GRAND ISLE, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has affirmed the judgment against a Grand Isle man who was convicted in 2012 of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and furnishing liquor to a minor stemming from events in December 2010, in which he gave alcohol to a 16-year-old girl and then subjected her to sexual contact when she was passed out and unable to resist.
Reginald Dube, 54, was found guilty of the crimes after a two-day jury trial before Justice E. Allen Hunter in Aroostook County Superior Court. The court sentenced Dube to eight years of incarceration on the gross sexual assault conviction, with all but five years suspended, and three years of probation; five years of incarceration for the conviction of unlawful sexual contact, to be served concurrently; and 364 days of incarceration for the conviction of unlawful furnishing of alcohol, also to be served concurrently.
Dube’s attorney, Jon Plourde of Presque Isle, appealed the case to the Law Court, with District Attorney Todd Collins representing the state.
Dube contended in his appeal that the Superior Court erred in denying his motion to continue his trial to another date and in allowing the state to participate in a pretrial hearing on those motions. He also argued that the court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal, and contended that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions on the charges.
The incident with the teenager took place on Dec. 3, 2010. According to court documents, after the case had been continued off four trial lists, a jury was finally chosen on Dec. 5, 2012. On Dec. 10, 2012, two days before the trial was to begin, Dube’s attorney filed two motions, one to continue the trial and another seeking to view files or records pertaining to the treatment or hospitalization of the victim prior to the date of the party. Dube’s attorney filed the motions because he explained that just three days before the trial was to start, Dube had disclosed to him that the victim had been involuntarily hospitalized at least four times before the Dec. 2010 incidents, thereby “giving rise to a concern that information related to these hospitalizations may contain exculpatory evidence.” He argued that evidence of the victim’s hospitalizations would have helped establish that the victim had a motive to fabricate the events at issue.
The court held a hearing on the motions the next day. Dube’s attorney objected to the state’s participation in the hearing on the grounds that it would disclose Dube’s “working theory of the case.” Hunter allowed the state to remain and later denied both motions. He ruled that Dube had filed the motions nearly 11 months after the established deadline.
After the state rested its case, Dube moved for a judgment of acquittal, which the court denied.
Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gorman ruled that the trial court acted appropriately in its handling of motions filed on the eve of trial and did not abuse its discretion in denying those motions, and found the evidence was sufficient to support Dube’s conviction.
Gorman said that while Dube was not allowed by the court to review the victim’s hospital files, he was permitted to and did cross examine the victim at trial about her hospitalizations and her motivation to lie about Dube’s actions. Gorman also said that the justices agreed that the court did not err when refusing to grant the motion to continue the case, as Dube had failed to show that granting the motion to continue would have likely altered the outcome of the proceeding.