As someone on probation, it behooves you to know how judges perceive people like you and me. This becomes of particularly important when you are standing in front of a judge to change your conditions or in the event of a violation hearing.
"The two principal goals of probation are rehabilitation of the defendant and protection of the public. See Commonwealth v. Pike, 428 Mass. 393, 403 (1998); Mariano v. Judge of Dist. Court of Cent. Berkshire, 243 Mass. 90, 93 (1922) ("purpose [of probation] ... is to enable the person to get on his feet, to become law abiding and to lead a useful and upright life under the fostering influence of the probation officer"). While these goals are intertwined, because a defendant who is rehabilitated is not committing further crimes, they remain distinct, because a probation condition that protects the public from the defendant may not advance the likelihood of his rehabilitation. The success of probation as a correctional tool depends on judges having the flexibility at sentencing to tailor probation conditions to the circumstances of the individual defendant and the crime that he committed. Commonwealth v. Lapointe, 435 Mass. 455, 459-460 (2001)."
"Under Mass. R.Crim. P. 29(a), 378 Mass. 899 (1979), the power of a trial judge to revise or revoke a criminal disposition is severely limited. Under rule 29(a), a trial judge may revise or revoke a sentence only on her own motion or the written motion of a defendant filed within sixty days after the imposition of sentence, [FN6] and "may not take into account conduct of the defendant that occurs subsequent to the original sentencing." Commonwealth v. Barclay, 424 Mass. 377, 380 (1997). However, the addition of reasonable conditions to a defendant's probation does not constitute a revision or revocation of a sentence under rule 29(a). See Buckley v. Quincy Div. of the Dist. Court Dep't, 395 Mass. 815, 818-819 (1985) (Buckley )."
"Under our common law, a judge has authority to modify or add conditions of probation "to serve 'the ends of justice and the best interests of both the public and the defendant.' " Id. at 817, quoting Burns v. United States, 287 U.S. 216, 221 (1932). [FN7] Just as judges have considerable discretion at sentencing in establishing the terms of probation, they also have the discretion to modify those conditions "as a proper regard for the welfare, not only of the defendant but of the community, may require." Buckley, supra at 818, quoting Commonwealth v. McGovern, 183 Mass. 238, 240 (1903)."
"Where a defendant has violated a condition of his probation, a judge's authority to modify or add conditions of probation is nearly unlimited should the judge decide not to imprison the defendant but to return him to probation."