State v. Deering

Decision Date14 July 1992
Citation611 A.2d 972
PartiesSTATE of Maine v. G. Michael DEERING.
CourtMaine Supreme Court

Jeffrey Silverstein (orally) and Timothy Wing, Asst. Dist. Attys., Bangor, for the State.

Perry O'Brian (orally), Bangor, for defendant.


GLASSMAN, Justice.

The defendant, G. Michael Deering, appeals from the judgment of conviction entered in the Superior Court (Penobscot County, Smith, J.) on a jury verdict finding him guilty of trafficking in a scheduled drug, 17-A M.R.S.A. § 1103 (1983 & Supp.1991). 1 For the first time by this appeal Deering challenges the admission of certain evidence in the course of the trial of the charge against him and the court's instructions to the jury, and contends that he was denied his sixth amendment right of compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. Deering also contends that the trial court erred in not allowing him to submit in evidence a tape recording and that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We find no error in the record and affirm the judgment.

Deering elected to proceed pro se at the trial of this matter. The jury found him guilty of the charge after hearing, inter alia, the following evidence: On September 17, 1990, officers working for the Bureau of Intergovernmental Drug Enforcement (BIDE) equipped an informant with an electronic transmitter and sent him to the apartment of David Dunbar in Bangor for the purpose of making a controlled drug purchase. Dunbar was not at home, but his roommate led the informant to Deering's apartment where Dunbar was visiting. After preliminary negotiations with Deering, the informant gave Deering one hundred dollars for one gram of cocaine. Deering telephoned a supplier and left the apartment. Half an hour later, Deering returned to the apartment and delivered three quarters of a gram of cocaine to the informant with twenty dollars change. One of the BIDE officers located outside the apartment building at the time observed an unidentified person leave the apartment area on a motorcycle that was determined to be registered to Deering and return within approximately one-half hour.

Deering first contends he was denied a fair trial because his criminal history was revealed in an SBI report that was attached to the police report admitted in evidence as his Exhibit 2. 2 A defendant may not later complain about the effect of evidence he has introduced. See State v. Glidden, 489 A.2d 1108, 1110 (Me.1985) (fact of victim's pregnancy, despite in limine ruling of inadmissibility, was properly referred to by prosecutor in closing argument when defendant had introduced it himself); State v. McDonough, 350 A.2d 556, 562-63 (Me.1976) (defendant not permitted to complain that reference to witness's polygraph test on redirect by State was prejudicial when defendant elicited testimony about the polygraph test on cross-examination). We do not accord Deering any special consideration because of his pro se status. State v. Dunn, 480 A.2d 788, 790 (Me.1984); State v. Gaudette, 431 A.2d 31, 32 (Me.1981).

Although in this case the court had repeatedly cautioned Deering that the police report was highly prejudicial, Deering insisted that it be admitted in evidence. Because Deering had marked up his copy of the report, the court directed that a clean copy be made from one in the possession of a detective who was testifying for the State. The detective's copy, unlike Deering's, had a copy of the SBI report attached. Both reports were reproduced and at the insistence of Deering admitted in evidence. Deering does not contend that either the court or the prosecutor was aware that the SBI report was attached to the police report. Although Deering in his final argument to the jury made reference to his past criminal record, it is unclear from the record before us whether Deering was aware of the attached SBI report. Accordingly, on this record we cannot say that admission in evidence of the police report deprived Deering of a fair trial. See State v. True, 438 A.2d 460, 468 (Me.1981) (when no objection at trial an alleged error will result in judgment being vacated only if so highly prejudicial that it virtually deprives the aggrieved party of a fair trial).

Deering contends that the procedure used in the out-of-court identification of him was impermissibly suggestive and that it taints the in-court identification. We have previously stated that "[a]s a general rule, we will not consider an issue on appeal unless it was raised in the trial court and the record on appeal is sufficient to allow an informed review of the questions involved." State v. Goodine, 587 A.2d 228, 229-30 (Me.1991); State v. Desjardins, 401 A.2d 165, 169 (Me.1979). In the instant case the informant identified Deering in court and testified that he had previously made an out-of-court identification based on four photographs of Deering shown to him by the BIDE officers for the purpose of determining if he could identify Dunbar's roommate. Had Deering objected to the testimony about the informant's out-of-court identification, it would have been Deering's burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the identification procedure used by the police was unnecessarily suggestive. State v. Philbrick, 551 A.2d 847, 849 (Me.1988). The burden would then have shifted "to the State to show by clear and convincing evidence that the corrupting influence of the unnecessarily suggestive procedure [was] outweighed by the reliability of the identification." Id. Here, the State never had an opportunity to demonstrate the reliability of the out-of-court identification, nor was the court called on to rule on this issue.

Deering next contends that the court erred in its instructions to the jury. First, he argues that the court should have instructed on the "procuring agent" defense. A party is not entitled to an instruction unless it states the law correctly. State v. Davis, 483 A.2d 740, 745 (Me.1984); State v. Reed, 479 A.2d 1291, 1295 (Me.1984). We have consistently held the "procuring agent" defense to be unavailable under Maine law when, as here, the jury could have found that the defendant acted on behalf of the...

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7 cases
  • State v. Barnard
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • May 11, 2001
    ...on drugs, drug ledgers and paraphernalia found in home, and witness testimony about previous drug transactions); see also State v. Deering, 611 A.2d 972, 975 (Me.1992) (declaring evidence that defendant negotiated terms of sale for drugs, procured drugs, delivered them, and accepted payment......
  • State v. Siracusa, Docket: Yor–16–289
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • May 4, 2017
    ...necessary respects of the governing law." Mahmoud , 2016 ME 135, ¶ 10, 147 A.3d 833 (quotation marks omitted); see also State v. Deering , 611 A.2d 972, 974 (Me. 1992) (stating "that a jury can determine the meaning of [the statutory term] ‘consideration’ by common sense" without further in......
  • State v. Jordan, 7288
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1995 the trial court and the record on appeal is sufficient to allow an informed review of the questions involved.' " State v. Deering, 611 A.2d 972, 974 (Me.1992) (quoting State v. Goodine, 587 A.2d 228, 229-30 (Me.1991)). Because Jordan did not provide a record of the pretrial publicity, it......
  • State v. Hall, Docket: Yor-18-277
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • August 6, 2019
    ...; when a term is not defined in a statute, a jury can generally determine the meaning of the term by common sense, see State v. Deering , 611 A.2d 972, 974 (Me. 1992).[¶29] Here, the statutory terms were "sufficiently covered" by the instruction that the court gave, which provided the statu......
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