Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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Me. Rev. Stat. 17-A, 1112 is facially constitutional, and, in the instant case, the trial court’s admission of a lab certificate in lieu of live witness testimony pursuant to that statute was not a violation of Defendant’s right of confrontation. Defendant appealed from a judgment, entered after a jury trial, convicting her of unlawful trafficking of a schedule W drug. At issue was whether the trial court’s admission of a lab certificate identifying a substance exchanged in a controlled purchase as methamphetamine. The court admitted the lab certificate in lieu of the testimony of the chemist pursuant to section 1112. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 1112 is facially constitutional; (2) Defendant’s failure to timely demand a live witness pursuant to section 1112 effected a voluntary, knowing, and intentional waiver of her Confrontation Clause rights; and (3) therefore, the trial court did not err in allowing into admission the chemist’s certificate in lieu of live testimony. View "State v. Jones" on Justia Law

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The motion court did not err by applying the inevitable discovery doctrine to deny Defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs found on his person before the issuance of a search warrant. The Unified Criminal Docket found Defendant guilty of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs and ordering a criminal forfeiture. In denying Defendant’s motion to suppress drug evidence, the trial court found that law enforcement officers’ warrantless entry into an apartment was not justified by exigent circumstances but that it was highly likely that the officers inevitably would have discovered drugs. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress, holding (1) the motion court did not err by finding that the police inevitably would have discovered the drug evidence at issue by lawful means; and (2) application of the inevitable discovery doctrine does not create an incentive for police misconduct and does not significantly weaken Fourth Amendment protections. View "State v. Prinkleton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of possession of sexually explicit material depicting a minor under twelve years old and the sentence imposed in connection with the conviction. The court imposed a sentence of three years’ incarceration and two years of probation with certain conditions, including a restriction against unsupervised contact with children under the age of sixteen years. Defendant appealed, challenging the denial of his motion to suppress his statements to the police and the condition of his probation permitting him only supervised contact with his infant son. The Supreme Court held (1) the admission of Defendant’s confession was fundamentally fair; and (2) the “no unsupervised contact” provision of Defendant’s probation was within the court’s authority and did not violate Defendant’s constitutional rights. View "State v. Annis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial, which Defendant brought pursuant to the post-conviction DNA analysis statute, Me. Rev. Stat. 15, 2135-2138. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion by (1) finding that Defendant failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that new DNA evidence admitted at the hearing on Defendant’s motion made it probable that a different verdict would result upon a new trial; and (2) declining to consider evidence pointing to an alternative suspect upon finding that the proffered evidence was not relevant to the new DNA evidence. View "State v. Bates" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The evidence was insufficient to support the superior court’s revocation of Defendant’s probation. Defendant was sentenced to a term of years and probation after pleading guilty to gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact. Several years after Defendant served his sentence, the State filed a motion to revoke Defendant’s probation on the grounds that Defendant failed to report to his probation officer as required on two occasions and walked in front of a public school. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court, holding that the State failed to meet its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Defendant was on probation at the time of his alleged probation violations. View "State v. Kibbe" on Justia Law

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