Commonwealth v. Hudson

#Sentencing #VOP #CourtCosts

04/16/20- In 2010, the defendant pleaded guilty to robbery and other crimes. In the sentencing order, the trial court imposed the following conditions of probation: obtain a GED; attend job training; seek and maintain employment; and pay court costs. On February 12, 2019, the defendant appeared for a fourth VOP hearing, which is the subject of this appeal. The trial court found the defendant was in technical violation for failing to pay court costs. In order to “vindicate the authority of the court,” the trial court sentenced him to 1½ to 3 years of incarceration. The defendant appealed from the judgment of sentence, and the Superior Court reversed.

The Court ruled that that, unlike restitution, court costs do not reasonably relate to the rehabilitation that probation is designed to foster, and thus, cannot be subsumed within the catchall provision of 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9754. Thus, because the defendant had not violated a specific condition of probation, the trial court erred in revoking his probation.

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