What can we do if a Probation Officer is abusing their authority?

UPDATED: Jan 28, 2011

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What can we do if a Probation Officer is abusing their authority?

My son, 19, is on probation. His new PO is making him come in everyday. The problem is that she tells him every time he’s there that she’s going to do everything that she can to violate him and put him in jail. She’s now making him fill out a job search sheet everyday with 15 contacts. If he only has 14, she’ll violate him. So for 7 days, she wants 95 job contacts. Isn’t that a bit much? She told him today that she is going to violate him every day until she has one that the judge cannot ignore. I suggested to my son to call the judge, but he’s afraid he’s just stuck.

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, in most states Probation Officers are under the authority of the Department of Corrections.  If a person has a problem with their PO, the Department of Corrections will have a process for filing a grievance.  However, before doing so, they would be well-advised to speak with their attorney before they do this (or get an attorney if they don't currently have one). 

The fact is that, challenging a PO that crosses the line such as you have described here, can have serious consequences for your son; it may even make a bad situation worse.  Ask his lawyer about applying for a change of officers or helping him apply for early release.  Until he does, he must tolerate this apparent abuse of authority (at least for now) and follow his PO's demands or risk having his probation revoked.   

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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