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State v. Adams

Supreme Court of Maine

April 26, 2018

STATE OF MAINE
v.
DANNY L. ADAMS

          Argued: March 7, 2018

          Rory A. McNamara, Esq. (orally), Drake Law, LLC, Berwick, for appellant Danny L. Adams.

          Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Donald W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen. (orally), Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine.

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

          MEAD, J.

         [¶1] Danny L. Adams appeals from a judgment of conviction of manslaughter (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 2O3(1)(A) (2017), entered by the trial court (Androscoggin County, MG Kennedy, J.) following his unconditional open guilty plea.[1] Adams contends that his plea was involuntary because he was coerced, in violation of his constitutional rights against self-incrimination, [2] to accept the truth of all of the facts recited by the State at the plea hearing held pursuant to M.R.U. Crim. P. 11. He further contends that he should not be required to show cause as to why his appeal should not be dismissed pursuant to State v. Huntley, 676 A.2d 501 (Me. 1996), and its progeny, which hold that a defendant may not appeal from a conviction entered upon his plea of guilty except in certain circumstances. Adams did not move to withdraw his unconditional plea before the court imposed the sentence and does not assert that the trial court lacked jurisdiction or that it imposed an excessive, cruel, or unusual sentence. We dismiss the appeal. See id. at 503; State v. Plummer, 2008 ME 22, ¶ 3, 939 A.2d 687.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] The relevant facts are procedural and are not disputed. In February 2015, Adams was charged by indictment with murder, 17-A M.R.S. §201(1)(B) (2017), and manslaughter (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 2O3(1)(A), following the death of his infant son. Two attorneys were appointed to represent him. Following pretrial motions, a jury trial was scheduled for February 17, 2017.

         [¶3] On February 8, 2017, Adams appeared with counsel and entered an unconditional open guilty plea to the manslaughter count; the State later dismissed the murder charge. See M.R.U. Crim. P. 11. At the Rule 11 hearing, after Adams explicitly waived his right to remain silent and the court admonished him to "listen carefully, " the State recited the evidence that it expected to present at trial, which included Adams's statements to police officers that numerous bruises on the child's forehead and around his mouth likely resulted from him (Adams) forcefully putting the baby's pacifier in his mouth two or three times, holding it there by putting the palm of his hand on the pacifier and spreading his fingers across the child's face, and then putting the child face down in his crib with the pacifier inserted and holding him down against the mattress.

         [¶4] Adams's counsel told the court that the State's recitation was consistent with the discovery. The court then engaged in a colloquy with Adams:

COURT: And do you have anything that you would like to correct about what was just said?
ADAMS: No. No, Your Honor.
Q: And have you had enough time to speak with your attorney about this matter?
A: Yes, Your Honor.
Q: Has he done the things that you have asked him to do in terms of representing you?
A: Yes, Your Honor.
Q: Are you satisfied with his ...

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