, 535, 301 S.E.2d 423, 426 (1983). Where the defendant stipulates to the alleged probation violation and offers no evidence justifying her noncompliance, no such findings are required. See State v. Crouch, 74 N.C. App. 565, 568, 328 S.E.2d 833, 835 (1985).
    The trial court properly found grounds to revoke defendant's probation. At the beginning of the probation hearing, defendant admitted “with an explanation” the allegations charged in the violation reports and stipulated to a summary of facts by her probation officer. In her own testimony, defendant conceded, interalia, that she failed to remain within the jurisdiction of the Jackson County Superior Court and moved her residence to Catawba County without the permission of the court or her probation officer. Defendant further acknowledged that she failed to notify her probation officer of the move. Although defendant sought to justify her action by claiming that “work had run out” in Jackson County, we have previously held that the need for employment does not constitute a “lawful excuse” for a probationer's relocation to another county without notice to or the permission of her probation officer. See State v. Tozzi, 84 N.C. App. 517, 521-22, 353 S.E.2d 250, 253 (1987). Thus, defendant offered no evidence of any valid excuse for this violation, which provided sufficient basis for revocation of her probation.
    The court also entered sufficient findings of fact to support its judgment. Its findings incorporate by reference the allegations in the probation officer's 13 February 2001 violation report. The court further found, after considering “the evidence presented by the parties[,]” that defendant committed her violations “willfully and without valid excuse[.]” Inasmuch as defendant offered no lawful excuse for the violation discussed above, these findings adequately reflect the court's consideration of her evidence. See State v. Jones, 78 N.C. App. 507, 509-10, 337 S.E.2d 195, 197 (1985).
    Defendant's claim that the residency requirement applied only to the first six months of her probation is without merit. While it is true that defendant was assigned to the Intensive ProbationSupervision Program for six months, the requirements that she “[r]emain within the jurisdiction of the [trial] court unless granted written permission to leave” and “obtain prior approval from the [probation] officer for, and notify the officer of, any change in address” were regular conditions of supervised probation under sections 15A-1343(b)(2) and (3) of the North Carolina General Statutes, and were in force throughout her three-year probationary term.
    For the reasons stated herein, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
    Judges TYSON and BRYANT concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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