What is a Gagon hearing?

Should you be serving a Pennsylvania probation or parole and allegedly violate one or more of the conditions thereof, the court could return you to prison depending on what happens at your Gagon hearings.

The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole explains that Gagon hearings are unique to Pennsylvania, and you will undergo two of them if your probation or parole officer alleges that you have not lived up to your probation or parole obligations.

Gagon I hearing

A judge will schedule your Gagon I hearing within 10 days after your alleged violation(s) or within 10 days of the time officers arrest you for them. Your Gagon I hearing serves the same type of purpose as your preliminary hearing did during your criminal trial process. Here the judge will determine if the State has sufficient evidence to justify its alleged probable cause to believe that you did indeed violate your probation or parole.

As you well know, probation and parole arrangements both contain conditions to which you must adhere. Possibly yours includes some or all of the following:

  • Checking in with your probation or parole officer at all scheduled times
  • Passing all ordered drug tests
  • Attending and completing any ordered drug and/or alcohol treatment program
  • Paying the fines and court costs assessed against you at your conviction
  • Adhering to any and all other probation or parole conditions

Should the judge decide that the State has met its burden of proof with regard to reasonable cause, (s)he will then decide whether or not to grant you bail or keep you in custody pending your Gagon II hearing.

Gagon II hearing

Your Gagon II hearing serves the same purpose as your original trial. Only this time, the State will be trying to prove that you committed a probation or parole violation. Once again, both the State and your defense attorney will present evidence, and once again, each side will be able to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses.

The main difference between your original trial and your Gagon II hearing has to do with the prosecutor’s burden of proof. There (s)he had to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Here (s)he need prove only by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated your probation or parole. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide if you should be allowed to continue with your probation or parole or be sent back to prison to complete your sentence.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.