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April 13, 2010

Maine Supreme Judicial Court upholds application of mandatory minimum sentencing term for repeat drunk driver

As detailed in this AP story, which is headlined "Maine Court Upholds Minimum Sentence Of Tina's Law," the Maine Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled today that the "minimum sentences mandated under Tina's Law, which aims to crack down on dangerous drivers by imposing stiff sentences, are constitutional."  The ruling in Maine v. Gilman, No. 2010 ME 35 (Maine  Apr. 13, 2010) (available here), gets started this way:

The State of Maine appeals from a judgment of the Superior Court (Franklin County, Murphy, J.) denying its motion to correct the sentence that the court imposed on Gerald W. Gilman following his conviction at a bench trial for operating after habitual offender revocation....  The State contends that the court imposed an illegal sentence when it sentenced Gilman to less than the minimum mandatory two-year term of imprisonment required by the statute.  The court did so after finding that the statute as applied to Gilman violated article I, section 9 of the Maine Constitution, which requires that “all penalties and punishments shall be proportioned to the offense.” Me. Const. art. I, § 9.

Gilman cross-appeals, contending that, in addition to violating article I, section 9 of the Maine Constitution, the mandatory sentencing provision also violated his equal protection and due process rights....

Because we agree with the State’s contention that the sentence imposed on Gilman was illegal, and find no violation of Gilman’s constitutional rights, we vacate only the sentence and remand for resentencing.

April 13, 2010 at 06:02 PM | Permalink

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