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State v. Clarke

Supreme Court of Maine

June 9, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
STEVEN E. CLARKE

Argued: May 13, 2015

On the briefs:

Jeremy Pratt, Esq., and Ellen Simmons, Esq., Camden, for appellant Steven Clarke

Geoffrey Rushlau, District Attorney, and Jeffrey Baroody, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District VI, Rockland, for appellee State of Maine

At oral argument:

Jeremy Pratt, Esq., for appellant Steven Clarke

Jeffrey Baroody, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine

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

GORMAN, J.

[¶1] Steven E. Clarke appeals from a judgment of conviction for tampering with a witness (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1)(A)(2) (2014), and violating a condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A) (2014), entered by the court (Hjelm, J.) after a jury trial. Clarke challenges the sufficiency of the indictment to inform him of the tampering charge and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction on that charge. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] We view the facts established at trial, including all reasonable inferences from the evidence, in the light most favorable to the State. See State v. Wyman, 2015 ME 2, ¶ 15, 107 A.3d 1134. That evidence establishes that in 2013, the State charged Clarke with driving to endanger (Class E), 29-A M.R.S. § 2413(1) (2014). One of the State's witnesses in that matter was a man who observed Clarke's acts that gave rise to the driving to endanger charge.

[¶3] On September 18, 2013, before the trial on the charge of driving to endanger, Clarke went to the auto repair shop where the witness worked. Clarke began discussing the case and the upcoming hearing date, and told the witness and others that he could go to jail and lose his license if he were convicted. He suggested that "maybe [the witness] could miss [his] court date" and that the witness "should be quiet and not say anything, [he] didn't know anything." The witness reported the incident to the District Attorney's office.

[¶4] Clarke was indicted for tampering with a witness (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1)(A)(2), and violating a condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A), to which he pleaded not guilty. After a trial, the jury found Clarke guilty of tampering with a witness, and on that basis, the court found that Clarke had violated a condition of release by committing new criminal conduct.[1] The court sentenced Clarke to twelve months in ...


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