AUBURN, Maine— A Lisbon man who rammed a police cruiser with a dump truck in 2008 will remain in prison. Maine’s highest court upheld his conviction for attempted murder.
Prosecutors said that on Sept. 15, 2008, Bartolo Ford fled from Auburn police when they tried to stop his vehicle to question him about stolen concrete cylinders. Police said Ford repeatedly rammed their cruisers with his dump truck during the chase.
One of the officers shot Ford in the hip.
A jury convicted Ford of aggravated attempted murder and five other felonies. In November 2010, he was sentenced in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn to 20 years in prison with all but nine years suspended.
Ford, through his attorney, Justin Andrus, claimed that at trial, the judge made the mistake of failing to give jurors instructions on whether he was acting in self-defense and how intoxication might have affected his mental state before the jury began deliberations. Ford’s lawyer also told justices that the trial judge should have confirmed directly from Ford that he knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to testify at trial.
Prosecutors, however, argued that Ford’s attorneys not only waived instruction to the jury regarding self-defense and intoxication during a conference with the judge in chambers, but they also didn’t generate evidence at trial to support those two defense strategies.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed, upholding the conviction.
“In this case, Ford was represented by experienced defense counsel who pursued an abnormal state of mind defense, a completely appropriate tactic under the circumstances, and made strategic decisions not to pursue self-defense or voluntary intoxication defenses,” the justices wrote in their decision.
“The record clearly shows that Ford not only failed to request or argue for self-defense and voluntary intoxication instructions, but that he explicitly objected to their introduction after the trial court suggested that they might be relevant. He cannot now, after his first strategy failed, take the opposite position on appeal,” they wrote.