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State v. Butsitsi

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

June 16, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
DAUDOIT BUTSITSI

Argued May 14, 2015.

Sentence affirmed.

On the briefs:

David Paris, Esq., Bath, for appellant Daudoit Butsitsi.

Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Lauren F. LaRochelle, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine.

At oral argument:

David Paris, Esq., for appellant Daudoit Butsitsi.

Lauren F. LaRochelle, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee State of Maine.

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

OPINION

Page 223

ALEXANDER, J.

[¶1] Pursuant to 15 M.R.S. § § 2151-2157 (2014), the Sentence Review Panel granted Daudoit Butsitsi's application to appeal his sentence of thirty-eight years of imprisonment, imposed pursuant to a judgment of conviction for intentional or knowing murder, 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A) (2014), entered in the Unified Criminal Docket (Cumberland County, Horton, J. ). Butsitsi contends that his sentence was imposed in violation of his right to due process based on statements regarding his national origin filed on behalf of the victim and comments made by the court at the sentencing hearing. We affirm the sentence.

I. CASE HISTORY

[¶2] Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the following facts were established at trial.[1]

Page 224

See State v. Treadway, 2014 ME 124, ¶ 2, 103 A.3d 1026. On February 10, 2010, Daudoit Butsitsi shot and killed the victim at an apartment building in Portland. Over the course of that day, Butsitsi and the victim had had two physical fights. That evening, Butsitsi obtained a gun. While a friend waited in a car nearby, Butsitsi waited in the hallway of the apartment building where he and the victim lived. As the victim was exiting the building with two friends, Butsitsi pushed past one of the victim's friends and shot the victim six times.

[¶3] In March 2010, Butsitsi was indicted for intentional or knowing murder. See 17-A M.R.S. § 201(1)(A). At the jury trial, Butsitsi contended that he shot the victim in self-defense after seeing the victim pull out what Butsitsi believed was a gun. Butsitsi presented evidence that he was from what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo and that he was exposed to violence and conflict there.[2] He also presented evidence that the victim was from the Congo region. The jury found Butsitsi guilty of murder.

[¶4] Prior to Butsitsi's sentencing hearing, the State filed a sentencing memorandum in which it argued for a maximum and final sentence of forty-five years. The State's memorandum did not mention Butsitsi's national origin. Butsitsi filed a sentencing memorandum in which he argued that he should receive only the minimum mandatory sentence of twenty-five years. See 17-A M.R.S. § 1251 (2014). Butsitsi argued that his exposure to violence and civil unrest in the Congo, where he lived until age thirteen, was a significant mitigating factor. He argued that he perceives and reacts to threats of violence differently than ...


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