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State v. McBreairty

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

April 21, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CARTER McBREAIRTY

         Argued February 11, 2016.

         As Corrected May 3, 2016

          On the briefs: Alan F. Harding, Esq., Hardings Law Office, Presque Isle, for appellant Carter McBreairty.

         James Mitchell, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District No. 8, Caribou, for appellee State of Maine.

         At oral argument: Alan F. Harding, Esq., for appellant Carter McBreairty.

         Todd R. Collins, District Attorney, Prosecutorial District No. 8, Caribou, for appellee State of Maine.

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

          OPINION

         SAUFLEY, C.J.

          [¶1] Carter McBreairty appeals from a judgment of conviction entered by the Superior Court (Aroostook County, Hunter, J. ) after a jury found him guilty of thirteen hunting, fishing, and firearm-related offenses. McBreairty argues that (A) there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction on five of the thirteen counts; (B) the court abused its discretion in denying his motion to dismiss two of the charges based on an accord and satisfaction that was offered to the court; (C) he was prejudiced when he was not provided physical access to fish in the State's possession prior to trial; and (D) the State's misstatement of fact during its closing argument prejudiced him, and the court failed to remedy that prejudice with a requested curative instruction. We affirm the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the jury rationally could have found the following facts, which are supported by competent evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt. See State v. Jones, 2012 ME 88, ¶ 7, 46 A.3d 1125.

          [¶3] In June 2012, a game warden investigator went to the Allagash as part of an undercover investigation designed to make contact with nine individuals suspected of committing hunting and fishing violations, including Carter McBreairty. Over the next year and a half, the warden, acting under a pseudonym, spent time in the community. He befriended the individuals who were under investigation and was included in various fishing and hunting expeditions. During this time, he covertly monitored and documented McBreairty's hunting and fishing activities.

          [¶4] On April 2, 2014, the State filed a seventeen-count criminal complaint against McBreairty in the District Court (Fort Kent). McBreairty pleaded guilty to Count 1, failure to register deer (exceeding 18 hours) (Class E), 12 M.R.S. § 12303-A(1)(B) (2015), and not guilty to all other charges. He filed a request for discovery from the State, which included a request for any physical evidence " material to the preparation of the defense." On April 18, 2014, McBreairty requested a jury trial on the charges.[1] A four-day jury trial was held in the Superior Court (Aroostook County) on the remaining sixteen charges from September 15 to 18, 2014. Inclusive of Count 1, to which McBreairty pleaded guilty, the seventeen counts were as follows:

1. Failure to register deer (exceeding 18 hours) (Class E), 12 M.R.S. § 12303-A(1)(B);
2. Hunting deer after having killed one (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 11501(2) (2015);
3. Exceeding bag limit on deer (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 11501(1) (2015);
4. Possession of unregistered deer (Class E), 12 M.R.S. § 12306(1)(B) (2015);
5. Hunting deer after having killed one (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 11501(2);
6. Night hunting (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 11206(1)(A) (2015);
7. Hunting deer after having killed one (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 11501(2);
8. Criminal trespass (Class E), 17-A M.R.S. § 402(1)(C) (2015);
9. Fishing violation of number, amount, weight or size limits (Class E), 12 M.R.S. § 12602(2) (2015);
10. Theft of services (Class E), 17-A M.R.S. § 357(1)(A) (2015);
11. Hunting under the influence (Class D), 12 M.R.S. § 10701(1-A)(A)(2) ...

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