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State v. Jackiewiecz

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

January 12, 2018

STATE OF MAINE
v.
DAVID JACKIEWIECZ, Defendant

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL

          Nancy Mills, Justice, Superior Court.

          On April 4, 2016, defendant was indicted on three counts of class C sexual abuse of a minor. 17-A M.R.S. § 254(1)(A-2) (2013), After the jury began deliberating, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal, which was taken under advisement based on the circumstances. (Mot. Tr. 19); M.R.U. Crim. P. 29. The jury found defendant guilty of count III. A mistrial was declared on counts I and II.

         Before the court is defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

         Timeliness of Motion

         The State argues that the defendant's motion was not made in a timely way. Rule 29 provides:

(a) Motion for Judgment of Acquittal. ... If a motion for judgment of acquittal is made at the close of all evidence, the court may reserve the decision on the motion, submit the case to the jury, and decide the motion either before the jury returns the verdict or after it returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict.
(b) Motion After Discharge of Jury. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, or is discharged without having returned a verdict, a motiou for judgment of acquittal may be made or renewed within 14 days after the jury is discharged or within such further time as the court may fix during the 14 day period. If a verdict of guilty is returned, the court may on such motion set aside the verdict and enter judgment of acquittal. If no verdict is returned the court may enter judgment of acquittal. It shall not be necessary to the making of such a motion that a similar motion has been made before the submission of the case to the jury.

         M.R.U. Crim. P. 29(a)-(b). The plain language of Rule 29 supports defendant's argument that his motion was timely. See State v. Watson, 2000 ME 77, ¶ 5, 751 A.2d 1004 (judgment of conviction was entered on July 13, 1999; motion for judgment of acquittal was due on July 23, 1999 and motion filed July 26, 1999 was untimely).

         Sufficiency of the Evidence

         Count III, sexual abuse of a minor, provides:

On or about February 6, 2013, in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, DAVID JACKIEWIECZ did engage in a sexual act with a minor whose date of birth is 2/22/97, who was 14 or 15 years of age and not his spouse. DAVID JACKIEWIECZ was at least 10 years older than said minor.

         Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the conviction for sexual abuse of a minor. He argues that the State offered no evidence on the element of the offense that the victim was not the spouse of the defendant at the time of the offense. The State admits it did not offer direct evidence of marital status but argues there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to permit the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was not the defendant's spouse. The State relies also on the statute that requires written consent of a minor's parents and a probate judge before a marriage license can issue to a person under the age of sixteen years. 19- AM.R.S.§ 652(8) (2017).[1]

         On a motion for judgment of acquittal, the court reviews the legal sufficiency of the evidence as a whole, assessed most favorably to the State. See State v. Robbins, 2010 ME 62, ¶ 14, 999 A.2d 936. On a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction, the court views the evidence "in the light most favorable to the State to determine whether the trier of fact rationally could have found beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the offense charged." See State v. Moores, 2006 ME 139, ¶¶ 2, 7, 910 A, 2d 373 (jury could have inferred that defendant's touching of the victim's vagina with his hands was for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire and jury could have inferred that defendant's contact, which made the victim feel afraid and upset, was offensive); State v. Crossman, 2002 ME 28, ¶ 13, 790 A.2d 603 (burglary conviction supported by evidence from which a reasonable inference could be drawn that defendant entered the home).

         The evidence in this case provides that the victim, born February 22, 1997, was living with her mother, Jennifer Chace, during August 2014. (Chace Testimony 14, 17.) As of July 2014, the victim had not been acting like herself and her mother did not know why. (Id. 12-15.) After Ms. Chace read her daughter's diary and ...


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