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Ford v. State

Supreme Court of Maine

March 28, 2019

BARTOLO P. FORD
v.
STATE OF MAINE

          Argued: February 4, 2019

          David Bobrow, Esq. (orally), Bedard & Bobrow, PC, Eliot, for appellant Bartolo P. Ford

          Andrew S. Robinson, District Attorney, Patricia Reynolds Regan, Asst. Dist. Atty., and Patricia A. Mador, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Office of the District Attorney, Lewiston, for appellee State of Maine

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

          JABAR, J.

         [¶1] Bartolo P. Ford appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Androscoggin County, Marden, J.) denying in part and granting in part his petition for post-conviction review. Ford argues that the court erred by denying his requested relief concerning his felony convictions despite its determination that he had established that his trial counsel was ineffective. We vacate the court's judgment and remand.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] In 2011, Ford filed a petition for post-conviction review alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on multiple grounds. In its judgment granting in part and denying in part Ford's petition, the court made the following findings of fact, all of which are supported by competent evidence in the record. See Middleton v. State, 2015 ME 164, ¶ 2, 129 A.3d 962.

         [¶3] In 2008, Ford was indicted on one count of aggravated attempted murder (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 152-A(1)(F) (2018), two counts of aggravated criminal mischief (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 8O5(1)(C) (2018), two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. §§ 211(1), 1252(4) (2018), one count of eluding an officer (Class C), 29-A M.R.S. § 2414(3) (2018), and one count of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer (Class E), 17-AM.R.S. §353(1)(A)(2018).[1] Following a three-day jury trial in 2010, Ford was convicted on all counts and the trial court [Marden, /.) sentenced him to twenty years' imprisonment, with all but nine years suspended, followed by six years' probation.

         [¶4] We have previously summarized the facts leading to Ford's conviction and the pertinent testimony from his trial:

On the evening of September 15, 2008, Ford led the Auburn police department on a high-speed chase. The chase began when Ford sped off after a police officer, suspecting that the concrete well tiles in the bed of Ford's truck had been stolen, approached the vehicle and questioned him. It ended when Ford crashed his F-550 dump truck into a stream.
During the chase, Ford repeatedly used his truck to ram the pursuing police cruisers. Two cruisers sustained serious damage, and one officer narrowly escaped being struck by Ford's dump truck by scrambling up an embankment moments before Ford drove his truck into the officer's cruiser. When he refused to stop, Ford was fired upon by an Auburn police officer; the bullet hit and shattered Ford's hip. Ford ultimately surrendered to a Maine State Police trooper after crashing his dump truck into a small stream. He was wet, disheveled, and had blood running down his leg.
Ford argued that he suffered from a mental abnormality as defined by 17-A M.R.S. § 38 (2012). As evidence of his condition, he point[ed] to post-traumatic stress disorder, which he attribute[d] to trauma suffered in the military during Operation Desert Storm, and injuries sustained in a car accident. Ford also argued that the prescription medications he consumes to treat his PTSD contributed to his mental abnormality. Much of this evidence was presented through expert testimony. Dr. John Dorn, a psychiatrist, concluded that Ford was "attacking the enemy as he saw it" because his PTSD caused him to react to the stimuli of flashing lights and sirens. Dr. Dorn determined that the combination of the drugs Ford took that day, his concussion from the car accident, and his PTSD triggered a flashback state that could have lasted for several hours.
Dr. Carlyle Voss, also a psychiatrist, testified for the State that some of Ford's reports made his defense of abnormal condition of the mind plausible, but that he also believed Ford was exaggerating. Ultimately, Dr. Voss concluded that Ford was ...

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