STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v. Pitt County
No. 03 CRS 57595
CHAVIER JEVON HARRIS
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Floyd M. Lewis, for the State.
Mary M. Exum for defendant.
Chavier Jevon Harris (defendant) pled guilty on 17 November
2003 to possession of a firearm by a felon. The trial court
sentenced defendant to 15 to 18 months imprisonment, suspended the
sentence and placed defendant on 18 months supervised probation.
As a condition of his probation, defendant was ordered to serve six
months intensive probation; remain gainfully and suitably employed;
remain within the jurisdiction of the court unless granted
permission to leave; pay costs, attorney fees and monthly probation
supervision fees; and perform 40 hours of community service.
In February of 2005, defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation report alleging that: (1) defendant failed to report to the community service office to establish placement and did not complete community service; (2) defendant was in arrears on court costs; (3) defendant was in arrears on supervision fees; and (4) defendant failed to maintain gainful and suitable employment since July of 2004. Defendant's probation officer filed another probation violation report in March of 2005 additionally alleging that defendant left his residence and failed to make his whereabouts known to his probation officer.
A probation violation hearing was held on 17 July 2006. Defendant, through counsel, denied the violations. Defendant's probation officer testified that defendant had not completed his 40 hours of community service, although there was no time limit on community service. He next testified that defendant was in arrears on court indebtedness and supervision fees and that defendant made his last payment in October of 2004. Defendant's probation officer also testified that defendant was last employed in July of 2004. Defendant's probation officer further testified that he tried contacting defendant at his Kings Crossroads residence in February of 2005 and that he left messages for defendant to contact him.
Defendant testified that he was laid off by Special Tech Farm Bureau, that he had been driving a truck for Flat Rate Mortgage, and that money he received went to taking care of his children. Defendant testified that he did not complete his community service because he did not have a time limit. He also testified that he has lived on Kings Crossroads all of his life. By judgment entered 17 July 2006, the trial court found that by the evidencepresented defendant violated the conditions of his probation set out in paragraphs 1-4 of the February 2005 probation violation report. The trial court activated defendant's original sentence. Defendant appeals.
In his argument on appeal, defendant contends the trial court made erroneous findings of fact that he violated his probation by failing to perform community service, leaving his residence, failing to maintain employment and failing to pay court costs and fees. Defendant, however, only assigns error to the trial court's findings of fact on violating the requirement to pay money. Thus, the only argument properly before this Court is whether the trial court erred in finding that defendant willfully violated a condition of his probation without lawful excuse by failing to pay court costs and fees.
All that is required in a hearing to revoke probation is that the evidence be such as to reasonably satisfy the judge in the exercise of his sound discretion that the defendant has willfully violated a valid condition of probation or that the defendant has violated without lawful excuse a valid condition upon which the sentence was suspended. State v. Hewett, 270 N.C. 348, 353, 154 S.E.2d 476, 480 (1967). A verified probation violation report is competent evidence sufficient to support revocation of probation. State v. Gamble, 50 N.C. App. 658, 661, 274 S.E.2d 874, 876 (1981). Once the State meets its burden, the burden then shifts to defendant to present competent evidence of his inability to comply with the conditions of probation; and that otherwise, evidence ofdefendant's failure to comply may justify a finding that defendant's failure to comply was wilful or without lawful excuse. Any violation of a valid condition of probation is sufficient to revoke [a] defendant's probation. State v. Tozzi, 84 N.C. App. 517, 521, 353 S.E.2d 250, 253 (1987).
Here, the evidence showed that defendant did not pay all of the monies owed, and the record reflects that the trial court judge properly considered and evaluated the reasons offered by defendant for his noncompliance. We conclude the order of the trial court must be
Judges McCULLOUGH and STEELMAN concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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