LOS ANGELES, July 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court for retroactively revoking Peter Pocklington's probation on a perjury conviction and sentencing him to six months in prison.
"This ruling sets a significant precedent," said Becky James, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of James and Stewart, who is the appellate attorney for Pocklington. "It clarifies that courts may not exceed their jurisdiction, even where trial counsel does not object. Just as important, it vindicates Mr. Pocklington, whose probation was improperly extended even though both the Probation Officer and the FBI acknowledged there was no probable cause to find a violation."
Pocklington, the former owner of the Edmonton Oilers who lives in Palm Desert, CA, praised Ms. James. "She was extraordinary," he said. "She knew I had been wronged. She was determined to win, and she did."
The three-member panel of the Ninth Circuit, sitting in Pasadena, CA, said Thursday the lower court failed to abide by requirements that probation couldn't be extended after the term of probation expired unless a warrant or summons was issued before Pocklington's original probation ended. None was issued until afterward. Nor could it have been because, as the court noted, "the Probation Office was crystal clear about the absence of anything resembling probable cause."
"When Congress used the words 'warrant or summons,' it meant them," wrote Judge Margaret McKeown. "Close enough doesn't fly under the statute."
Brent Romney, Pocklington's attorney with Blumenthal Law in Riverside, CA, said his client's probation should never have been violated. "Why Pocklington was put through this ordeal is, I believe, the result of an overzealous civil attorney who was bound and determined to somehow or some way cause Pocklington grief," said Romney.
Pocklington declared bankruptcy in 2009. He later pled guilty to perjury for failing to disclose approximately $9,000 in two bank accounts and the contents of two storage units that contained personal property.
Pocklington is not commenting further on the case.
CONTACT: Roger Gillott firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-497-7868 Becky James 310-266-5775Source: James & Stewart LLP