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April 2010 Archives

News: 2 Charged In Heroin Trafficking

From the Portland Press Herald. For more information on how Zerillo Law, LLC can help you if you have a case, click here.4:29 PM Westbrook police charge 2 with drug trafficking
By Trevor Maxwell tmaxwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer
Westbrook Police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency seized more than 5 grams of heroin and arrested two people on drug trafficking charges Monday night.According to a media release from the Westbrook Police Department, officers stopped a vehicle on Main Street around 8:30 p.m.Jennifer J. Grenier, 24, of Bridgton, was arrested on three outstanding warrants. She was transported to the Cumberland County Jail, where she was searched and allegedly was in possession of heroin.Korey Kittrell Barnes, 30, of South Portland, also was arrested as a result of the traffic stop. He was charged with trafficking in scheduled drugs, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, and possession of a usable amount of marijuana.

News: 3 Charged in Windham Bomb Explosion

From the Press Herald. For more information on Zerillo Law, LLC, attorneys in Portland, Maine, click here.3 charged in Windham bomb detonations
By David Hench dhench@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer
Windham police have charged three teenagers, one of whom is 18, with criminal use of explosives, after several homemade bombs were detonated.
Police charged Travis E. Carignan of Westbrook and two others this afternoon with felony charges after a series of seven detonations. Nobody was hurt but two mailboxes were damaged.Windham police and the state Fire Marshal's Office are continuing to investigate.Police say the bombs were made from toilet bowl cleaner and other household materials based on instructions found on the Internet. The suspects were fortunate their hands or eyes were not injured, police said.Police say the bombs were detonated in different sections of town, including Lazy Acres Lane, Highland Cliff Road, Webb Road and Covered Bridge Road.

Tim Zerillo Quoted in Article on Changes to Sex Offender Registry in the Kennebec Journal

Tim Zerillo of Zerillo Law, LLC was quoted in today's Kennebec Journal in an article by Betty Adams on recent legislative changes to Maine's Sex Offender Registry.
Changes to offender registry not seen as enough
Some defense attorneys sought more
By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer AUGUSTA -- The latest legislative session brought more changes to the state's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act -- but not enough, some defense attorneys say.Public Law Chapter 570 says registered sex offenders convicted between 1982 and 1999 will be allowed to verify their registration information more often by mail instead of in person, and more of them will be eligible to apply to be relieved of registration requirements.The law went into effect March 30.The changes were aimed at bringing provisions into line with a recent Maine Supreme Court decision regarding Eric Letalien, convicted in 1996 of gross sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl.At that time, Letalien was classified as a 15-year sex offender registrant and permitted to apply for a waiver of registration after being on it for five years.The supreme court ruled that Letalien could not be retroactively forced to become a lifetime registrant -- something that required him to reregister in person every 90 days for the rest of his life. The court ruling said he also could not be blocked from an option to apply for a registration waiver.Walter McKee, past president of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and chairman of its Legislative Committee, said the most recent law changes could have gone further."As much as it would have been preferable to just delete the retroactivity outright, in a small way, this makes the system a little more fair and makes registration a little less onerous," McKee said.Timothy Zerillo, a Portland lawyer and president of the association, concurred."It's a good half-measure in the sense that it gets rid of some of the retroactivity, but it's only a half measure," Zerillo said.
Another lawyer, Jim Mitchell, who represents a number of clients who challenged the constitutionality of the state's sex offender registration law, said the changes will have little effect on those cases."It looks as though it leaves us where we were under the old law in terms of our clients," Mitchell said. "It appears to me that (legislators) made the minimum required changes to try to conform to the law court's decision in Letalien."Fourteen of those plaintiffs, all known as John Doe, were removed from the registry under the law change last September."It doesn't appear that the new law is going to help the ones who couldn't get off the registry to begin with," Mitchell said.The provisions of Public Law 570 are complicated, and Laura Yustak Smith, an assistant attorney general, said the department is preparing letters to current registrants listing their obligations under the law.She said the new law changes the verification procedure "to bring it into line with what we believe is constitutional. It tracks the Alaska law, which was found to be constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court."Smith distinguishes between registration and Web publication of information."Registration is filling out the paperwork, verifying your address, notifying of changes in school and place of work," Smith said. "The Web site maintained by the State Bureau of Identification is the legislatively mandated means of publicizing certain information maintained by the registry. That Internet site is just one piece and is a means of communicating certain information to the public."Maine currently has two tiers of sex offender registrants. Matt Ruel, director of the State Bureau of Identification, which maintains the sex offender registry, said Friday there are 3,070 people on the registry -- 80 percent of them lifetime registrants.Since a law change in September 2009 allowed certain individuals to apply for a waiver, 371 people have been removed from the registry, Ruel said. Under the new law, people convicted between 1982 and 1999 who meet certain criteria can seek a waiver. He said the bureau so far has received several requests for applications for removal under the new law.Text of the law is available on the Web at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?paper=HP1305&PID=undefined&snum=124Betty Adams -- 621-5631badams@centralmaine.com

