Our Clearwater VOP Attorneys are often asked by our Clients, which judge will be handling their violation of probation case regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. All counties have their own arrangements for the handling of VOPs/violations of probation because of the sheer number of the cases in the system. Prior to the current system in Hillsborough County, violations of probation made up the majority of the folks in the county jail, so the Chief Judge and Sheriff developed the current arrangement to process cases quicker. Pinellas County has a similar arrangement to keep cases moving as quickly as possible.
The current arrangement in Hillsborough County for felony VOPs is technical violations of probation are handled by Judge Perry, while substantive violations of probation are handled by the Sentencing Judge. For example, if Judge Sabella handled the underlying charge, put the individual on probation, then they were charged with a new crime will on probation, the case will go back to Judge Sabella. Judge Perry handled thousands of technical violations annually and is well known for his intense questioning of probationers regarding the specific facts of their violation. He is especially well known for questioning individuals whether they will pass a drug test and immediately drug testing them in the courtroom. Needless to say, if an individual fails to pass the drug test, there are severe consequences, especially if they lied to Judge Perry and informed him they could pass. For Misdemeanor charges, all violations of probation are handled by the original sentencing judge.
Pinellas County uses a similar arrangement. Technical violations of Felony Probation are handled by Judge Quesada. Judge Quesada, while not necessarily as vocal and intense as Judge Perry in Hillsborough County, essentially specializes in questioning probationers regarding their violations of probations and resolving cases quickly. Generally, the Clerk automatically sets a hearing before Judge Quesada about three (3) weeks after an individual’s arrest. Substantive violations of probations are handled by the Sentencing Judge. Depending on the original Judge, this could obviously be a good or bad situation. Misdemeanor violations of probation are handled by the Sentencing Judge. If you are put on the “Sentencing Path”, Judge Freeman will handle your case. This situation has changed significantly recently due to an opinion from an appellate court. In short, this court pushes folks through the system by forcing them to pay weekly or bi-weekly or be incarcerated for a short term.
Regardless of the situation concerning your violation of probation, our Clearwater VOP Attorneys will work with you to determine a strategy to aggressively protect your rights. Equally important, we will work to get you into a courtroom as quickly as possible. If you would like to contact one of our Clearwater VOP Attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website or the free, secure chat box in the lower right hand corner of our website. We appreciate you taking the time to check out our Clearwater VOP Attorneys’ blog and look forward to hearing from you.