Supreme Court Oral Argument Schedule & Summaries


Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Sitting as the Law Court

Caution: This schedule is subject to change. The case synopses are prepared for the convenience of the public and are not to be construed as statements of the court.

Audio stream of oral arguments available.

As a service to the public, the Supreme Judicial Court provides live streaming of its oral arguments, and streaming of recordings of oral arguments for approximately two weeks after the week of arguments. To listen, go to our streaming page.

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
 
  9:50 a.m.   Cum-18-126   Guardianship of David A. Palmer
     

Attorneys: James S. Hewes, Cody M.P. Hopkins

The Cumberland County Probate Court determined that David A. Palmer was incapacitated and appointed the Department of Health and Human Services to be his public guardian. Palmer appeals, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the Probate Court's determination that he was incapacitated and that the Probate Court erred in admitting into evidence a psychologist's written report of his mental capacity.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Ken-17-518   State of Maine v. Arthur J. Jones
     

Attorneys: Frayla Tarpinian, Meghan Maloney, Christy Stilphen, Stephen C. Smith, T. Evan Fisher

Arthur Jones was convicted of unlawful sexual contact (Class C) and assault (class D). Jones appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in admitting a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) report in evidence because the report was created for law enforcement purposes and not for the purposes of medical diagnosis and treatment.

 
  11:30 a.m.   Cum-18-58   Packgen, Inc. v. Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A.
     

Attorneys: Phillip E. Johnson, George T. Dilworth, Jenna M. McCormick

The Superior Court dismissed Packgen, Inc.'s complaint against Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A. (BSSN) for legal malpractice in failing to ensure that a notice of claim was properly sworn. Packgen appeals, arguing that the Superior Court erred in determining that the statute of limitations barred Packgen's claims because (1) its amended complaint alleged negligent omissions committed by BSSN during the six-year period immediately preceding a tolling agreement between the parties; (2) the limitations period did not start until the date of BSSN's last negligent omission; and (3) under the "continuous representation" doctrine, the limitations period did not start until the attorney-client relationship between the parties ended.

 
  2:20 p.m.   Yor-18-29   Leonard A. Pierce et al. v. Town of Ogunquit
     

Attorneys: Sandra L. Guay, Natalie L. Burns

The Ogunquit Planning Board denied the application of the owners of two waterfront properties to construct across a salt marsh a walkway and pier with a seasonal ramp and float. The Superior Court affirmed that decision.

The landowners appeal, arguing that the Planning Board abused its discretion and erred by (1) exceeding its jurisdiction, (2) incorrectly defining the project area, and (3) relying on undisclosed communications and research by Board members as a basis for its decision.

 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
 
  9:50 a.m.   SRP-17-364   State of Maine v. Anthony Lord
     

Attorneys: Donald W. Macomber, Abaigeal M. Ridge, Andrea S. Manthorn

Anthony Lord pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, an attempted murder (Class A), and arson (Class A). Lord was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the murders and concurrent sentences for the other convictions.

Lord appeals from the sentences, arguing that the sentencing court erred by (1) improperly considering several of the other crimes committed during his crime spree in determining his basic sentence, and (2) "double-counting" his status as a felon.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Pen-18-2   State of Maine v. Robert G. Burton
     

Attorneys: Donald W. Macomber, Jeremy Pratt, Ellen Simmons

Robert Burton was convicted of murder and illegal possession of a firearm (class C). Burton appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) allowing Burton's prior convictions for burglary and theft to be used to impeach him and (2) refusing to allow jurors to answer "unsure" to questions included on a voir dire quesionnaire and excluding six of Burton's proposed juror questions from the questionnaire.

 
  11:30 a.m.   Wal-18-73   Ian M. Fraser v. Rachel E. Fraser
     

Attorneys: Christopher K. MacLean, Laura P. Shaw, Natasha C. Irving

The District Court entered a judgment of divorce between the parties that provided for shared parental rights and responsibilities and shared primary residence of the parties' minor child. Rachel Fraser appeals, arguing that (1) the District Court's specific findings that her daughters' testimony about Ian Fraser's violence did not corroborate her testimony and that there was "no basis" for Rachel's claim that Ian threatened her life were not supported by evidence in the record; and (2) because Ian had committed domestic abuse, the District Court erred in failing to (a) include certain conditions for the contact between Ian and the child and in awarding shared primary residence without a finding that doing so was in the child's best interest and (b) make adequate provision for the safety of her and the child.

 
  1:30 p.m.   Pen-18-42   State of Maine v. Chrstiopher J. Martin
     

Attorneys: Chris Ka Sin Chu, Darrick X. Banda

Christopher Martin was convicted of OUI (Class D) after a jury trial. Martin appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the State failed to prove that there were sufficient exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless blood draw.

 
  2:20 p.m.   Ken-18-64   David Trask v. Fraternal Order of Police et al.
     

Attorneys: Robert E. Sandy, Jr., Lisa Copnehaver, Benjamin K. Grant

The Superior Court affirmed a decision of the Maine Labor Relations Board (MLRB) that determined that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a union that represented the bargaining unit of which David Trask was a member, did not breach its duty of fair representation to Trask. Trask appeals, arguing that (1) the MLRB's decision was not supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the MLRB committed errors of law in concluding that impact bargaining over the "contracting out" work is not mandatory and that FOP's failure to pursue bargaining on behalf of Trask was not arbitrary.

 
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Cumberland County Courthouse, Portland
 
  9:50 a.m.   And-18-55   State of Maine v. Christopher W. Roy
     

Attorneys: Patricia A. Mador, Tina Heather Nadeau

After entering a conditional guilty plea, Christopher Roy was convicted of three counts of possession of sexually explicit material of a minor under 12. Roy appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence obtained by an investigator who executed a search warrant because (1) the description of the "computer-type equipment" to be searched and seized was overly broad; (2) the warrant did not describe with "scrupulous exactitude" items that were presumptively protected by the First Amendment; (3) the information contained in the investigator's affidavit accompanying the warrant application was stale; and (4) the investigator was not acting in good faith in executing the defective warrant given that the investigator who executed the warrant was the same investigator who requested it.

 
  10:40 a.m.   Aro-18-25   State of Maine v. Dennis F. Winchester
     

Attorneys: James G. Mitchell Jr., John W. Tebbetts

Dennis Winchester was convicted of theft (Class C) and violating conditions of release (Class E). Winchester subsequently entered a conditional guilty plea on multiple other charges. Winchester appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence based on (1) spoliation of evidence and (2) lack of sufficient specificity in certain warrants.