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Maine Supreme Court

Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

7 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

Non-Partisan

Location(s): 
Portland
Caseload: 

670

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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 37: Shon HopwoodListen Here
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Self-Incrimination in Interviews Inexcusable in Court

Thu, 07/10/2014

State of Maine v. Kittredge: Kittredge was called to meet with his probation officer at the probation office. When he arrived, he was met and interviewed by two state troopers. During the interview, Kittredge answered questions in an incriminating way, connecting him with a burglary and theft. Kittredge was convicted. He appealed stating that his answers should be suppressed in court because he was not read his Miranda Rights.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Maine ruled in favor of the State because since Kittredge was not in actual custody when he made the statements, all information he gave the officers was voluntary and therefore Miranda Rights do not apply. As a result, the incriminating statements that Kittredge made are sufficient evidence and do support his conviction. This decision does align with the law code however, it is notable to highlight the specificity of when an individual can claim self-incrimination.

Read the full decision here
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"Thieves", Deceased, and Demanded Inheritance

Tue, 06/24/2014

Laprel v. Going: After Going’s parents passed away and failed to leave any land to him, Going demanded land from his cousin. Laprel, the cousin, had lawfully purchased the demanded land from Going’s parents. Laprel responded to the claims by filing suit against Going for slander, libel, and inter alia. The Superior Court of Maine ruled a summary judgment in favor of Laprel. Going appealed the decision.

Decision

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court, affirming that the Superior Court was acting within its power when ruling on the case and that it did not err in ruling a summary judgment for the slander claim. The results of this decision establish the understanding that privately bought land by an individual from another who later dies does not make the purchaser a thief in terms of inheritance. Calling the purchaser a thief and offering a ruling on the matter are both subjects that are under the legal jurisdiction of the state judicial system.

Read the full decision here
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Small Farmers Restricted From Selling Without License

Tue, 06/17/2014

State of Maine v. Dan Brown: Maine’s raw milk regulation states that an individual must be licensed to sell raw milk, that the product must be labeled, and that it must be sold out of a licensed food establishment. Dan Brown, a farmer, was convicted in violation of this law and charged a $1,000 fine. Brown moved to appeal this case on the grounds that direct-to-consumer food sales should be exempt from the licensing requirement and argued that the licensing requirements were too costly for small scale, independent farmers to comply with.

Decision

The Maine Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court, holding that Brown must pay the $1,000 fine in violation of the regulation. The Court established that the regulation is just and appropriate in its requirement of raw milk distributors to have a license due to the threat of foodborne illnesses. As a result, independent individuals who are small scale farmers cannot sell these milk product without meeting these costly requirements.

Read the full decision here
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Witness Excused on Whim of Court

Tue, 06/10/2014

State of Maine v. Peck: Peck was called to court on animal cruelty charges concerning her ownership of 26 cats that were taken over and cared for by the State at the cost of $36,800. In court, Peck issued a subpoena for her veterinarian to testify before the court but the veterinarian contacted the court and argued that he would suffer a major inconvenience by being required to appear in court. As a result, the lower court quashed the subpoena. Peck was convicted. Peck appealed to the higher court.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Maine ruled that the lower courts were justified in quashing the subpoena that Peck delivered. The Court stated that “although it is generally the best practice to allow the parties to be heard on the motion, Peck presents no information on appeal demonstrating that a hearing would have changed the outcome of the motion or the trial.” The ability of the court to dismiss witnesses or accept their refusal to appear in court based on the subjective judgment that their testimony would not affect the outcome is concerning when considering a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Read the full decision here