Legal Question in Criminal Law in Texas
I am the victim in which the defendant was charged and convicted of ASSAULT FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD MEMBER W/PREV CONV. He received a 10 year deferred adjudication with violent terms, including No contact with victim, refrain from all contact, directly or indirectly with victim and family of victim, including in person or through phone, email, letter, or through a third party contact. The defendant’s community supervision has been in affect since March of 2019. Back in June and July, the defendant was trying to contact me through three different social media platforms. He directly sent me a friend request from a profile in his name, with recent pictures of him that could be seen publicly, and all additional personal information like DOB, Current city, hometown location, list of family members, etc. all being correct by my knowledge. I even had a missed video chat call from an Instagram profile as well as a request to follow my profile that was in his name, a profile picture of him and correct personal information. There was no doubt in my mind that is was the defendant’s profiles that he was running and not fake, or someone portraying themselves as the defendant. I took screenshots of all of his profiles, pictures of him holding alcohol. violating his probation, and showing his friend request on all platforms. I decided to call his community supervision officer and let him know the situation so he could make the right decision! The officer informed me that the defendant had two other violations he just found out about! So he was going to get a warrant for his arrest. I emailed the officer all screenshots of my evidence as well. So the defendant is currently in custody on
ROP/ASSAULT FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD MEMBER W/PREV CONV and has been attending court hearings for MTR, but they keep getting reset. The assistant DA called me when he reviewed my screenshots, but said since my name isn’t listed anywhere in picture to prove it’s my personal social media account, it probably won’t hold up and prove he violated the no contact order. It’s hard to prove that the account sending you requests is even his and not someone he knows like an ex girlfriend. The only picture that he would use was the one of him holding alcohol because there is a current date on the picture showing it was during his probation period. He told me to write a letter to the Judge, which I am in the process of doing. The community supervision officer advised I be there for his next hearing, which is tomorrow Friday, October 23rd and it’s a Zoom meeting. Any advice on how I can prove my screenshots or what I should express to the Judge in my letter that will make a decision that will do justice and I don’t want him to get a slap on the wrist and harass me again! Unfortunately those accounts of his were deleted and nothing shows in my request part or I could screen record logging into my account proving it’s mine and go to his profile and show all info to be him. The assistant DA did say they could get all of his social media account activity but it would take months to receive it! Am I wasting my time and making myself look stupid not being able to prove this so he can go around town calling me a snitch or something. I would appreciate any information, advice, recommendations since I am in a time sensitive decision! Thanks in advance, I know it was long, but I am a very detailed person!
1 Answer from Attorneys
Without going through all of your details, the decision regarding whether to pursue a revocation of probation is in the judgment of the prosecuting attorney. According to your lengthy question, he is presently in custody, facing revocation on other violations. It is not necessary to charge a probationer with every known or suspected violation. If the State proves a violation, just one, the Judge can revoke the probation. Whether the Judge revokes the probation, even if the violation is proved is also within the Judge's discretion. The judge can revoke or reinstate the probation. The Judge can modify the probation conditions, require some service of jail time and many other options.
You as a victim are not required to prove anything, that is the job of the prosecutor. The case is the State of Texas v. the defendant, not you vs. the defendant. If you are required to testify, you don't need to come across as an advocate. You should present truthful testimony and leave the advocacy up to the Assistant District Attorney. It is his/her job to prove the violation. If you come across as a zealous advocate, you will diminish your credibility.
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