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September 2010 Archives

Article on Confrontation Clause Published

On September 9, 2010, the Maine Lawyer's Review published an article by yours truly titled "Confrontation Clause Rights in Maine in Domestic Violence Cases."  The article is intended to give lawyers a primer on how to handle Confrontation Clause issues as they arise in Domestic Assault cases.  -Tim

Drug Case with Significant Complications

Attorney Amy Robidas suggested I post the story of our recently complicated drug case, so I decided to take her suggestion.I was hired by the client to handle a felony drug possession out of York County from 2007.  He had a prior Aggravated Trafficking conviction he served time on (I didn't represent him) and other drug convictions out of Massachusetts.  He had a prior attorney that got him an offer of 3 years straight time in custody in 2007.  He no showed his Court date in 2007, and hired me when he got picked up on a warrant in 2010.Long story short, we had a very difficult time convincing the Assistant Attorney General into giving him more reasonable time to serve then the 3 years she offered.  I went to York County for a docket call earlier in the month, and the Assistant Attorney General agreed to offer him a straight setence of 1 year with no probation.  My client was thrilled.  We decided to wait to enter the plea for a few weeks so he could make arrangements back home.On my way back to my office in Portland, I got a call from my office manager that the federal drug enforcement agency had my client arrested in the parking lot.  I turned the car around, violating several traffic laws in the process, and headed back to York County Superior Court, where I found my client arrested for a sealed 2007 federal warrant, on different charges involving crack cocaine.At this point, I was extremely happy we hadn't entered the plea minutes earlier in York County.  As many of you know, you can get life sentences handed out in federal court with the appropriate prior predicate offenses.  I spoke to my client, told him not to speak to law enforcement, and he was charged in federal court.So, this poor guy goes from thinking he is doing 1 year and putting his past behind him, and within minutes he's facing a minum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.There is a happy ending to this story.  We find out a week or two later that the feds lost the evidence in their case.  They classified it incorrectly internally.  Credit to the U.S. Attorney's office: they didn't fool around, they simply dismissed the case when they found out.  Our client walked right out of there.Miracles do happen...Tim

.12 OUI Dismissed

Attorney Amy Robidas of Zerillo Law, LLC was able to get a .12 OUI dismissed in York County this week.  Way to go Amy!  --Tim

Injury Case for Accident at Smiling Hill Farm Settled

Zerillo Law, LLC has settled a personal injury lawsuit today for an auto accident that occured on County Road near Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook.  We generally do not divulge the amount of settlements without the client's permission.  Our client was struck when another vehicle pulled in front of her from the Smiling Hill Farm onto County Road, where our client was traveling.  Our client had head, back, neck and knee injuries.  The lawsuit was filed in the Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland.

Man Arrested in Windham Shooting Death Involving Alleged Marijuana Dispute

From the Press Herald:Windham man held in shooting death; confrontation over marijuana suspected

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@mainetoday.com

Staff Writer A 44-year-old Windham man was charged Tuesday night with the shooting death of David Harmon, also of Windham, in what police said was a confrontation involving the theft of marijuana.Joseph P. Green of 38 Roosevelt Trail was arrested around 7 p.m. at his mother's home in Casco and charged with murdering Harmon, 40, whose body was found Aug. 31 on Green's property.Harmon was last seen by his wife when she dropped him off at 5:15 a.m. Aug. 31 at the corner of Land of Nod Road and Cole Road. His body was found later that night at the base of an 8-foot ledge just north of there.Melissa Harmon told Windham police that her husband planned to check out hunting sites. But Maine State Police said Tuesday that Green shot Harmon as he was trying to steal marijuana growing on Green's property.Lt. Brian McDonough, head of detectives for the state police in southern Maine, said evidence found near Harmon's body linked him to Green's property."He was killed on the property, then Green moved the body up to the (Central Maine Power) pole line" but not off his property, McDonough said.Police said there apparently had been thefts of Green's marijuana the night before Harmon was shot."The real motivation for the killing appears to be protection of marijuana on the property," McDonough said.State police spokesman Steve McCausland said it wasn't a large growing operation. He said Melissa Harmon knew about her husband's intention to steal Green's marijuana."She hasn't been charged at this point," McCausland said. "We haven't made that decision yet."An autopsy by the state Medical Examiner's Office showed that Harmon died from a "through-and-through wound consistent with a gunshot," and the death was ruled a homicide.

A handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered. The gun and other items seized last week during a search of Green's property were taken to the state police crime lab in Augusta.A corrections officer at the Cumberland County Jail said Green arrived at about 7:50 p.m. Tuesday night and was denied bail.

Green, who was once a heavy equipment operator, will likely make his first court appearance either today or Thursday.
Harmon's funeral service was held Tuesday afternoon. His mother-in-law, Janet Snow, learned of Green's arrest about an hour after he was taken into custody.
"Thank God," Snow said. "I'm just thankful and I hope justice is done."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: mcreamer@pressherald.com

Domestic Violence Assault Case Filed

We were pleased to achieve a filing in Cumberland County Superior Court today on a domestic violence assault charge.  The charge was that our client choked and struck the alleged victim in the neck.  She fled the Defendant's car, and ran to a 7-11 and had the attendant call the police.  What the alleged victim didn't tell the police is that she bit the Defendant on the arm while driving.  She also didn't tell the police that she had threatened to make up stories of the Defendant abusing him to get him in trouble with the police in the past, which our client had previously caught on tape.  The prosecutor filed the case.  A filing is simply a delayed dismissal.  Great results for our client.  --Tim