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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of operating under the influence. The court held (1) the trial court did not err when it denied Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence from a traffic stop because the officer had a reasonable articulable suspicion that Defendant was impaired, thus justifying the administration of field sobriety tests; (2) the trial court did not err in allowing testimony regarding Defendant’s performance on a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test because the proper foundation for its admission was established; (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction; and (4) the trial court did not err when it determined that prospective jurors were impartial. View "State v. Simons" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory claims against the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services and two Department employees. Plaintiffs alleged the same facts in an earlier action filed in federal court arising out of the same allegedly wrongful acts. The federal court dismissed all claims against the Commission for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and dismissed the claims against one of the employees for Plaintiffs’ failure timely to serve her. Approximately one year later, Plaintiffs filed this action. The superior court dismissed all of Plaintiffs’ claims, concluding that the claims against all three defendants were barred by the claim preclusion component of the doctrine of res judicata. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err by dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims against the two employees on claim preclusion grounds because the employees had a sufficiently close relationship to the Commissioner to satisfy the requirement of claim preclusion of “sufficient identically between the parties in the two actions.” View "Estate of Paul F. Treworgy v. Commissioner, Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed an order of the Public Utilities Commission granting in part and denying in part a petition for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to operate as a competitive local exchange carrier. Enhanced Communications of Northern New England, Inc. appealed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) after after finding that Enhanced met all three criteria set forth in section 4(A) of chapter 280 of the Commission’s regulations, the Commission could nonetheless deny Enhanced’s petition for a CPCN on public interest grounds; and (2) the Commission lawfully denied Enhanced’s petition on public interest grounds. View "Enhanced Communications of Northern New England, Inc. v. Public Utilities Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court affirming the Cape Elizabeth Code Enforcement Officer’s (CEO) issuance of a building permit, holding that the CEO’s decision granting the permit lacked sufficient factual findings to permit meaningful review. The owner of property abutting the property at issue appealed the CEO’s grant of the building permit to the Town Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The ZBA affirmed the CEO’s decision. The superior court affirmed. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the superior court’s judgment and remanded the matter, holding that the COE’s grant of the building permit was the operative decision and that decision lacked sufficient factual findings to permit meaningful appellate review. View "Appletree Cottage, LLC v. Town of Cape Elizabeth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the trial court denying Appellant’s petition for postconviction relief on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. Appellant was found guilty of gross sexual assault, assault, and tampering with a victim. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. Appellant then filed a petition for postconviction review, arguing in part that he was deprived of the effective assistance of trial counsel because trial counsel opened the door to damaging evidence or failed to object to certain testimony elicited on cross-examination. The trial court denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter, holding that, contrary to the trial court’s conclusion, Appellant did not waive his challenge to counsel’s effectiveness in responding to the testimony of a specific witness at trial. View "Salley v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the probate court approving, with a modification, the report of a referee for the distribution of the Estate of John W. Gilbert. Judith Gilbert, individually and as personal representative of the estate, appealed, arguing that the probate court erred by appointing a referee and adopting the report of the referee. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter for the probate court to conduct an evidentiary hearing as if a referee had never been involved in the matter and for the court to issue a decision detailing the distribution of the estate consistent with the evidence produced at that hearing, holding (1) because the referee failed to conduct a hearing before submitting his report, the probate court’s adoption of any portion of the referee’s report was error; and (2) the involvement of a referee in the matter was misguided. View "In re Estate of John W. Gilbert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the probate court approving, with a modification, the report of a referee for the distribution of the Estate of John W. Gilbert. Judith Gilbert, individually and as personal representative of the estate, appealed, arguing that the probate court erred by appointing a referee and adopting the report of the referee. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter for the probate court to conduct an evidentiary hearing as if a referee had never been involved in the matter and for the court to issue a decision detailing the distribution of the estate consistent with the evidence produced at that hearing, holding (1) because the referee failed to conduct a hearing before submitting his report, the probate court’s adoption of any portion of the referee’s report was error; and (2) the involvement of a referee in the matter was misguided. View "In re Estate of John W. Gilbert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Mother and Father pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i), (b)(ii). Specifically, the court held (1) the district court’s supported factual findings were sufficient for the court to have found at least one ground of parental unfitness; (2) the district court adequately explained how the deficits of the parents rendered each parent unable to meet the individual needs of each child; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that termination of the parents’ parental rights was in the children’s best interest. View "In re Myra B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Mother and Father pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i), (b)(ii). Specifically, the court held (1) the district court’s supported factual findings were sufficient for the court to have found at least one ground of parental unfitness; (2) the district court adequately explained how the deficits of the parents rendered each parent unable to meet the individual needs of each child; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that termination of the parents’ parental rights was in the children’s best interest. View "In re Myra B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of conviction entered in the trial court after a jury found Defendant guilty of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution. The court held (1) the trial court did not err when it denied Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of incriminating statements he made during a police interview and photographs of injuries to his body; and (2) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial based on the State’s presentation of allegedly perjured testimony during Defendant’s trial. View "State v. McNaughton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law