Sokolowski v. State, 041520 INCA, 19A-CR-2334

Docket Nº:19A-CR-2334
Opinion Judge:MAY, JUDGE.
Party Name:Matthew A. Sokolowski, Appellant-Defendant, v. State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
Attorney:Attorney for Appellant Adam C. Squiller John M. Haecker Squiller & Hamilton, LLP Auburn, Indiana Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Sierra A. Murray Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
Judge Panel:Crone, J., and Pyle, J., concur.
Case Date:April 15, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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Matthew A. Sokolowski, Appellant-Defendant,

v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

No. 19A-CR-2334

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 15, 2020

Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the DeKalb Superior Court The Honorable Monte L. Brown, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 17D02-1706-F5-39

Attorney for Appellant Adam C. Squiller John M. Haecker Squiller & Hamilton, LLP Auburn, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Sierra A. Murray Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

MAY, JUDGE.

[¶1] Matthew A. Sokolowski appeals the revocation of his probation. He raises four issues for our review, which we reorder and restate as: (1) whether a condition of Sokolowski's probation was unconstitutionally vague; (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting hearsay evidence; (3) whether the State presented sufficient evidence that Sokolowski violated a condition of probation; and (4) whether Sokolowski was given an opportunity to present mitigating evidence. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History 1

[¶2] On August 27, 2018, pursuant to a plea agreement, Sokolowski pled guilty to child exploitation, a Level 5 felony, 2 and the trial court imposed a five-year sentence, all suspended to probation except for time already served. As a condition of his probation, Sokolowski was required to abide by several of the Indiana Special Probation Conditions for Adult Sex Offenders. Condition Ten ("Condition Ten") stated: You shall attend, actively participate in and successfully complete a Court-approved sex offender treatment program as directed by the Court. Prompt payment of any fees is your responsibility and you must maintain steady progress towards all treatment goals as determined by your treatment provider.

Unsuccessful termination from treatment or non-compliance with other required behavioral management requirements will be considered a violation of your probation. You will not be permitted to change treatment providers unless the Court gives you prior written approval.

(App. Vol. II at 138.) Sokolowski initially began serving his probation in DeKalb County, but the court transferred his probation to Elkhart County in November 2018. The Elkhart County Probation Department also required Sokolowski to abide by Condition Ten, and Sokolowski regularly attended his sex offender treatment sessions.

[¶3] After a few months of therapy, Kerry Guernsey, Sokolowski's sex offender treatment therapist at Spectra Counseling, LLC, wrote a letter to Melanie Godden, Sokolowski's probation officer, describing Sokolowski's disclosures and demeanor during therapy sessions. She wrote that Sokolowski "frequently presents with an aggressive attitude, minimizes his offense and need for treatment, identifies blatant disregard for his terms of probation and treatment skills, and contaminates the group process." (State Ex. 1.) During a therapy session on May 23, 2019, Sokolowski disclosed he traveled to Michigan while on probation. He acknowledged using the social media websites Tinder and Instagram, and he reported that he engaged in oral sex with a woman. He also described pushing his minor sister, and he discussed getting into physical altercations with his fiancé. Guernsey noted that before the May 23, 2019, therapy session, she had "expressed concerns to Mr. Sokolowski regarding his lack of compliance with treatment and probation terms, presentation in group, emotional lability, contaminating factor in group, and possible lack of amenability to treatment." (Id.) Guernsey suspended Sokolowski from treatment.

[¶4] The State filed a petition to revoke Sokolowski's probation on May 28, 2019. At the evidentiary hearing on the State's petition, Guernsey testified regarding Sokolowski's disclosures and demeanor during treatment sessions. Sokolowski objected on hearsay grounds to admission of the letter Guernsey sent to Godden, but the trial court overruled his objection. Michael Mobley, the Elkhart County chief probation officer, testified at the evidentiary hearing because Godden left her probation officer position prior to the hearing. Sokolowski objected to Mobley's testimony on the ground that it was unreliable hearsay. He also objected on hearsay grounds to admission of a letter written to Guernsey describing the results of Sokolowski's sexual history polygraph examination.

[¶5] Sokolowski testified at the hearing. He denied violating any condition of his probation. Sokolowski said he believed he was making progress and he was willing to cooperate...

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