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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Appellant’s petition for release and discharge from the custody of the Commissioner of Health and Human Services pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 15, 104-A. The Court held that, contrary to Appellant’s argument on appeal, the superior court applied the correct standard when it denied Appellant’s petition for release and discharge and properly denied the petition where Appellant failed to prove that he “may be released or discharged without likelihood that [he] will cause injury to [himself] or to others due to a mental disease or mental defect.” View "Begin v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the superior court affirming in part the decision of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to deny portions of Appellants’ request for records pursuant to the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). The records at issue were a series of drafts of a letter that DACF sent to representatives and entities associated with Dubois Livestock Inc. and portions of emails that identified people who made complaints against Dubois Livestock. In denying those portions of the FOAA request, DACF asserted that the material contained privileged information and work product and therefore was not subject to disclosure. The court concluded that DACF had properly withheld most of the material at issue. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the court did not err by declining to order production of records that DACF claimed were within the confidential informant identity privilege and therefore not subject to disclosure. View "Dubois v. Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed in part and vacated in part an order of the superior court upholding in part a decision of the Maine Office of the Attorney General (OAG) denying Dubois Livestock, Inc.’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request for certain information related to an enforcement action filed against Dubois Livestock. Specifically, Dubois Livestock sought drafts of a letter sent by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to Dubois Livestock and a series of emails preparatory to a meeting held among agents of several state agencies in connection with the enforcement efforts. The OAG denied the FOAA request in its entirety. The superior court affirmed as to the drafts of the DACF letter, concluding that they were protected as work product, but reversed as to the emails, concluding that the emails were not privileged. The Supreme Court affirmed as to the draft letters but vacated the judgment as to the emails, holding that all of the documents in this case were protected work product material and not subject to disclosure pursuant to FOAA. View "Dubois v. Office of the Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment entered by the probate court granting the petition of Ella’s maternal grandmother for temporary guardianship, holding that the evidence did not support the court’s finding of a “temporarily intolerable” living situation for Ella. The probate court’s finding that a temporarily intolerable situated existed as to Ella living with her mother, Nicole, rested on its finding that Nicole’s home was not appropriate due to the limited amount of time she had been there and the existence of at least one pit bull dog, as well as Nicole’s testimony that she intended to stay at that home. The Supreme Judicial court held that these reasons were insufficient, as a matter of law, to justify an intrusion into Nicole’s fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of her child. View "In re Guardianship of Ella M. Grenier" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of aggravated assault. Defendant, a mixed martial arts fighter, repeatedly punched the victim in the head, rendering the victim unconscious. A jury found him guilty of aggravated assault. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction and that there was insufficient evidence supporting a finding that the State disproved self-defense. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the State presented sufficient evidence to prove that Defendant manifested an extreme indifference to the value of human life and to disprove Defendant’s self-defense justification beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State v. Matthews" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to two of her children pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). On appeal, Mother argued that the district court abused its discretion in proceeding with the termination hearing despite her request to replace her court-appointed counsel. Mother did not challenge the court’s findings of parental unfitness and that termination was in the children’s best interests. The Supreme Judicial Court held that, on the facts of this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in proceeding with the termination hearing. View "In re Children of Tasha R." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court denying the maternal grandmother’s petition to adopt Parker J., granting the adoption to Parker’s paternal grandmother on her petition, and also granting adoption, despite the lack of a petition, to the paternal grandmother’s partner. This adoption proceeding followed the termination of the parental rights of Parker’s biological parents. The court denied the adoption petitions of the material grandmother and material grandfather and granted the adoption petition of the paternal grandmother while also granting an adoption to the partner of the paternal grandmother. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment because (1) the paternal grandmother’s partner did not petition for adoption and had no formal commitment to Parker or even to the paternal grandmother, and (2) the trial court considered and decided the matter treating the paternal grandmother and her partner as if they were joint petitioners. View "Adoption of Parker J." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her children, holding that the record supported the finding of parental unfitness. Specifically, the Court held (1) based on the facts found by the district court, all of which had evidentiary support, the court did not err finding that Mother remained unable to protect the children from jeopardy or take responsibility for them within a time that is reasonably calculated to meet their needs; and (2) the court did not err in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. View "In re Children of Dani B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her children, holding that the record supported the finding of parental unfitness. Specifically, the Court held (1) based on the facts found by the district court, all of which had evidentiary support, the court did not err finding that Mother remained unable to protect the children from jeopardy or take responsibility for them within a time that is reasonably calculated to meet their needs; and (2) the court did not err in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. View "In re Children of Dani B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the appeal brought by Appellant challenging his sentence requiring him to pay $7,500 in restitution based on his involvement in damaging rental property from which he was evicted. The appeal was dismissed because Appellant did not properly assert that there was any illegality apparent on the record. Rather, Appellant challenged only the factual and discretionary determinations of the lower court. Because these are decisions that the Supreme Judicial Court does not review in a direct appeal of a sentence, the Court dismissed Appellant's appeal. View "State v. Plante" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law