PETTIFORD v. COMMONWEALTH OF
NOVEMBER 24, 1998
Record No. 2770-97-2
TYRONE JERROD PETTIFORD
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
MEMORANDUM OPINION BY JUDGE RICHARD S. BRAY
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT
OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND
James B. Wilkinson,
Present: Judges Benton,
Elder and Bray
Argued at Richmond,
Susan D. Hansen, Deputy Public Defender (David
J. Johnson, Public Defender, on brief), for appellant.
Eugene Murphy, Assistant
Attorney General (Mark L. Earley, Attorney General, on brief),
On April 16, 1997,
Tyrone Jerrod Pettiford (defendant) was convicted of carrying a
concealed weapon and sentenced to five years imprisonment, all
suspended subject to supervised probation with attendant terms
and conditions. Upon the Commonwealth’s motion, the trial court
subsequently ordered defendant "to show cause why the
suspended sentence . . . should not be revoked" as
a result of alleged violations of probation, including
defendant’s failure to "obey all . . . laws and
ordinances." At a related hearing, the court found that
defendant had violated "conditions of . . .
supervision," and revoked a portion of the suspended
sentence. Defendant appeals, complaining that the court acted
without proper evidence to support the order. Finding no error,
we affirm the order.
The parties are fully
conversant with the record, and this memorandum opinion recites
only those facts necessary to disposition of the appeal.
During the show cause
hearing, the attorney for the Commonwealth represented to the
court that defendant had been "convicted of trespassing,
obstruction of justice, assault and battery, and . . .
[had] absconded from probation," since the imposition of the
suspended sentence. In response, defendant’s counsel conceded
that defendant had been convicted of trespass and assault and
battery and explained that the offenses arose from disputes
related to visitation with his son. Counsel acknowledged that,
"once [defendant] had those convictions, . . . he
wasn’t seeing [his] probation officer . . . [for fear] of being violated."
It is well established
that "probation revocation hearings are not a stage of
criminal prosecution and therefore . . . ‘formal
procedures and rules of evidence are not employed’
. . . . [T]he process of revocation hearings
‘should be flexible enough to consider evidence . . . that would
not be admissible in an adversary criminal trial.’" Davis
v. Commonwealth, 12 Va. App. 81, 84, 402 S.E.2d 684, 686
(1991) (citations omitted). "[W]hether to revoke the
suspension of a sentence lies within the sound discretion of the
trial court." Singleton v. Commonwealth, 11 Va. App.
575, 580, 400 S.E.2d 205, 208 (1991); see Code Sect.
19.2-306. "However, the trial judge may only revoke the
suspension of a sentence for reasonable cause." Preston
v. Commonwealth, 14 Va. App. 731, 733, 419 S.E.2d 288, 290
(1992) (citation omitted).
Here, the Commonwealth,
without objection, advised the court of those misdemeanor
convictions which had prompted the instant revocation
proceedings. Immediately thereafter, defense counsel admitted to
the alleged trespass and assault and battery offenses and
explained the underlying circumstances to mitigate the
misconduct. Thus, violations of law contrary to express
conditions of probation were uncontroverted and clearly before
the court. Manifestly, "[a] [c]onviction for a misdemeanor
that occurred during the probationary period, . . . is
reasonable cause to revoke . . . a suspended
sentence." Hess v. Commonwealth, 17 Va. App. 738,
741, 441 S.E.2d 29, 31 (1994). Accordingly, we find no abuse of
discretion by the trial court and affirm the disputed order.
 Pursuant to Code Sect. 17-116.010 this
opinion is not designated for publication.