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Oliveira v. State

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

September 19, 2018

JOSEPH OLIVEIRA, Petitioner
v.
STATE OF MAINE, Respondent

          PL. ATTY: ANDREW WRIGHT ATTORNEY AT LAW

          State's Attorney: MAEGHAN MALONEY

          DECISION AND ORDER

          ROBERT E. MULLEN, DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE

         Petitioner Joseph Oliveira (hereinafter "Petitioner") has filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Review pursuant to 15 M.R.S. §§ 2121-2132. Hearing was had on August 10, 2018 with respect to the Petition at which Petitioner testified along with Petitioner's trial counsel Lisa Whittier (hereinafter "TC") and criminal defense attorney Andrei Maciag. Petitioner was represented by Attorney Andrew Wright, Esq. while the State was represented by assistant district attorney Tyler LeClair.

         At hearing Petitioner claimed ineffective assistance of counsel by alleging four separate grounds:

         (a) Trial counsel failed to conduct independent testing on the drugs seized which, according to Attorney Wright, "would have provided exculpatory information. Specifically, counsel did not receive a certificate of controlled substance analysis until the date of jury selection. Such unchallenged discovery violation and lack of independent investigation and or testing thereby affected the substantial rights of petitioner."

         (b) "Trial counsel was ineffective in failing to conduct an adequate pretrial investigation with regard to the retention of expert witnesses thereby affecting the substantial rights of petitioner."

         (c) "Trial counsel was ineffective in failing to file pre-trial evidenciary motions thereby affecting the substantial rights of petitioner."

         (d) "Trial counsel coerced or otherwise manipulated petitioner to enter a plea of guilty. Said plea was not entered voluntarily and knowingly pursuant to the United States and State of Maine Constitutions, thereby affecting the substantial rights of petitioner."

         After hearing, and after the undersigned has had the opportunity to review the file, applicable case law, and statutory provisions relevant to the issues at hand, the Court enters this Decision and Order for the reasons set forth below:

         Procedural History:

         1. Petitioner plead guilty to Aggravated Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs, Class A, Unlawful Possession of Scheduled Drugs, Class B, Unlawful Possession of Scheduled Drugs, Class C, Trafficking in Prison Contraband, Class C, and Violation of Conditions of Release, Class E, all on September 9, 2016. The State dismissed a separate count of Aggravated Trafficking in Scheduled Drugs, Class A as part of a plea negotiation.

         2. At the time of the plea Petitioner had a significant criminal history background such that both sides agreed a "straight" sentence was appropriate. There was no agreement as to what that sentence should be.

         3. Previous to the plea TC had provided Petitioner with the discovery material in hand as well as filed a Motion To Suppress ...


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