Governor Signs Emergency Sex Offender Bill Into Law

Governor Baldacci signed into law LD 1822 which makes changes to sex offender registration in emergency legislation. A summary of the new legislation follows. For information on Zerillo Law, LLC's practice or sex crimes, visit www.getzerillo.com.SUMMARYOn December 22, 2009, the Maine Law Court issued its decision in State v. Letalien, 2009 ME 130. The Law Court held that "the retroactive application of the lifetime registration requirement and quarterly in-person verification procedures of SORNA of 1999 to offenders originally sentenced subject to SORA of 1991 and SORNA of 1995, without, at a minimum, affording those offenders any opportunity to ever be relieved of the duty as was permitted under those laws, is ... an unconstitutional ex post facto law...." The Law Court stayed the mandate of the decision until March 31, 2010 in order to provide the Legislature the opportunity to deal with the issue. This bill of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety responds to the constitutional concern raised in Letalien in 2 ways.First, it amends the in-person verification provisions to conform with those of Alaska that were found constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003). Maine's ex post facto clause is interpreted consistently with the United States Constitution, so this bill provides for verification for persons retroactively required to register as lifetime registrants that is consistent with the Alaska law found constitutional in Smith v. Doe. In particular, the bill amends the verification of registry information for persons sentenced on or after January 1, 1982 and prior to September 18, 1999. For 10-year registrants sentenced during that time period, the Department of Public Safety, State Bureau of Identification shall verify the registration information in writing as provided by the bureau on each anniversary of the registrant's initial registration date and once every 5 years in person. For lifetime registrants sentenced in that time period, the bureau shall verify the registration information in writing as provided by the bureau every 90 days after that lifetime registrant's initial registration date and once every 5 years in person. The bill also provides that if there is a reason to believe the offender's appearance has changed significantly, the law enforcement agency or the bureau may instruct the offender in writing to appear in person at the registration agency with a current photograph or to allow a photograph to be taken or, if authorized in writing by the law enforcement agency or the bureau, to submit a new photograph without appearing in person.Second, the bill expands the provisions to allow certain registrants to be relieved of their duty to register on application and proof of legislatively established factors. An additional waiver scheme that authorized registrants to petition the court for relief from the duty to register was not included in the bill at this juncture due to a substantial fiscal note from the judicial branch, but may be considered again in the next legislative session.Specifically, the bill expands the existing exception that was enacted pursuant to Public Law 2009, chapter 365 to allow the opportunity for additional registrants to provide documentation to the State Bureau of Identification to determine if they qualify for relief from the duty to register. First, it allows persons sentenced in Maine on or after June 30, 1992 and prior to September 18, 1999 who were finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to applying for relief and who meet the other existing factors of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 34A, section 11202A to apply. Second, it allows persons sentenced in Maine on or after September 18, 1999 and prior to July 30, 2004 for a violation of former Title 17A, section 252 who were finally discharged at least 10 years prior to applying for relief and who meet the other existing factors of Title 34A, section 11202A to apply. The former crime of rape was added to the list of registerable offenses pursuant to Public Law 2003, chapter 711, so people convicted of rape prior to that law, which became effective on July 30, 2004, were also retroactively made lifetime registrants. Finally, it allows persons sentenced in another jurisdiction who were finally discharged from the correctional system at least 10 years prior to applying for relief, who have been in full compliance with the registration duties as a resident required under Title 34A, section 11202A, subsection 2 since September 12, 2009 and who meet the other existing criteria of Title 34A, section 11202A to apply. The intent of the amendments to Title 34A, section 11202A is to make the relief process available to Maine residents with out-of-state convictions, but not to encourage convicted offenders to move to Maine solely to evade registration requirements in their home states or in Maine. Accordingly, the legislation sets a date of September 12, 2009, the original effective date of this statutory exception, as the deadline by which persons with out-of-state convictions that require registration must be residents in compliance with Maine's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 1999 in order to qualify. This reduces the likelihood that persons will move to Maine primarily to take advantage of the exception. It also reduces the likelihood of factual disputes over residency status, as the determination depends on registration and verification paperwork that the registrant must already have filed with the State Bureau of Identification as part of the registration and verification process, and in which the registrant would have identified his or her own status. It decreases the burden on both the State Bureau of Identification and the applicant regarding obtaining documentation to establish residency for the purposes of the exception. Finally, it significantly reduces the likelihood of applicants fabricating evidence of residency for the purposes of the exception.The bill also changes the calculation of the 10-year registrant start times in Title 34A, section 11225A to make consistent the calculation of the 10-year registration period imposed retroactively for 10-year registrants sentenced January 1, 1982 to June 30, 1992 with that for 10-year registrants sentenced June 30, 1992 to September 17, 1999.