Saturday, December 3, 2016

Maine: Carol Murphy, 72, sentenced to nearly a year in jail over animal ban violation

MAINE -- A New Sharon woman who violated a ban on possessing animals and has a history of abusing them was sentenced Friday to serve about a year in jail on a contempt of court conviction.

Carol Murphy, 72, of Lane Road, New Sharon, received the 364-day jail sentence in Franklin County Superior Court from Justice William Stokes, who agreed to a stay of execution that would postpone the jail time until her appeal is heard by the state law court.


Stokes said the conditions at Murphy’s property were “shameful, horrid, disgusting and despicable” and sentenced her to the maximum penalty allowed.

Murphy, who has claimed to be a “sovereign citizen” and says she doesn’t recognize the authority of the states to enforce laws, said in court Friday that “we are not in Nazi Germany” and that “it’s not possible to do this in the United States.”

Following her sentence, Murphy signed bail papers and was released pending her appeal. Under conditions of her release, Murphy is subject to random searches for possession of animals.

 
 

In court Friday morning, Stokes said he had read all the transcripts from Murphy’s previous court appearances and told Murphy that he did not see her as a victim of judicial and law enforcement misconduct, as the woman claims, but rather saw her as “obstinate,” “truculent” and “contemptuous” of the judicial system. Stokes said she had insulted everyone who sought to bring her to justice, calling them crooks in a kangaroo court and accusing them of violating the very laws they sought to enforce.

For that, Stokes said, he was going to ignore a sentence of six months in the county jail as suggested by Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins, who prosecuted the case, and instead impose the maximum sentence allowed — 364 days in jail.

Dead calf left to rot in a field

Murphy has spent time in prison for a number of animal-related offenses over the last decade, along with a felony conviction for assault on a state trooper with a stun gun in 2009 when he tried to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines.

In 2005, Murphy was convicted on one count of animal cruelty and four counts of possession without a permit after officials seized dozens of pets from her home. She was sentenced to 24 hours in jail, ordered to pay restitution and forbidden to own animals.

The animals were being abused and were living in unhealthy and inhumane conditions where the air quality was poor and reeked of ammonia, according to court documents. Few animals had water or food in their cages, and a pig’s cage was so small the pig could not turn around, prosecutors said.


In court Friday, Murphy, assisted by Wilton lawyer Margot Joly, who was assigned as a “standby” for Murphy representing herself, repeated previous assertions that “everything is void” because authorities did not have a search warrant in the original 2004 case that went to trial in 2005. She said the courts had no jurisdiction over her.

Murphy also claimed that Robbins was not a duly sworn officer of the court and demanded that the judge have him arrested. Stokes waved off the suggestion, knowing that Robbins had taken the oath in that courtroom.


Meanwhile, Murphy claimed that law enforcement raided her property, knocked down fences and killed her $10,000 horse, beheading it and leaving the “corpse” lying in her yard.

Citing court transcripts, Stokes told another story of cruelty and unimaginable filth in which Murphy’s animals were forced to live. He told Murphy how her neighbors had reported her “filthy, horrid, feces- and urine-infested property.” He said when authorities found a dead skunk on her property, they feared it was rabid.

This poor horse is barely alive

They also found the horse Murphy mentioned “emaciated and unable to stand, laying in feces and urine mud.”

The horse, Stokes said, showed possible signs of rabies. It was euthanized and its head was taken to a laboratory in Augusta for rabies testing. He said state and local officials acted properly.

Dead animals, left to rot where they died

“The conditions were shameful, horrid, disgusting and despicable,” Stokes said, before imposing the maximum sentence on Murphy.

In 2010 Murphy was convicted again of animal cruelty after law enforcement officers had found more than 40 emaciated pets at her home and a ban was imposed again.

Murphy’s contempt conviction on Nov. 16 stemmed from incidents that happened from January to September 2014, in which witnesses said she was seen with animals even though she was still subject to the 2010 ban.

On Oct. 1, 2014, during a search carried out by police, Murphy was found in possession of four dogs, a cat, a pot-bellied pig, chinchillas and a rabbit.

Murphy was summoned for contempt of court and her trial was scheduled for June 2015.


Robbins has said it took two years to get the case to court because Murphy allegedly failed to appear in court on two occasions during that period and spent more than four months in jail for a traffic violation. Murphy last month told a judge she would appeal her conviction.

In the final tense moments in court Friday, Stokes told Murphy she had to sign her continuing bail bond paperwork and agree to the conditions of her not having animals and submit to random searches of her property, or he would rescind his offer of a stay of execution of the jail time.

Murphy waited for a while — about 15 minutes, as she considered the conditions — and then signed the paperwork and left the courthouse.


(Press Herald - Dec 2, 2016)

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