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State v. Morrison

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

March 31, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
HOLLY MORRISON

         Argued March 3, 2016.

         On the briefs:

          Amanda J. Doherty, Esq., South Portland, for appellant Holly Morrison.

         Stephanie Anderson, District Attorney, and Michael Madigan, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District No. Two, Portland, for appellee State of Maine.

         At oral argument: Kevin G. Moynihan, Esq., Fairfield & Associates, P.A., Portland, for appellant Holly Morrison.

         Michael Madigan, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.

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

          OPINION

Page 344

          JABAR, J.

          [¶1] Holly Morrison appeals from a judgment of conviction of one count of gross sexual assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 253(1)(B) (2015), and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child (Class D), 17-A M.R.S. § 554(1)(C) (2015), entered in the Unified Criminal Docket (Cumberland County, Moskowitz, J. ) after a jury trial. Because we conclude that the court properly excluded testimony relating to Morrison's involuntary conduct defense, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] We view the evidence in the trial record in the light most favorable to the State, to determine whether a jury could rationally have found the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v. Begin, 2015 ME 86, ¶ 2, 120 A.3d 97.

          [¶3] In October 2013, Morrison and her boyfriend, Donald Cass, engaged in multiple acts of gross sexual assault against Morrison's then thirteen-year-old daughter. Morrison has an extensive history of being sexually abused at the hands of family, foster siblings, and domestic partners.

          [¶4] At trial, Morrison never denied the contact constituting the elements of the alleged crimes,[1] but she did raise a defense of involuntary conduct. In this effort, Morrison attempted to call a licensed counselor to testify that her history of being abused made her conduct involuntary. Morrison's attorney explained to the court that the counselor was " in the best position to explain ...


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