STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v. Robeson County
Nos. 02 CRS 4078-81
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Jill A. Bryan, for the State.
Appellate Defender Staples Hughes, by Assistant Appellate Defender Katherine Jane Allen, for defendant-appellant.
On 3 November 2003, the Robeson County grand jury indicted
Ramona Roberts on four counts of forgery of endorsement and four
counts of uttering a forged endorsement. Defendant pled guilty on
14 October 2004 to all eight counts pursuant to a plea agreement.
The trial court imposed eight consecutive sentences of four to five
months imprisonment, suspended the sentences, and placed defendant
on supervised probation for three years.
On 24 January 2005, probation and parole officer Elliot Brown filed eight violation reports that alleged defendant had violated three conditions of probation in that she: (1) tested positive for cocaine; (2) failed to report as directed by her probation officer;and (3) failed to obtain an assessment from TASC. The violation report for forgery in 02 CRS 4078 also alleged that defendant was in arrears in her probation supervision fees and had paid no monies to the clerk of superior court as ordered as a monetary condition of probation.
Following a hearing on 13 April 2005, the trial court found that defendant had: (1) failed to report on 10 January 2005 as directed by her probation officer; (2) failed to comply with either monetary condition of probation; and (3) failed to obtain an assessment from TASC. The trial court found that each violation was willful and without valid excuse and that each violation was, in and of itself, a sufficient basis upon which to revoke probation and activate the suspended sentences.
After noting that the maximum sentence of six months imposed in each of the eight original judgments was in excess of the statutory maximum, the trial court amended the maximum sentence term of each of the judgments to five months. The trial court revoked defendant's probation for the two counts of forgery of an instrument and the two counts of uttering a forged instrument found in 02 CRS 4080-81. The trial court activated those four consecutive sentences and imposed a combined term of 16 to 20 months imprisonment. In the four remaining judgments in 02 CRS 4078-79, the trial court did not activate the sentences, but instead suspended probationary supervision until defendant's release from the Department of Correction. Defendant appeals from the trial court's judgments activating her suspended sentences in02 CRS 4080-81.
Defendant's counsel brings forward two questions on appeal but presents no arguments in defendant's brief. He states that he "finds no basis to pursue the matter previously assigned as error after reviewing the record and case law" and "requests this Court to review the record for any prejudicial error." By letter dated 22 September 2005, defendant's counsel informed defendant that in his opinion there was no error in defendant's trial and that defendant could file her own arguments in this Court if she desired. Copies of the transcript, record, and the brief filed by counsel were sent to defendant. On 14 November 2005, defendant filed pro se arguments in this Court.
We hold that defendant's counsel has substantially complied with the holdings in Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 18 L. Ed. 2d 493, 87 S. Ct. 1396 (1967), and State v. Kinch, 314 N.C. 99, 331 S.E.2d 665 (1985). Pursuant to Anders and Kinch, we must determine from a full examination of all the proceedings whether the appeal is wholly frivolous.
In her first pro se argument, defendant notes an inconsistency in her probation officer's testimony as to the date when he received her case. He initially indicated the date was 19 June 2004, but later testified the date was 19 October 2004. Given that defendant did not enter her plea of guilty until 14 October 2004, the 19 June 2004 date must have been a slip of the tongue. Because the date that the probation officer received defendant's case is irrelevant to the probation violations found by the trial court,this argument does not warrant reversal.
Defendant next argues that her probation officer was in error as to the address of her residence. She states that her address prior to 14 October 2004 was 92 Iron Horse Drive in Pembroke and that she was an inpatient at a hospital during intake. She asserts that she informed her probation officer in their only meeting on 19 November 2004 that her address was 305 Juddie Street in Pembroke. Defendant's probation officer testified that defendant gave the 305 Juddie Street address during intake on 14 October 2004 and that she gave him the 92 Iron Horse Drive address during their 19 November 2004 appointment.
"All that is required to revoke probation is evidence satisfying the trial court in its discretion that the defendant violated a valid condition of probation without lawful excuse." State v. Tozzi, 84 N.C. App. 517, 521, 353 S.E.2d 250, 253 (1987). The only finding of violation to which defendant's address has any relevance is her failure to report on 10 January 2005. Competent evidence in the form of the probation officer's testimony regarding the address information provided by defendant and of his efforts to contact defendant is sufficient to support the trial court's finding that defendant willfully failed to report on 10 January 2005.
In her final argument, defendant complains that her probation officer was not present for her second scheduled visit in December 2004. Because defendant was not charged with a failure to report in December, this argument does not affect the validity of thejudgments on appeal.
In addition to reviewing defendant's pro se arguments, we have conducted an independent review of the record, including the original assignments of error. We have identified no basis for overturning the decision of the trial judge below.
Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge BRYANT concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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