Appeal denied for Brownville woman convicted of giving alcohol, marijuana at daughter’s birthday party

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted April 22, 2013, at 6:25 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the conviction of a Brownville woman found guilty of supplying drugs and alcohol to minors.

Tanya Donnelly, 38, was convicted by a jury in March 2012 on several charges that stemmed from a birthday party she held for her daughter and the girl’s friends in 2011 at which she supplied marijuana and alcohol.

The high court affirmed the Piscataquis County Superior Court jury’s verdict in a ruling issued on April 18.

On March 21, 2012, Donnelly was convicted on all seven counts: aggravated unlawful furnishing of a schedule Z drug, aggravated furnishing of marijuana, unlawful furnishing of a schedule Z drug, unlawful furnishing of marijuana, furnishing liquor to a minor, allowing a minor to possess or consume liquor, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges stemmed from a birthday party Donnelly held for her daughter on March 24, 2011. Six friends of her daughter testified that Donnelly took the girls to the basement of her house, where she smoked marijuana with three of them. The girls were between the ages of 11 and 12 at the time.

The witnesses said that Donnelly bought them Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a malt beverage, from a nearby store and served it to them mixed with Kool-Aid.

After one of the girls appeared to have had too much to drink, according to a witness, she went to a neighbor’s house, where she wanted to fight another girl who wasn’t at the party.

To calm her down, Donnelly gave her a prescription drug. Witnesses differed on what was given to the girl: Klonopin, an anti-seizure medication or Clonidine, a medication used to treat high blood pressure and hypertension.

“Since the birthday party, my parents won’t let me go to other birthday parties because they’re afraid it will happen again,” one of the girls said during sentencing on June 1.

“Contrary to Donnelly’s contention, the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State, was sufficient for a rational jury to find each element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt for both counts of aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs,” read the high court’s decision. “Additionally, the court … did not abuse its discretion by imposing the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for that [aggravated furnishing] count.”

Justice William Anderson had the discretion to apply the escape clause, which would allow Donnelly to serve less than the minimum sentence, but did not.

Donnelly was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

On June 20, attorney Joseph Baldacci filed an appeal and Donnelly was released on $1,000 unsecured bail pending the outcome of the appeal.

Donnelly must report to Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft on Tuesday afternoon. According to Baldacci, she has already served roughly one month of her sentence.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/22/news/piscataquis/appeal-denied-for-brownville-woman-convicted-of-giving-alcohol-marijuana-at-daughters-birthday-party/ printed on August 20, 2014