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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for operating under the influence (OUI), operating after habitual offender revocation, and driving to endanger, entered by the trial court after a jury trial. The court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for a mistrial after an officer testified that Defendant was on probation at the time of his arrest; (2) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct; and (3) the trial court did not err by not instructing the jury on the competing harms justification as to the charges of operating under the influence and driving to endanger. View "State v. Nobles" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the amended judgment entered in the district court granting Edward Manter’s motion to modify and amending the parties’ 2008 divorce judgment as amended. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion or err when it modified the parents’ rights of contract; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Manter’s motion for amended or additional findings; and (3) because the record was devoid of evidence regarding interim child support payments, it could not be determined whether the district court erred when it determined that Master was nearly $11,000 in arrears of his child support obligation. The Supreme Court remanded the matter to the district court for further proceedings. View "Boyd v. Manter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Me. Rev. Stat. 39-A, 221 entitles an employer to a credit for workers’ compensation benefits previously paid for the same liability period when the employee was also receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Plaintiff was paid total incapacity workers’ compensation benefits by his employer, Interstate Brands International, after he sustained injuries in an initial workplace accident. For three years, Plaintiff collected Social Security retirement benefits while receiving the full amount of the workers’ compensation benefits. When Interstate learned that Plaintiff was receiving Social Security benefits, it sought a credit against the ongoing incapacity payments pursuant to section 221. A hearing officer determined that Interstate was entitled to a credit of nearly $25,000. The Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division vacated the decree, concluding that section 221 does not allow a reduction based on incapacity overpayments made in the past. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the Appellate Division’s decision, holding that Interstate was entitled to a credit for incapacity benefit overpayments made to Plaintiff during the same period when he received Social Security retirement benefits. View "Urrutia v. Interstate Brands International" on Justia Law

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Me. Rev. Stat. 39-A, 221 entitles an employer to a credit for workers’ compensation benefits previously paid for the same liability period when the employee was also receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Plaintiff was paid total incapacity workers’ compensation benefits by his employer, Interstate Brands International, after he sustained injuries in an initial workplace accident. For three years, Plaintiff collected Social Security retirement benefits while receiving the full amount of the workers’ compensation benefits. When Interstate learned that Plaintiff was receiving Social Security benefits, it sought a credit against the ongoing incapacity payments pursuant to section 221. A hearing officer determined that Interstate was entitled to a credit of nearly $25,000. The Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division vacated the decree, concluding that section 221 does not allow a reduction based on incapacity overpayments made in the past. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the Appellate Division’s decision, holding that Interstate was entitled to a credit for incapacity benefit overpayments made to Plaintiff during the same period when he received Social Security retirement benefits. View "Urrutia v. Interstate Brands International" on Justia Law

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In this divorce action, the district court failed to set forth adequate findings on the issues raised by Appellant in a Me. R. Civ. P. 52 motion regarding spousal support and property classification. On appeal from a divorce judgment, Appellant argued that the district court erred when it failed to classify certain real estate as marital or nonmarital and abused its discretion in its award of spousal support. The Supreme Court held (1) the denial of Appellant’s Me. R. Civ. P. 52 motion regarding the property classification was an abuse of discretion because the court neither set forth adequate findings on this issue in its judgment nor made findings on the issue raised by Appellant in his Rule 52 motion; and (2) the court abused its discretion when it denied Appellant’s Rule 52 motion as it pertained to the spousal support award. View "Mooar v. Greenleaf" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the trial court denying the State’s motion to reconsider the court’s order dismissing, with prejudice, thirteen of the State’s fifteen counts against Defendant as a sanction for an alleged discovery violation. Although the trial court noted that the discovery violation was not the result of any bad faith or improper effort, it determined that dismissal was the appropriate sanction. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case to the trial court, holding that the court erred as a matter of law by concluding that the State committed a discovery violation, and therefore, it had no authority to sanction the State. View "State v. Hassan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of hindering apprehension, obstructing government administration, and refusing to submit to arrest. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court’s jury instructions on the justification of defense of premises were deficient. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) a citizen is not justified in using nondeadly force against a law enforcement officer for the purpose of defending one’s premises; and (2) because the Criminal Code does not create a justification that allowed Defendant to use nondeadly force against the law enforcement officer in this case in order to defend her premises, Defendant was not entitled to any instruction on that issue. View "State v. French" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Department of Health and Human Services initiated a child protection proceeding. The court entered a preliminary protection order and placed Corey in Department custody on April 22, 2017, the day the child was born. After a contested hearing the district court entered a jeopardy order with respect to Corey, including a provision, based on the court’s finding that continued reunification services were inconsistent with the permanence plan, relieving the Department of its obligation to provide Corey’s mother with reunification services under 22 M.R.S. 4041(2)(A-2)(2). The court made findings that the mother has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and struggles with daily functioning and social interactions. According to her psychiatric nurse practitioner, the mother can do no more than manage her own activities of daily living; she has been living at a homeless shelter for seven years and cannot live there with a child, nor could she live in a group home with a child. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, finding that the determination of jeopardy was supported by the evidence. View "In re Corey T." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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At issue was the application of the consent to adoption statute, Me. Rev. Stat. 18-A, 9-302, to contested adoption proceedings heard in the district court following a district court judgment terminating parental rights concerning the child. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that Foster Parents had met their burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department of Health and Human Services had acted unreasonably in withholding its consent to their adoption of Child. Because Child’s parents’ rights had been terminated and because the Department had legal custody of Child, section 9-302(a)(3) required that the Department’s written consent had to be obtained before any adoption could be granted. After a hearing, the district court found that the Department unreasonably withheld its consent to Foster Parents’ adoption petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the evidence in the record supported the trial court’s findings and discretionary determinations. View "In re Adoption of Paisley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court concluded that former York County Probate Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau violated Rule 2.11(A) of the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct when he participated in the resolution of a case after acknowledging that he would be required to recuse for bias if an evidentiary hearing were necessary. The court accepted the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability’s recommendation and ordered that Judge Nadeau be publicly reprimanded for violating Rule 2.11(A), noting that, while a sanction was warranted for Judge Nadeau’s misconduct, the need to deter others from similar misconduct was tempered by the fact that Judge Nadeau was no longer a judicial officer and was serving a suspension from the practice of law. View "In re Robert M.A. Nadeau" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics