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State v. Townes

Supreme Court of Maine

May 28, 2019

STATE OF MAINE
v.
TERRENCE N. TOWNES

          Argued: November 8, 2018

          Marina L. Sideris, Esq. (orally), Camden, for appellant Terrence N. Townes

          Maeghan Maloney, District Attorney, and Tyler J. LeClair, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District IV, Augusta, for appellee State of Maine

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

          HUMPHREY, J.

         [¶l] In this appeal we examine assertions that sanctions imposed against the State for discovery violations and for failing to comply with court orders were insufficient and that the defendant was deprived of his fundamental right to an impartial jury that represented a fair cross section of his community.

         [¶2] Terrence N. Townes appeals from a judgment of conviction entered by the Superior Court (Kennebec County, Murphy, J.), as a result of a jury verdict, for aggravated assault (Class A), 17-A M.R.S. § 208(1)(A-1) (2018), and violating a condition of release (Class E), 15 M.R.S. § 1092(1)(A) (2018). Townes was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, with all but twelve years suspended, followed by four years of probation. We affirm the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶3] "Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the jury rationally could have found the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Burton, 2018 ME 162, ¶ 2, 198 A.3d 195 (quotation marks omitted).

         [¶4] On October 24, 2016, the manager of the residential complex where Townes lived ordered Townes to leave the premises because Townes had threatened another tenant. Townes then struck the manager, knocked her to the floor, kicked her, got on top of her, and punched her in the face several times. The owner of the complex tried to stop Townes by hitting him in the back with a fire extinguisher, injuring his own shoulder in the process. Townes gained control of the fire extinguisher and struck the manager in the face with it, causing her permanent blindness in one eye.

         [¶5] One of the Augusta police officers who responded to the scene observed Townes shouting at two women as he followed them out of the complex. When that officer approached Townes, he observed blood on Townes's shirt, saw Townes place his hands behind his head and drop to his knees, and heard him state "I've done something." Townes was taken into custody, and as he was being placed in the cruiser, he kicked another officer in the chest. Townes also made inculpatory statements after he was restrained and placed in the police cruiser.

         [¶6] On December 21, 2016, a grand jury returned a six-count indictment, which included the two counts for which Townes was subsequently convicted-aggravated assault (Count 2) and violating a condition of release (Count 6).[1]

         A. Discovery Violations and Sanctions

         [¶7] Townes filed a motion for a bill of particulars in March 2017 seeking clarification of the allegations in Counts 1 through 3 of the indictment and copies of medical records compiled by the medical first responders that had not been provided to him. He also filed a motion for sanctions alleging that the State committed a series of discovery violations and failed to comply with several court orders. Townes withdrew his motion for a bill of particulars on May 18, 2017, and, on the same date, the court [Billings, J.) granted Townes's motion for sanctions and ordered the State to furnish the requested records.

         [¶8] In November 2017, Townes filed a second motion for a bill of particulars, again seeking clarification of Counts 1 through 3. In addition, he filed a motion to dismiss those counts as a sanction for the State's discovery violations. The State finally provided the requested medical records on December 5, 2017, three days before the beginning of the trial term that included Townes's case, and sent an email to defense counsel stating that Counts 1 and 2 were charged in the alternative; the State's response made no mention of Count 3. The jury was selected on December 8, 2017, and the trial began on December 19, 2017. On the first day of trial, Townes filed a motion in limine with regard to Count 4, ...


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