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State v. Knight

Supreme Court of Maine

August 4, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
CHRISTOPHER T. KNIGHT

          Argued: May 5, 2016

         On the briefs:

          Walter F. McKee, Esq., McKee Billings, P.A., Augusta, for appellant Christopher T. Knight

          Maeghan Maloney, District Attorney, and Emily Collins, Stud. Atty., Prosecutorial District IV, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine

         At oral argument:

          Walter F. McKee, Esq., for appellant Christopher T. Knight

          Paul F. Cavanaugh II, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District IV, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine.

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

          Majority: MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

          HJELM, J.

         [¶1] This case calls for us to determine whether Maines restitution statutes authorize an order of restitution for the benefit of the Maine State Police (MSP) for expenses it incurred when it repaired a woods road it used during a criminal investigation and its aftermath. We conclude that in the circumstances of this case, the MSP is not a statutorily eligible recipient of restitution, and we therefore vacate the order of restitution but affirm the remaining aspects of the judgment of conviction and the related sentence.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] In 2013, Christopher T. Knight was arrested after living for twenty-seven years in complete isolation in the woods near Rome. During that time, Knight committed many burglaries and thefts, entering and stealing from nearby residences. After he was arrested and charged, in October 2013 he pleaded guilty in the trial court (Kennebec County, Mills J.) to a number of those burglaries and thefts, and was admitted to the co-occurring disorders court (CODC) pursuant to an agreement between the parties as approved by the court. Imposition of sentence was deferred pending Knights participation in the CODC.

         [¶3] During the plea hearing, the parties entered into the record an agreement for a particular set of sentences that were to be imposed if Knights participation in the CODC were successful, and greater sentences that the State would recommend to the court if Knight did not fulfill the requirements of the CODC program. Under both alternatives, the parties agreed that as part of the sentences imposed in the primary case, [1] which consists of one count of burglary (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 401(1)(B)(4) (2015), and one count of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer (Class E), 17-A M.R.S. § 353(1)(A) (2015), Knight would be ordered to pay restitution of approximately $1, 900 to the "victims of charged and uncharged cases." Additionally, the State reserved the right to seek additional restitution at the sentencing hearing. That additional restitution is the subject of this appeal.

         [¶4] In March 2015, the court held a sentencing hearing where the parties agreed that Knight had satisfied the requirements associated with the CODC program. Pursuant to the parties earlier agreement on the sentence that would be imposed if he met those requirements, the court sentenced Knight on the burglary charge to a term of imprisonment of five years with all but seven months suspended, to be followed by three years of probation, and to a ...


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