CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Supreme Court this week affirmed a decision by Laramie County District Court Judge Catherine Rogers to revoke a man’s probation.
Michael Angelo Sena Jr. appealed his probation revocation for failing to register as a sex offender after his underlying sentence of three to five years in prison was imposed. Sena faced probation revocation in two separate, but related, cases concerning sex offender address registration.
The court examined two issues in the appeal: if the district court had the authority to revoke Sena’s probation, and if the district court abused its discretion by revoking his probation.
Sena argued the court didn’t have authority to revoke his probation in one of the cases because his probation for that case hadn’t started.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court analyzed the term “probationary period” and its various legal meanings. It ultimately affirmed the district court’s decision and found the district court did have the authority to revoke Sena’s probation and didn’t abuse its discretion.
However, in a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Kate Fox said she doesn’t agree that Sena’s probation could be revoked because he had not started serving his probation in one of his cases.
“I would hold that section 305© (of Wyoming law) did not grant the district court authority to revoke a probationary sentence that Mr. Sena had not begun serving,” the dissent said.
According to the opinion:
In 2015, Sena failed to let law enforcement know his change of address within the three days required by Wyoming’s sex offender registration laws. Sena pleaded guilty to the crime via a plea agreement, and was sentenced to three to five years in prison, suspended for three years of probation.
The state also filed a second probation revocation after he didn’t make payments on his restitution owed, and didn’t respond to his probation and parole agent or show up to office visits. He then pleaded no contest and got his probation reinstated again. He was also charged with failing to update his address in his other case.
Several violations later, Sena was accused of consuming alcohol three separate times in June 2018, reporting false employment to his probation officer in one case and having an unknown location in his other case.
During his probation revocation hearing, Sena admitted to all four of the allegations made against him. Rogers then revoked his probation in both cases and sentenced him to prison consecutively for three to five years.