ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
three consolidated civil violation cases are before the court
for decision on the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendant
in each case ["combined Motion to Dismiss''].
Defendants are alleged to have violated the Maine statute on
unlawful removal of temporary signs in a public right-of-way,
23 M.R.S. § 1917-B.
do not dispute that they removed the signs that the State
says they did. The Defendants' combined Motion to Dismiss
is based solely on the undisputed content of the removed
signs. Defendants say that the statute they are accused of
violating, 23 M.R.S. § 1917-B, prohibits the removal of
signs that meet certain criteria, and that, because the signs
they removed do not meet those criteria, they are entitled as
a matter of law to have the charges against them dismissed.
State responds by saying that Maine law prohibits anyone
except the Commissioner of Transportation (or the
Commissioner's designee) from removing signs from a
public way; that the legislative history of section 1917-B
supports the State's position, and that the
Defendant's interpretation would create an absurd result.
are accused of removing a number of political signs along the
public right-of-way on Route 1 in Falmouth shortly before
midnight October 14, 2016, in violation of 23 M.R.S. §
parties have stipulated that all of the signs at issue were
identical in appearance and wording to the sign admitted as
State's Exhibit A. State's Exhibit A is a
double-sided plastic sign that can be slid onto a steel frame
with two legs that can be inserted into the earth. The two
sides of the sign are identical, and contain large and small
type. The large type reads as follows:
bottom of the sign, a much smaller line of type in the center
of the sign reads as follows:
POL. ADV. PAID FOR BY MAKING MAINE GREAT AGAIN PAC, JULIE
SHEEHAN TREASURER. NOTICE: IT IS A VIOLATION OF STATE LAW
(CHAPTERS 392 AND 393, TRANSPORTATION CODE) TO PLACE
THIS SIGN IN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY OF A HIGHWAY.
of the lower corners of the sign admitted as Exhibit A, other
small type identifies the manufacturer of the sign and
identifies the sign as being made of recycled material.
the sign admitted as Exhibit A identifies the Making Maine
Great Again PAC as having paid for the sign, it does not
state whether that organization placed the sign in the public
right-of-way, and does not contain any address for that
organization. It also does not designate the time ...