AUGUSTA — Claudia Viles’ embezzlement conviction, Wade Hoover’s child sexual abuse conviction and Donald Beauchene’s efforts to get out of the Riverview Psychiatric Center are among the appeals set for oral arguments this week in Augusta.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court, will hear them as well as a number of other cases of local interest during a four-day session this week in the ceremonial courtroom accessed through the Capital Judicial Center.

The session kicks off 9 a.m. Tuesday with Beauchene’s bid to be freed from state custody.

Beauchene, now 73, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the 1969 killing of Bernadine Israelson in Portland, and is appealing an order denying his bid to get out of a state psychiatric hospital.

Beauchene’s attorney, Rory McNamara, says in his written briefs that Beauchene suffers from antisocial personality disorder rather than the “explosive personality” argued at the jury trial. He also says Beauchene has health problems, including “multiple injured cervical discs” and hernias.

“There is perhaps no more infamous an individual in the hospital than petitioner,” McNamara wrote. “For years, those who treat and evaluate him have exaggerated (Beauchene’s) criminal past. It is inconceivable that this myth hasn’t influenced providers’ recommendations to the court regarding petitioner’s suitability for discharge or release.”

He asks the Law Court to “vacate the trial court’s order denying the petition for discharge and modified release treatment.”

The state, represented by Assistant Attorney General Laura Yustak, asks the Law Court to uphold Justice Robert Mullen’s order keeping Beauchene in Riverview.

Yustak writes, “Beauchene failed to establish that the evidence compels a finding that he can be released or discharged without likelihood of injury to himself or others due to mental disease or defect.”

It notes that three mental health experts testifying in September 2016 said that “Beauchene continues to display essentially the same traits and symptoms identified when he first came into Maine’s criminal justice and mental health systems. His condition has not substantially changed, and his risk of escape and endangering others continues to be significant.”

The state says the circumstances here mimic those at a similar Law Court review in 2008, when Beauchene previously appealed a denial of discharge.

It says Beauchene “has not developed stable relationships with others, as demonstrated by his seven marriages and divorces,” and adds, “Beauchene’s ‘personality pathology’ remains intact, and that he continues to be dangerous and an escape risk.”

Beauchene, who escaped twice from Riverview’s predecessor, the Augusta Mental Health Institute, spent 15 years in prison in New York for rape and sodomy after his second escape, and then five years in a Maine prison for the hospital escape. He’s maintained he’s innocent of the New York charges.

Here is a brief look at some of the cases to be argued this week:

• Seamon appeals conviction and sentence

At 9:50 a.m., Tuesday, the court will hear an appeal involving Andrew Seamon, of Augusta, who was convicted Sept. 1, 2016, of unlawful sexual contact that occurred May 31, 2012-May 31, 2013, in Augusta. The same Kennebec County jury cleared him of one count of gross sexual assault and deadlocked on a second count, which resulted in a mistrial.

Seamon is appealing both his conviction and his sentence.

Seamon, 50, was sentenced to an initial six years in prison, with the remainder of the nine-year sentence suspended while he serves 12 years of probation. He is serving the in-custody portion of the sentence at the Maine State Prison.

Seamon, through attorney Caitlin Ross Wahrer, maintains statements he made to Augusta police Detective Tori Tracy should have been suppressed and that Seamon’s classification under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act was incorrect.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kristin Murray-James, maintains Seamon’s statements to Tracy were voluntary. Murray-James also says Seamon should be classified as a lifetime registrant under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The victim, a boy who was 8 years old at the time of the offense, spent two hours testifying at the trial.

• Rome land dispute

At 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, the court is scheduled to hear an appeal in a civil case involving a land dispute along Great Pond in Rome.

Ricky and Monica Conant, through attorneys Catherine Connors and Jared des Rosiers, want the Law Court to vacate a decision granting neighbor Peter M. Beckerman a right of way across their land to access South Crane Lane, and via that, Jamaica Point Road.

The Conants maintain that a “1978 deed does not create a right-of-way across the Conants Lot.”

Beckerman bought the lot, which borders Great Pond, in 1988. Through attorney Alton Stevens, he asks the Law Court to uphold the superior court ruling from April 29, 2016.

Beckerman maintains his deed “is unambiguous and clearly grants him a right-of-way from the Jamaica Point Road all the way to his property.”

• Viles argues lack of evidence

At 9:50 a.m., Wednesday, the Law Court expects to hear an appeal in the case of former Anson Treasurer Claudia Viles, who was convicted of embezzling money from the town.

Viles was convicted June 22, 2016, of theft and tampering with public records or information as well as 11 counts of failure to make or file tax returns. She was sentenced Sept. 2, 2016, to serve an initial five years in prison, and the remaining three years were suspended while she is on three years of probation. She also was ordered to pay $566,257 in restitution to the town of Anson.

