A multiple OUI offender’s appeal of his sentence drew a dubious reaction from justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday.

“This might be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for,’ ” Justice Donald Alexander told Rory McNamara, the lawyer for Andrew Bean, 63, of South Paris, who is appealing a five-year sentence for his 10th and 11th OUI convictions.

“The sentence you got is way below” what many in similar circumstances would get, Alexander said. Both McNamara and Oxford County Assistant District Attorney Joseph O’Connor conceded the sentence was relatively lenient, given Bean’s record.

Bean’s latest OUI arrests came in late 2015. He recorded a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol level on one arrest and 0.29 percent on the second. Prosecutors and Bean’s lawyers agreed to two 10-year sentences, to run concurrently, with at least five years suspended, meaning Bean would serve no more than five years in jail.

But McNamara said the judge in the case never verbally ran through the “Hewey” analysis, based on a 1991 state Supreme Court ruling, for how he arrived at the sentence. In that ruling, the Supreme Court said judges who are handing down a sentence should determine a base sentence for a crime, then review aggravating and mitigating factors, and then finally determine how much of a sentence should be suspended.

McNamara conceded the sentence was at the top of the cap that Bean and his lawyers had agreed to, but without the Hewey analysis, there was no way to determine whether it could have been lighter, he said.

Justice Ellen A. Gorman said she couldn’t understand appealing a sentence that fell within the range of what the defendant had agreed to. Some justices wondered why any explanation would be needed with a plea deal in place.

“How can this be anything but harmless error?” Alexander asked.

“I really have the question: ‘Why are you here?’ ” he said. “The sentence can only get worse.”

But McNamara said a section of state law could be interpreted as precluding a longer sentence when the state Supreme Court sends a case back to a lower court.

Near the end of oral arguments, the justices seemed to agree that not all judges have been following the ruling that requires them to verbally run through the Hewey analysis when handing down sentences. The justices could, as part of their decision, agree that judges need to be reminded of the Hewey requirements.

Bean, who was also convicted on both federal and state charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, was also sentenced to three years of probation and fined $2,100 on each OUI charge. His sentence in Maine is running concurrent with a 21-month sentence on the federal firearms charge, which he is serving at a federal prison on New Hampshire.

The state Supreme Court typically rules on issues months after oral arguments.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:

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