Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Murphy

Supreme Court of Maine

July 25, 2017


          Submitted On Briefs: June 29, 2017

          Carol Ann Murphy, appellant pro se

          Andrew S. Robinson, District Attorney, and Joshua W. Robbins, Asst. Dist. Atty., Office of the District Attorney, Farmington, for appellee State of Maine


          PER CURIAM

         [¶l] Carol Ann Murphy acquires animals and then is unable or unwilling to properly care for them. She has been twice convicted of cruelty to animals. She has been ordered never to possess animals again. Notwithstanding that order, when released from the four-year prison sentence imposed after her second conviction for cruelty to animals and other crimes, see State v. Murphy, 2010 ME 140, 10 A.3d 697, she returned to acquiring a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, chinchillas, rabbits, and a potbellied pig. Following a jury verdict finding her in contempt of court, see 4 M.R.S. § 114 (2016); M.R.U. Crim. P. 42; M.R. Civ. P. 66(c), the trial court (Franklin County, Stokes, J.) entered a judgment on the contempt verdict and sentenced Murphy to 364 days in jail. Murphy appeals, and, subject to a clarification of the nature of the adjudication, we affirm that judgment.

         [¶2] The evidence supporting the finding of contempt was uncontested at trial and is more than sufficient to support the contempt finding. The testimony provided unequivocal evidence that Murphy was, again, collecting a number of animals.

         [¶3] Although Murphy has appealed the contempt judgment, she does not contest the facts supporting the finding of contempt. Instead, as she did at trial, she presents a litany of frivolous and irrelevant challenges to the authority of all involved in her case. Primarily, she argues that (1) the trial court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, (2) the appointments of both the trial judge and the prosecutor to their offices were defective, (3) her two prior convictions are void, and (4) the trial judge was biased against her.

         [¶4] Contrary to her arguments, the court had jurisdiction, see State v. Pelletier, 2015 ME 129, ¶¶ 3, 5, 125 A.3d 354; the appointments of the judge and the prosecutor were not infirm, see Me. Const, art. V, pt. 1, §8; 4M.R.S. § 101 (2016); 30-A M.R.S. § 272 (2016); the prior convictions are valid, see Murphy, 2010 ME 140, ¶¶ 1-3, 10 A.3d 697; State v. Murphy, Mem-06-125 (July 27, 2006); see also 17 M.R.S. § lO3l(3-B)(B) (2016); and the record demonstrates no bias on the part of the judge. To the contrary, the judge consistently treated Murphy with respect, in stark contrast to her disruptive and contemptuous treatment of the judge. We do not discuss those challenges further. See Murphy, 2010 ME 140, ¶ 2, 10 A.3d 697.

         [¶5] Murphy additionally contends that the State and the court violated her constitutional rights in conducting the proceedings. The record reflects just the opposite. We briefly examine this challenge only to recognize the trial court's patient and focused actions to protect Murphy's constitutional rights and assure that she received a fair trial despite her uncooperative, disruptive, insolent, and disrespectful behavior during the trial.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Prior Convictions

         [¶6] The events leading up to this case began at least as early as a 2004 case in which Murphy was convicted of cruelty to animals. Murphy appealed, alleging Fourth Amendment violations that to this day she insists made that proceeding and each subsequent proceeding void. Murphy, Mem-06-125 (July 27, 2006). We affirmed her conviction in that case. Id. When Murphy was convicted a second time of cruelty to animals-and other crimes-the court [Murphy, J.)[1] included the lifetime prohibition on owning or possessing animals in its judgment. See 17 M.R.S. § lO3l(3-B)(B). We affirmed that conviction as well. Murphy, 2010 ME 140, ¶ 19, 10 A.3d 697. B. Contempt

         [¶7] On September 25, 2014, after receiving information from Murphy's neighbor that she was again possessing animals, the State filed a complaint alleging that Murphy was keeping or possessing dogs or cats in violation of her lifetime prohibition against owning or possessing animals. The State's complaint sought punitive sanctions against Murphy for contempt of court. See 4 M.R.S. ยง 114; M.R.U. Crim. P. 42; M.R. Civ. P. 66. On October 1, 2014, police and animal welfare personnel executed a search warrant at Murphy's home, where they seized four ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.