Oct. 15, 2012 – The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) issued a sentence discharge certificate prematurely in error. But a state appeals court recently rejected a probationer’s argument that DOC was equitably estopped from seeking probation revocation.
Ardonis Greer received a discharge certificate when his period of extended supervision expired. He still had three years of probation to complete, but DOC didn’t mention that. The agency failed to input Greer’s probation information into the computer system. So when he picked up a new felony charge within three years, DOC initiated probation revocation proceedings.
An administrative law judge revoked Greer’s probation, but a circuit court ruled DOC was equitably estopped from revoking Greer’s probation based on the discharge certificate.
However, the District II Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed in Greer v. Schwartz, 2011AP2188 (Oct. 10, 2012), rejecting Greer’s argument that DOC lost jurisdiction over him when it issued the discharge certificate. The three-judge panel also rejected Greer’s due process argument.
“[W]e conclude the DOC did not violate Greer’s due process rights because Greer knew or should have known he was on probation at the time he committed the new intimidation of witness offense,” wrote Appeals Court Judge Mark Gundrum.
The appeals court relied on the fact that Greer was present when sentenced to a three-year period of probation and received court documents.
“The DOC’s issuance of the discharge certificate to Greer did not nullify or supersede the court’s order imposing that three-year period of probation,” Judge Gundrum explained.
Joe Forward is the legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin.