LITTLE ROCK — A Crawford County circuit judge erred in revoking a man’s probation for refusing to complete a mandatory community service program that included a drug test because the prescription pain medications he took would have caused him to fail the test, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
In a unanimous decision, the appeals court said the state failed to present any proof that Cameron Shubert had violated a condition of his suspended sentence.
“Rather, Schubert showed up to the probation office one month after pleading guilty and was ready and willing to complete his service hours. The probation officer’s additional condition — unknown to Schubert — that effectively prevented Schubert from completing his community service does not provide a basis to revoke,” the court said in an opinion written by Judge Rhonda K. Wood.
Schubert pleaded guilty to assault in November 2012. He was given a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to complete 30 days of community service.
When he went to the probation office a month later he was told the community service program required he pass a drug test.
Schubert said he couldn’t pass the drug test because he was taking prescription medications, including methadone, morphine and diazepam. He said he took the drugs for pain management because he had congenital hip dysplasia and had had a total left-hip replacement and two left-knee operations.
He also said he regularly receives spinal injections and received Social Security disability benefits and Medicare.
The probation officer told him the community services rules were nonnegotiable and that he would have to stop taking all medications before he would be allowed to participate in the program.
Schubert refused and the state filed a petition to revoke his sentence because he had failed to abide by the rules and regulations of his community service.
Circuit Judge Michael Medlock later found that Schubert had inexcusably violated the terms and conditions of his suspended sentence and sentenced him to 30 days in the county jail.
The appeals court reversed the decision Wednesday and dismissed the case.