Drug dealer gets probation hearing



Robert B.J. Power FILE PHOTO

Robert B.J. Power
FILE PHOTO

PORTLAND — A man convicted of selling heroin in Southwest Harbor and who later had his probation revoked is to get another revocation hearing.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled April 21 that Robert “B.J.” Power is entitled to a new probation hearing because the trial court “apparently applied an incorrect standard of proof” in revoking his probation.

Power was sentenced in January 2009 to eight years in prison with all but three years suspended after he pleaded guilty to a heroin trafficking charge in Hancock County Superior Court. The court also ordered Power to serve three years probation upon his release.

According to court documents, Power’s probation officer filed a motion for revocation in June 2011 after Power was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. In September of that year, a hearing was held, where Power pleaded guilty to the new charges, admitted to violating his probation and was accepted in the county’s Adult Drug Treatment Court program.

In September 2013, Power, while driving, struck another vehicle and left the accident scene. Because Power tested positive for cocaine and opiate use after the accident, his probation officer asked for revocation of Power’s probation. At a December 2013 hearing, the court revoked Power’s probation, ordering him to serve the almost five years remaining on his prison sentence.

Maine law states that a person’s probation can be revoked if the court finds “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the person committed a crime for which they had not yet been convicted.

“Because we cannot be certain that the court found Power’s alleged new criminal conduct by the requisite standard of proof, the error affected the fairness of Power’s probation hearing,” justices wrote in their decision.

Justices remanded the matter to the trial court for a new probation hearing. No date has been set.

The 2009 conviction was not the first for Power. He previously had been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for heroin trafficking.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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