Absconding and Probation Revocation: Intent Requirements

Author: Dahnika Short, Comments Editor 

State v. Dooley, No. 120,863 (Kan. July 23, 2021) 


Issue: Did Dooley possess the requisite intent under K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 22-3716 to warrant revocation of probation rather than the imposition of intermediate sanctions after a pattern of probation violations?

Answer: Yes.  While Dooley neither hid nor secretly left the jurisdiction, his actions involved “a pattern of violations” which “permit[ted] the inference that [he] intentionally evad[ed] the legal process.”

Facts: Dooley entered into a plea agreement and received probation in March 2012.  One year later, Dooley’s probation was revoked and then reinstated as he moved without permission and used drugs.  Approximately six months later, the state filed another motion to revoke Dooley’s probation due to drug use, failure to enter the required halfway house, and failure to report his location.  A warrant was subsequently issued.

Discussion: Pursuant to K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 22-3716(c)(8), a district court is permitted to bypass intermediate sanctions and revoke probation when a probationer absconds.  Absconding involves an element of intent to evade probation. This intent is satisfied by “a pattern of violations” to intentionally evade the legal process.  Dooley failed to enter a halfway house, report his location, and appear for his scheduled meeting.  The Kansas Supreme Court was not persuaded by Dooley’s arguments.  Dooley argued that he failed to enter the halfway house for lack of necessary funds and that he only missed one meeting.  Dooley also argued that he turned himself in one month after his missed meeting and that his behavior did not demonstrate the requisite intent for absconding under the statute. 

Instead, the Kansas Supreme Court noted that Dooley purposely avoided his scheduled meeting—it was not due to oversight—and he did not attempt to contact his supervising officer when he was unable to access the halfway house.  While these acts alone may not have risen to the level of absconding, when combined they demonstrated Dooley’s intent to evade his probation.  The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed both the district court and a divided Kansas Court of Appeals in revoking Dooley’s probation.

Key Authorities: State v. Robbins, 188 P.3d 262 (Or. 2008); K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 22-3716

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