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State v. Thornton

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

February 12, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CLIFFORD W. THORNTON

Argued December 9, 2014

Joseph Mekonis, Esq., Saco, for appellant Clifford Thornton.

Carletta Bassano, District Attorney, and Paul Cavanaugh II, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District VII, Ellsworth, for appellee State of Maine.

Joseph Mekonis, Esq., for appellant Clifford Thornton.

Paul Cavanaugh II, First Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

OPINION

Page 32

GORMAN, J.

[¶1] Clifford W. Thornton appeals fro a judgment of conviction for one count of unlawful sexual contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1) (2014); two counts of unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E); two counts of unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 2000); one count of unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 1999); and one count of unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 1996), entered by the court ( Hunter, J.) after a jury trial.[1] Thornton challenges the court's decision to allow the amendment of the indictment, as well as the admission of certain evidence at trial. We amend the judgment to correct a scrivener's error, and affirm the conviction as amended.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] On January 14, 2013, a Washington County grand jury issued an indictment against Thornton that charged him with nine counts involving three different victims: Count I--gross sexual assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 253(1)(C) (2014); Count II--unlawful sexual contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1) (2014); Count III--unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 1999); Count IV--unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 1996); Count V--unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 2000); Count VI--unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 255(1)(C) (Supp. 2000); Count VII--unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E); Count VIII-unlawful sexual contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1); and Count IX--unlawful sexual contact (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(E-1).[2] With respect to Count IX in particular, the State alleged that Thornton had committed the offense of unlawful sexual contact between the dates of September 17, 2005, and March 24, 2006, and alleged that, at the time of this offense, the victim was not yet twelve

Page 33

years old. Thornton pleaded not guilty to all nine counts.

[¶3] The court conducted a five-day jury trial in November of 2013, during which the State established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the victim was born on March 25, 1993, and from the time that she was three until she turned thirteen years old on March 25, 2006, Thornton periodically subjected the victim to sexual contact, including touching her genitals and forcing ...


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