The probationer always understood the probation officer’s role to be ensuring that all of the provisions of the sentencing order be met, no more, no less.
Nothing in the sentencing order dealt with business management, parenting or acceptable speech. Yet the probation officer repeatedly misunderstood, sometimes telling the probationer (a business owner) how the business should be run; sometimes telling the probationer (a father) how parenting should be done; advising the probationer (who retained the constitutional right of free speech) what could be said, and when, and where, about what issues. It is difficult but not impossible to keep control of a P.O. who doesn’t understand professional boundaries.
A probation officer’s position of authority over a probationer makes it far too easy for a P.O. to abuse power. Our imaginary probationer described above had the fortitude to respectfully confront the P.O. when lines were crossed that shouldn’t be crossed. But not all probationers are in a position to do that.
So it is heartening to see that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the issue.
The Supreme Court Press “Petition of the Month”TM for June 2014 is Kyle E. McClamma v. Josepha Michele Remon,Supreme Court Dkt. No. TBD, an appeal coming out of the Eleventh Circuit. The petition was filed pro se by the petitioner Kyle E. McClamma, a resident of the Tampa, Florida Region.
Whether a probation officer has the power to forbid a person from living in his own home, despite there being no residency restriction in the sentencing order.