Supreme Judicial Court (February 9, 2006)

The right of confrontation under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights does not apply to probation revocation hearings.

A police officer testified at a probation revocation hearing and relied on another officer's report for portions of his testimony. Relying in part on the officer's hearsay statements, the judge found the defendant had violated the terms of his probation. The defendant appealed claiming he was denied his right to confrontation as defined by Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

In deciding that Crawford is inapplicable to probation revocation hearings, the SJC re-stated the holding in Comm. v. Durling, 407 Mass. 108 (1990). "At a revocation hearing, a probationer need not be provided with the full panoply of constitutional protections applicable at a criminal trial." The right to confrontation applies solely to criminal prosecutions and "a subsequent probation surrender proceeding is not a stage of a criminal prosecution."