A Sidney man lost his challenge to a court ruling that allowed jurors to hear incriminating statements he made to two Maine state troopers while in his probation officer’s office.

Karl V. Kittredge, 49, was convicted in Kennebec County Superior Court of theft in 2012, and through attorney Thomas Carey appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which heard oral arguments in May.

Carey argued that jurors should not have been allowed to hear statements Kittredge made to police when they questioned him at his probation officer’s office. Carey said those statements were involuntary and should have been suppressed.

“A Miranda warning should have been given, but wasn’t,” Carey wrote in his brief.

The Miranda doctrine requires that people in custody be advised of their constitutional rights before being questioned.

On Thursday, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, the six supreme court justices affirmed the lower court’s ruling and Kittredge’s conviction.

“We conclude that the state’s exercise of its authority to require a probationer to appear at a specific place to discuss matters related to his probation does not, standing alone, place the probationer in custody,” Saufley wrote.

The justices also concluded there was sufficient evidence to support Kittredge’s conviction.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, who prosecuted the case against the elder Kittredge, urged the justices to uphold the trial court’s decision and let the verdict stand. She argued that the questioning of Kittredge by two state troopers in the office of Kittredge’s probation officer was not custodial and did not require a warning about self-incrimination.

“I appreciate the law court’s carefully written and well-reasoned opinion,” Maloney said in an email on Thursday. She also said the decision “clarifies the rules around questioning a probationer.”

She said the main issue involved the question of custody.

“The court held that Mr. Kittredge, who was on probation, was not in custody merely because a probation officer directed him to come to the office to be interviewed by two troopers, when troopers told him he was not under arrest and did not have to talk to them,” Maloney wrote. “Mr. Kittredge freely left after the discussion.”

Carey on Thursday said, “We have no comment at this time.”

Kittredge was convicted of a June 11, 2012, theft by unauthorized taking in Kennebec County Superior Court in August and was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 42 months suspended and two years probation. The unsuspended portion of the sentence was made concurrent with a probation revocation.

Kittredge was accused in the theft of jewelry, drugs and tickets to Saco’s Funtown Splashtown USA as well as a safe from the home of a Randolph woman who was a friend of his wife’s. Kittredge previously had installed the safe so the woman could protect her belongings as well as her medication.

The same jury cleared Kittredge of a related charge of burglary.

Kittredge’s son had been charged in the burglary and theft as well, but that case was dismissed for insufficient evidence, according to the court record.

In the brief filed before the oral arguments, Carey wrote, “The troopers interrogated Karl about (the victim’s) safe to such an extent that Karl broke down and made arguably incriminating statements. Karl did not feel free to leave, nor did he feel like he had a choice but to answer the officers’ questions.”

Kittredge was on probation for a 2007 burglary spree that targeted Christmas presents in homes across Kennebec County.

Kittredge is being held at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren, and on Thursday, his earliest possible release date was listed as April 30, 2016, on the website of the Maine Department of Corrections.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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