You may recall a case about a year ago where former Broward Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry sentenced a young man to 60 years in prison for a probation violation. After much outrage over the length of the sentence, Judge Destry reheard the matter and agreed to suspend the 60-year prison sentence with the caveat that the young man complete 15 years of probation without a single violation. Per the court's ruling, the 60-year sentence could be reinstated if the probationer violated.
Just this past week, the young man, who had managed to stay out of trouble for about a year, was arrested on burglary charges stemming from allegations that he broke into a house in Parkland (Broward County).
Since he is still on probation, the accused is being held without bond. Whether the new judge (Matthew Destry was recently defeated in this year's judicial election) will impose the 60-year sentence or not has yet to be seen.
With a new law violation (a new arrest while on probation as opposed to a technical violation), the crime need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if you are acquitted of the new charge in a jury trial, a judge overseeing your probation violation may find by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated your probation. You may legally be sentenced to prison time in a case where a jury found you not guilty of the substantive charges. Being on probation puts defendants in a tough spot since the outcome of the new case has little effect on the outcome of the violation itself.
The judge in the case of the young probationer may either sentence him to 60 years or impose some other sanction, including modifying and reinstating to probation or sentencing within the permissible guideline range.