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State v. Palmer

Supreme Court of Maine

July 28, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CRYSTAL PALMER

         Lewiston District Court docket number CR-2014-1844

          Argued: April 5, 2016

         On the briefs:

          Tina Heather Nadeau, Esq., The Law Office of Tina Heather Nadeau, PLLC, Portland, for appellant Crystal Palmer

          Andrew S. Robinson, District Attorney, and Claire Gallagan Andrews, Asst. Dist. Atty., Office of the District Attorney, Farmington, for appellee State of Maine

          Rory A. McNamara, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, Lebanon, for amicus curiae Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

         At oral argument:

          Tina Heather Nadeau, Esq., for appellant Crystal Palmer

          Claire Gallagan Andrews, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine Lewiston District Court docket number CR-2014-1844 For Clerk Reference Only

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

          HUMPHREY, J.

         [¶1] Crystal Palmer appeals from a judgment of conviction for endangering the welfare of a child (Class D), 17-A M.R.S. § 554(1)(C), (3) (2014), [1] entered in the District Court (Lewiston, Ende, J.) following a final hearing on her deferred disposition. Palmer contends that the court erred when it found that her deferment was "unsuccessful" and imposed a sentencing alternative. We agree, vacate the judgment, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] On June 24, 2014, Palmer was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, 17-A M.R.S. § 554(1)(C), and one count of violating a condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A) (2015). On August 12, 2014, pursuant to 17-A M.R.S. § 1348 (2015), Palmer consented to a deferred disposition in the District Court (Schneider, J.) and pleaded guilty to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child. The charge of violation of a condition of release was dismissed.

         [¶3] The six-month deferment agreement and order comprised three pages of fill-in-the-blank forms. Relevant to this appeal, the provisions on page one of the agreement required Palmer to "meet with the requirements of deferred disposition" and comply with the conditions of an attached bail order.[2] The provisions on page two, captioned "Special Conditions of Deferred Disposition, " required her to

undergo a psychological evaluation and complete counseling focus on parentin[g] as indicated. Provide proof of same to the D.A.s Office through attorney. - Reports on Oct 1, Dec 1, 2014 & Feb 1, 2015.

         Palmer was also instructed to "[s]ee attached conditions - pg 3." As described on page three of the agreement, also captioned "Special Conditions of Deferred Disposition, " Palmer was required to "attend and complete counseling for [] parenting issues, to satisfaction of probation officers" and "submit written proof to [her] attorney that [she had] completed the above-referenced programs by the following dates: Complete Kids First Program, 1234 Parenting & any programs recommended by counselor." The agreement also provided that, at the conclusion of the deferment, "[i]f there are no violations of bail or the deferred disposition agreement, ...


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