Viles remains free on bail pending resolution of this appeal. Testimony at trial in Somerset County showed that Viles’ pay was based on a percentage of the excise tax and a percentage of the real estate commitment.

Viles, through attorney Walter McKee, maintains there was insufficient evidence to convict her of theft and tampering with public records and says “the state failed to present any evidence that Viles was the person who actually stole the money.”

McKee asks the Law Court to vacate those two convictions.

He says testimony showed “that the monies at issue were unsecured for wide swaths of time” and that keys to the Town Office were easily duplicated.

McKee says the state proved that Viles took in excise taxes in one amount and later there was a bank deposit of a different amount.

“The state’s evidence of what happened between those two times was either severely compromised or just plain missing,” he wrote.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, says a forensic audit showed Viles “diverted over $500,000 in excise taxes to her own use from Jan. 1, 2010, through Sept. 18, 2014, in addition to failing to file her own personal state tax returns or pay taxes June 2003-2015.

“Viles was able to steal for years from the Town of Anson, because, as an elected official, she had virtually no supervision,” Robbin wrote.

• Hoover appeals sentence

At 9 a.m. Thursday, Wade Hoover, a former martial arts instructor from Augusta, already serving 40 years in prison on federal convictions for producing and possessing child pornography, some of it showing him abusing two boys under age 12, is appealing his 60-year state sentence for raping the boys in Kennebec County and Somerset County.

The state offenses occurred from December 2008 to April 2012. Hoover’s recordings of those attacks allowed authorities to identify him. Hoover pleaded guilty to those attacks and was sentenced on Feb. 24, 2016, at the Capital Judicial Center.

Hoover’s attorney, Scott Hess, is appealing the state sentence on the grounds that it is a “de facto life sentence” and therefore required a judge to specify special aggravating factors, and that the sentence is excessive.

“He will be in his nineties when he is released, in the extremely unlikely event he lives that long,” Hess wrote in the appeal. He says the court should have considered rehabilitation in the sentence.

“Hoover did not kill anyone,” he wrote. “Hoover did not maim anyone. Hoover did not kidnap or threaten anyone. Hoover did not use a weapon.”

Hess asks for a remand back to the superior court for re-sentencing.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh, on behalf of the state, maintains in his filing that the sentences are proper. He asks that the appeal be denied and urges the law court to uphold the sentences — 35 year for the Kennebec cases and 25 years consecutive for the Somerset case — followed by a lifetime of supervision.

Cavanaugh recapped findings from the sentencing hearing by saying, “Mr. Hoover was each boys’ karate instructor. He had befriended the boys’ mothers. While neither boy remembered the abuse because they had been drugged, each suffered significantly from the violations of their body and trust.”

• Belgrade drunken driving appeal

At 9 a.m. Friday, an appeal is scheduled to be heard in a drunken driving case.

Lyanne Lemeunier-Fitzgerald, through attorneys Darrick Banda as well as Jamesa Drake and Zachary Heiden on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation, maintains that results of a blood-alcohol test should have been suppressed since she consented to it under the threat of imprisonment.

Lemeunier-Fitzgerald’s attorneys ask the Law Court to decide that “a defendant has a constitutional right to refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test, and that the implied consent warning impairs the free exercise of that right.”

Lemeunier-Fitzgerald, 50, of Belgrade, entered a guilty plea — conditional on the outcome of the appeal — to operating under the influence. She was sentenced to an initial 45 days in jail, with the remainder of the three-year sentence suspended, and two years of probation. The sentence is stayed pending appeal.

She was found Dec. 21, 2015, in Augusta behind the wheel of a vehicle that was parked incorrectly in a parking space at a supermarket.

The Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which filed a brief in the case, says this is “the first opportunity to test whether Maine’s mandatory minimum period of incarceration for refusing to submit to a blood test runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court’s (2016) decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota.”

The state, through Assistant District Attorney Kate Marshall, says the Augusta police officer read Lemeunier-Fitzgerald warnings from an implied consent form, including information that refusing a chemical test, if convicted, carries a mandatory minimum jail term.

“Every state, including Maine, has legislatively enacted ‘implied consent laws’ that require motorists, as a condition of operating a motor vehicle, to consent to chemical testing if they are arrested or detained upon suspicion of impaired driving,” Marshall says.

She adds, “Unlike the implied consent statutes previously in effect in Minnesota and North Dakota, Maine’s implied consent law does not criminalize the act of refusing; rather, a refusal ‘may be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing if the person is convicted of operating under the influence of intoxicants.”

The Maine attorney general’s office filed a brief in support of the district attorney’s position.

All the hearings are open to the public and live audio streaming is available. Each of the appeal hearings lasts about 40 minutes.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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