State v. Nelson

In State v. Nelson, 170 Vt. 125, 742 A.2d 1248 (1999), the question presented was whether the Legislature had intended to eliminate a trial court's discretion to prohibit a defendant from driving as a condition of probation for grave vehicular offenses. The Court wrote: "Recognizing the importance of probation to a trial court's performance of its traditional judicial responsibility in sentencing, and the tolerance with which courts have traditionally viewed overlapping spheres of authority, this Court should not lightly infer a legislative intent to strip the trial courts of such power." (Id. at 129, 742 A.2d at 1251.) The Court concluded that, had the Legislature actually intended to limit the discretion available to a trial court in fashioning conditions of probation, "it would have plainly said so." Id. The Court in Nelson declined to read such an intent into a statute which was otherwise silent on the subject.