The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled against a woman who admitted to violating her probation on a drug charge but who disagreed with Barton County District Judge Ron Svaty’s decision to send her to prison for more than eight years.
Stephanie Epp-Sigmund, 47, previously pled no contest to the distribution of methamphetamine, a severity level 2 drug felony. Given her criminal history and the severity level of her crime, Epp-Sigmund’s sentence was in the presumptive prison category. At sentencing, Svaty imposed a 104-month prison term but granted Epp-Sigmund a dispositional departure and placed her on probation from that sentence. However, in 2017 the state sought to revoke her probation for her failure to report and for her failure to abstain from drug use.
At her probation violation hearing, Epp-Sigmund stipulated to these violations, telling the court that she was “on the run” for some time but was now prepared to abide by the terms of her probation.
Epp-Sigmund’s appeal argued that Svaty acted unreasonably when he revoked her probation and imposed her underlying prison sentence.
Svaty has since retired, but the Court of Appeals upheld his decision in a March 9 ruling.
Once a district court has established by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant has violated the conditions of his or her probation, the decision to revoke probation rests in the sound discretion of the district court.
Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor prosecuted the case and Assistant County Attorney Douglas Matthews was the attorney on appeal.