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State v. Gagnier

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

August 18, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CHRISTAL N. GAGNIER

Argued May 12, 2015.

Page 208

Judgment affirmed.

On the briefs:

George A. Hess, Esq., Lewiston, for appellant Christal N. Gagnier.

Norman R. Croteau, District Attorney, and Lisa R. Bogue, Asst. Dist. Atty., Auburn, for appellee State of Maine.

At oral argument: George A. Hess, Esq., for appellant Christal N. Gagnier.

Lisa R. Bogue, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.

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

OPINION

Page 209

HJELM, J.

[¶1] Christal N. Gagnier appeals from a judgment of conviction for tampering with a victim (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 454(1-B)(A)(1) (2014), aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 1105-C(1)(A)(4) (2014), and endangering the welfare of a child (Class D) 17-A M.R.S. § 554(1)(C) (2014), entered by the trial court (Androscoggin County, MG Kennedy, J.) after a jury trial. Gagnier contends that the court erred by denying her request that it instruct the jury on the statutory defense of duress, 17-A M.R.S. § 103-A (2014). Because the evidence did not generate that defense, we affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] " A defendant is entitled to an instruction [on a defense] when the evidence is sufficient to make the existence of all the facts constituting the defense a reasonable hypothesis for the factfinder to entertain." State v. Doyon, 1999 ME 185, ¶ 7, 745 A.2d 365 (quotation marks omitted). Because the sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in determining that the evidence did not generate the defense of duress, we consider the evidence in the light most favorable to Gagnier. See State v. Delano, 2015 ME 18, ¶ 25, 111 A.3d 648; State v. Tomah, 1999 ME 109, ¶ 18, 736 A.2d 1047.

[¶3] The basis for Gagnier's argument that she was entitled to a jury instruction on duress is her contention that she committed the crimes because she was fearful of her husband, Michael Gagnier. Much of the evidence on which Gagnier relies consists of her own trial testimony.[1]

[¶4] Gagnier testified that Michael, who had been an acquaintance of her mother, began to sexually assault her when she was twelve years old. All of them were living out of state at the time. Some time after the assaults began, the relationship between Michael and Gagnier's mother became intimate. Soon after, B.G., Michael's then-three-year-old daughter from another relationship, came to live with Gagnier, Gagnier's mother and Michael.

[¶5] In 2007, when Gagnier was nineteen, Gagnier's mother accused her of " stealing her men" and locked Gagnier in her room, allowing her to leave only for school and work. When Gagnier called Michael for help, he and Gagnier's mother fought and the mother left. Gagnier saw her mother again three months later but has not had any contact with her since then. Gagnier married Michael later that year because " he had always been there to save [her]" and she thought he loved her.

Page 210

They had two children and in 2009 ...


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