Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgments entered in two cases in the Unified Criminal Docket after a consolidated jury-waived trial. In the first case, the court found in favor of Defendant on the State’s complaint alleging that Defendant had fished without a valid fishing license. In the other case, the court denied the State’s petition for forfeiture of lobsters seized from Defendant’s boat. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the court did not err in concluding that the State had not met its burden of proving that Defendant’s fishing activity was unlawful; and (2) consequently, the court did not err by concluding that the lobsters seized from Defendant’s boat were not subject to forfeiture. View "State v. White" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss a complaint charging him with operating under the influence (OUI). In his motion to dismiss, Defendant argued that because he had already been convicted on a complaint containing the identical charging language, forcing him to defend against the charge violated his rights under the federal and state constitutions to be free from double jeopardy. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that, for the purpose of double jeopardy analysis, the two complaints did not arise from the same act or transaction and, therefore, the Double Jeopardy Clause did not require the dismissal of the complaint at issue. View "State v. Martinelli" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of operating after suspension, operating without a license, and operating an unregistered vehicle. The convictions were entered by the trial court after a jury found Defendant guilty. The court held (1) contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, the trial court had both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over the matter; (2) Defendant forfeited most of his arguments on appeal by failing to offer any legal argument with citation to proper authority; and (3) to the extent that Defendant adequately presented his arguments on appeal, they were without merit. View "State v. Salisbury" 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 two counts of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, following a two-day jury trial. Contrary to the arguments raised by Defendant on appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion or violate Defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause by allowing testimony about statements of an unavailable witness; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the guilty verdicts on the two counts of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. View "State v. Hall" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of domestic violence assault after a jury trial. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court abused its discretion by not presenting his proposed voir dire questions to the jury pool. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in conducting voir dire and that the court’s rejection of Defendant’s proposed questionnaire did not deny Defendant the right to a fair and impartial jury where the questionnaire contained inappropriate questions and incorrect statements of law. View "State v. Roby" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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A digital photograph transmitted over the internet is legally insufficient to constitute an “exposure” pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 17-A, 854(1)(B), which prohibits indecent conduct. Furthermore, Me. R. Evid. 1002, requiring the introduction of original writings, recordings or photographs, when available, did not require the exclusion of the victims’ testimony about digital messages that they received from the defendant in this case. The victims in this case were five teenage girls who each received from Defendant explicit digital images. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant’s convictions for indecent conduct and remanded for an entry of a judgment of acquittal as to those counts, holding that section 854(1)(B) did not apply to Defendant’s conduct. As to Defendant’s argument that the court erred in allowing the victims to testify from memory about the digital messages, under the best evidence rule, the State was required to introduce the original messages, if available, or make a showing that the messages could not be obtained before offering secondary evidence in the form of witness testimony. The court’s admission of one of the victim’s messages and another victim’s testimony complied with Me. R. Evid. 1002 and 1004. But as to two other victims, the testimony and message were admitted in contravention of the best evidence rule. View "State v. Legassie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction, entered after a jury trial, of operating under the influence. Defendant was stopped by a Winslow police officer after he drove his car over a sidewalk median in Waterville. Defendant argued that the motion court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the Winslow officer’s extraterritorial stop of his vehicle because the officer exceeded the authority granted to him by Me. Rev. Stat. 30-A, 2671 and Winslow, Me., Code 2-44. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances, the motion court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because the Winslow officer’s action of pursuing Defendant’s vehicle was reasonable, as was his initial contact with Defendant, and the officer did not intentionally make an excursion into Waterville to ferret out crime. View "State v. Turner" 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 operating under the influence. On appeal, Defendant argued that the court abused its discretion by excluding Defendant’s proposed expert testimony as to her peak blood alcohol concentration at the time she was driving. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the court did not err in excluding the expert testimony because Defendant’s offer of proof did not include a proffer of evidence that would demonstrate how her theoretical blood alcohol content would have affected her mental or physical faculties and because Me. Rev. Stat. 29-A, 2432(1) is inapplicable. View "State v. Souther" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the adjudications entered by the trial court after a consolidated nonjury trial that found that Defendant committed the traffic infraction of “failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle” and committed the civil violation of “motor vehicle violation resulting in death.” The court held (1) the court did not commit an error of law when it determined that the State was not required to prove the activity that Defendant was engaged in that distracted him; and (2) the evidence was sufficient for the court to find by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant was engaged in the operation of a motor vehicle while distracted. View "State v. Palmer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, rendered after a nonjury trial, that adjudicated Defendant of having committed two traffic infractions. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred by denying a motion in which he asserted a purported right to be represented in the matter by a person not licensed to practice law in Maine. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the judgment must be affirmed where Defendant did not identify any federal or State constitutional provision, statute, or common law authority contravened by the court when it denied his request to be represented by a person not authorized to practice law in the state of Maine. View "State v. Rupert" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law