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State v. Solomon

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

July 28, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
JOSEPH M. SOLOMON II

Argued May 13, 2015.

Page 662

On the briefs: Steven C. Peterson, Esq., West Rockport, for appellant Joseph M. Solomon II.

Geoffrey A. Rushlau, District Attorney, and Patricia A. Mador, Asst. Dist. Atty., Office of the District Attorney, Bath, for appellee State of Maine.

At oral argument: Steven C. Peterson, Esq., for appellant Joseph M. Solomon II.

Patricia A. Mador, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.

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

OPINION

Page 663

MEAD, J.

[¶1] Joseph M. Solomon II appeals from a judgment of conviction entered by the trial court ( Billings, J. ) on a jury verdict finding him guilty of tampering with a juror (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1-A)(A) (2014), and on the court's verdict of guilty of violation of condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A) (2014). The court imposed a sentence of two years in prison, with all but nine months suspended and two years of probation. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] On March 8, 2013, Solomon was present in Superior Court for jury selection for his upcoming trial on a charge of violating a protective order. At some point during the jury selection process, the judge and attorneys conferred at side bar. Solomon remained alone at the defense table. Unbeknownst to the attorneys and judge, Solomon wrote, " Please don't let them railroad your Veterans" on a piece of paper and held it up in view of the twenty-five to thirty potential jurors. He then crumpled up the piece of paper and discarded it. Later that afternoon, one of the potential jurors told a judicial marshal that she had seen Solomon hold up the sign. The judicial marshal and a state trooper then interviewed four of the potential jurors who had seen Solomon hold up the piece of paper. Solomon was arrested the next day for tampering with a juror.

[¶3] On April 9, 2013, the State filed a supplemental indictment charging Solomon with four counts of tampering with a juror (Class C) pursuant to 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1-A)(A) and one count of violating a condition of release pursuant to 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A). In response, Solomon filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the term " juror" in 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1-A)(A) does not include members of the jury pool who have been called for possible jury service, but have not yet been selected to sit on the jury. Solomon also filed a motion in limine to exclude any testimony from jury pool members who had seen him hold up the sign " as to the effect it had on them."

[¶4] On the day of Solomon's jury tampering trial, the court denied his motion to dismiss and determined that the jury tampering statute does include members of the jury pool. The court also ruled that witnesses would be allowed to offer lay opinions " based on the circumstances that they saw, [and what] ...


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