Submitted On Briefs: September 10, 2019
J. Lipski, appellant pro se.
Toffolon, Dep. Dist. Atty., Ellsworth, for appellee State of
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM,
Mark J. Lipski appeals from a judgment of conviction for
operating a vehicle when the registration of that vehicle was
suspended or revoked (Class E), 29-A M.R.S. § 2417
(2018), entered by the trial court (Washington County,
Mallonee, J.) after a jury trial. Lipski challenges
the conviction, arguing that the court violated his
constitutional right to the assistance of appointed counsel
in his defense because, although he was not at risk of being
sentenced to imprisonment upon conviction, he may be
imprisoned as a result of his present intention to defy any
court order resulting from the conviction. We affirm the
judgment of conviction.
On March 13, 2018, following Lipski's failure to pay a
toll,  a notice of registration suspension was
mailed to Lipski, notifying him that his registration would
be suspended on March 28, 2018. On the effective day of the
suspension, a Maine State Police trooper stopped Lipski when
he was driving and issued him a uniform summons and complaint
for operating a vehicle after registration suspension. Lipski
was charged by separate criminal complaint for operating a
vehicle when the registration of that vehicle was suspended,
(Class E), 29-A M.R.S. § 2417. On May 8, 2018, Lipski
was scheduled to appear in the District Court for his
arraignment on the charge. Lipski failed to appear, and a
warrant was issued for Lipski's arrest that same day. An
officer arrested Lipski and Lipski's cash bail was set at
$150. Subsequently, the bail was paid and Lipski was
On June 5, 2018, Lipski, unrepresented by counsel, finally
appeared before the trial court [D. Mitchell, J.)
for arraignment. Lipski pleaded not guilty. Although the
complaint against Lipski stated, "No Jail Requested,
" Lipski requested state-paid counsel. The
court determined that if convicted, Lipski would be sentenced
to pay a fine and not to serve a term of imprisonment, and
informed Lipski that he was not entitled to the assistance of
state-appointed counsel in his defense. Lipski argued that
because he was unwilling and unable to pay any fine, he would
serve time in jail as an inevitable consequence of the
conviction, and therefore he had the right to appointed
counsel. The court denied this request.
Lipski requested a jury trial and, after jury selection, was
tried before a jury without counsel. The jury returned a
verdict of guilty, and the court (Mallonee, J.)
entered a judgment after imposing a fine of $300 supplemented
by surcharges. Lipski timely appealed. See 15 M.R.S.
§ 2115 (2018); M.R. App. P. 2B(b)(1).
The briefs before us do not represent models of clarity.
Lipski filed an uncounseled brief from which we discern two
issues presented on appeal. Lipski argues that (A) he has a
right to court-appointed counsel because of his inability or
unwillingness to pay a fine and (B) jury selection
proceedings were deficient. The State's one-page brief
has not aided us in identifying and analyzing the law
pertaining to these issues. We address each in turn.
Right to Court-Appointed Counsel
First, Lipski contends that he has a right to state-paid
counsel because his inability, or unwillingness, to pay any
fine will inevitably result in jail time. We review alleged
constitutional violations de ...