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January 2015 Archives

State v. Lovett 2015 ME 7

Defendant was charged with unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs and seeking criminal forfeiture of cash discovered during the search of his vehicle by Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) agents. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence gathered from the search. The suppression court denied the motion, concluding that MDEA had sufficient probable cause to search the vehicle based on the totality of the circumstances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Defendant failed to show his reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle, his Fourth Amendment rights were not violated by the search.

Daggett v. Sternick 2015 ME 8

Mother and Father were the biological parents of a daughter born in 2010. The district court awarded primary residence of the child to Mother, who intended to move to Florida with the child. Father appealed, contending, inter alia, that the district court erred by not considering the statutory protections afforded to him pursuant to the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MMUMA) when it determined custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the custody award did not run afoul of the statutory protections identified in MMUMA because the court's factual findings did not rely on Father's legal marijuana use but on his distraction and impairment while parenting; and (2) the court did not abuse its discretion in granting primary residence to Mother and allowing her to relocate to Florida.

Attorney Brett Gabor Gets Minor Consuming Alcohol Charges Dropped

Attorney Gabor successfully defended a 20-year old member of the armed services arrested and charged with Resisting Arrest and Minor Consuming Alcohol. The State did not proceed with the resisting arrest charge at the arraignment and all bail restrictions upon the client were lifted. After further negotiations, the State was persuaded to dismiss the allegation of a minor consuming alcohol without trial.

Attorney Zerillo gets attempted gross sexual assault and domestic violence assault charges dismissed in York County

Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple Shareholder Timothy Zerillo was able to get an attempted gross sexual assault and domestic violence assault indictment dismissed today in York County. The agreement, which the alleged victim had some disagreement with, included a misdemeanor nonsexual, nondomestic assault conviction for a very short county jail sentence. Through this negotiation and plea-bargaining, we were able to save our client from long jail time, felonies and lifetime sex offender registration.

Mike Whipple Attends 2015 National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Seminar in Aspen, Colorado

Michael Whipple has traveled to Colorado to attend a national criminal defense seminar. Topics that he is learning more about include: prosecutorial misconduct, recent changes in the criminal sentencing guidelines and updates on defending child pornography cases.

Mike Whipple Gets Federal Heroin Trafficking Case Dismissed

Mike Whipple, a Shareholder at Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple, P.A., was able to achieve a rare dismissal in United States District Court in Portland this week. The Client was arrested for heroin trafficking and hired Attorney Whipple. After extensive investigation and intervention, the federal authorities agreed not to charge Attorney Whipple's client. Congratulations to our Client and to Mike Whipple!

Dismissal of Portland Operating Under the Influence and Driving to Endanger Case Achieved by Attorneys Weyrens and Gabor

Attorneys David Weyrens and Brett Gabor of Hallett, Zerillo and Whipple, P.A., obtained a dismissal of all charges against a man who was arrested for OUI and Driving to Endanger. The police were confident with the blood alcohol content readings from their intoxilyzer machine, which they thought showed an intoxicated driver. Attorneys Weyrens and Gabor were able to prove that our client was having a diabetic reaction, and was hyperglycemic. As a result, his intoxilyzer test was elevated by his medical condition, not by alcohol.

Michael Whipple Wins a PFA in Farmington

Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple Shareholder Michael Whipple had an excellent result in a Protection from Abuse (PFA) case in Farmington today. Our client was served with PFA the day before Christmas. Our client was devastated and left alone over the holidays. Attorney Whipple took time from his own holiday to contact the Client this weekend and appeared today for the PFA hearing. The opposition was righteous and refused to even discuss the matter prior to the hearing. We took the case to trial and the other side broke down on the stand during Whipple's questioning. As a result, the judge granted a directed judgment and denied the PFA. A great win for Attorney Whipple and our Client!

Tim Zerillo gets deferred disposition and felony trafficking case dismissed in York County

In York County today, Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple partner, Tim Zerillo, was able to achieve a deferred disposition for his client charged with felony drug trafficking of oxycodone. This occurred while a hearing on a motion to suppress was pending, in which we argued that the odor of marijuana was not sufficient probable cause to search a motor vehicle. This deferred disposition will mean that the client's case will be dismissed without a felony. There will be no other punishment.

State v. Perkins

Justia Opinion Summary  Following a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of burglary, theft by unauthorized taking, and violation of a condition of release. The court imposed an aggregate sentence of seven years' imprisonment. On appeal, Defendant argued, inter alia, that the trial court effectively prevented him from testifying when, prior to trial, it reserved ruling on the extent to which the State would be permitted to impeach his potential testimony. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not obviously err in declining to give Defendant a pretrial ruling; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

Nadeau v. Frydrych

Justia Opinion Summary  Robert Nadeau filed a complaint for protection from harassment against Lynnann Frydrych, alleging that Frydrych had engaged in acts of harassment against him since the end of their personal relationship. Frydrych moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and sought attorney fees on the basis that the complaint was frivolous and contained unwarranted personal attacks on her. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that Nadeau had not sufficiently alleged harassment, and awarded Frydrych attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that the allegations in the complaint were sufficient to overcome a motion to dismiss, and because the complaint was not frivolous, the court abused its discretion by awarding Frydrych attorney fees and costs.

Ireland v. Tardiff

Justia Opinion Summary  Lawrence Ireland and Brooke Tardiff were divorced by a divorce judgment entered by the district court. The district court later found Ireland in contempt for his failure to make timely payment to Tardiff of the judgment amount. Ireland moved to reconsider and moved for further findings regarding his finances and ability to make the payments as ordered. The court denied the motion and found that Ireland was capable of meeting the payments as outlined in the contempt order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) properly found that Ireland had the ability to comply with the court order, at least in part, and failed or refused to comply with that order; and (2) thus did not abuse its discretion in finding Ireland in contempt.