Lewiston man gets time-served for burglaries

AUBURN — A judge apologized Wednesday to a Lewiston man before sentencing him to time served and a year of probation on five burglary charges.

Daniel Ouellette
submitted photo

Daniel Ouellette

“You slipped through the cracks,” Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy told Daniel Ouellette.

Kennedy said the fact that Ouellette sat in jail for more than 10 months after he was picked up on a probation violation was “absolutely unacceptable.”

Ouellette, 49, had complained during his time behind bars that he wasn't getting the services he needed, including proper mental and physical health care. He has a civil lawsuit pending against the Androscoggin County sheriff, the jail administrator and jail health providers.

Kennedy said she believed Ouellette benefited from his time in jail because he was forced to become sober and had time to “marshal your thoughts.”

“You're obviously an extremely intelligent man,” Kennedy told Ouellette, who wore a Rolling Stones T-shirt illustrated by red lips and tongue.

While sympathetic to Ouellette's long jail stint, Kennedy said he owed an apology for his criminal behavior that included burglaries of five businesses across the mid-Maine region.

In November 2011, Ouellette burgled Bessey Insurance offices in Buckfield, prying open a lockbox and taking cash, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis said.

He also broke into the Hebron Town Hall to steal a safe and stole cash from the American Mortgage Building in Turner that month, Matulis said.

In April last year, he pried open a door at H&R Block in Lewiston and took money from a safe. A month later, he broke a door at Creative Expressions in Lewiston and took a cash register, Matulis said.

Ouellette admitted to the crimes.

Matulis was seeking a sentence of seven years in prison with all but three years suspended, plus three years of probation for two of the burglaries. Each of those Class B crimes is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. For the other three burglaries, Matulis asked for maximum sentences of five years for each with all but three years suspended, plus two years of probation. Each sentence would run at the same time, he said. Matulis also asked the judge for restitution to repay the businesses for their lost cash and damages.

Kennedy ordered Ouellette to pay $100 restitution to each of the five victims.

Matulis cited Ouellette's prior criminal convictions dating back to the early 1980s, including at least eight burglaries and several thefts.

Donald Hornblower, Ouellette's attorney, said his client had turned his life around, recently staying out of jail pending trial.

Twice married with a 30-year-old daughter, Ouellette is a loner, Hornblower said. Shortly after Ouellette was born, his mother committed suicide, Hornblower said. Ouellette has borderline personality disorder, suffering from a sense of abandonment along with a host of other mental and physical health problems, Hornblower said.

Ouellette started self-medicating when he was 14 and soon ran afoul of the law. He completed high school and one semester of college.

Ouellette was most successful when he worked at the Sugarloaf/USA ski resort, living in the Farmington area, away from the negative influences of an urban setting, Hornblower said. Ouellette hopes to finish college and become financially independent.

“This is truly the most unique circumstance I've had to deal with” since becoming a judge, Kennedy said.

“What I hear from you today is hope,” Kennedy said before sentencing Ouellette to two years in prison with all of it suspended except the time he has served in jail. He must submit to searches if he arouses suspicions and he must get mental health counseling, Kennedy said.

“I wish you the best of luck,” Kennedy said. “Actually, I hope I never see you again.”

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I would think.......

I would think the insurance companies of those businesses that were robbed might not think $100.00 is quite sufficient compensation for their troubles. Ten months isn't quite sufficient time for these crimes. I would guess he is bragging all over town right about now, about just how dumb the system is. Are we supposed to be feeling sorry for this guy? Evidently the only time anyone is safe around here is while this individual is in jail. I wonder how many businesses or other dwellings will be entered and damaged before he gets caught the next time. Unless of course he happens to break into the wrong place at the wrong time. At which point the owner will be dragged into court for using deadly force against an unarmed individual at three in the morning. I can see it now................

Robert McQueeney's picture

Why?

Why is an apology being given to a parole violator who robbed 5 businesses? Okay, he fell thru the cracks of the legal system.

Let's look at this again. He was already previously arrested and convicted and on parole. He robbed 5 businesses. He was accidentally forced to sit in jail for 10 months? For 5 burglaries? IMO, that time does not fit the crime of 5 burglaries. Falling thru the cracks of the legal system is an occupational hazard to those who engage in this activity. No apology required.

 's picture

Apology appropriate

Of course the appology is warranted! What a shame that you mix what is right about the appology with what is wrong with the criminal. He shouldn't have been given a better outcome because of the errors, in my opinion. I wonder if he signed an agreement to not sue for rights violations for the better sentence! I have no sympathy for him for his crimes. As for the sad life story the article presents, while unfortunate and serves as some understanding of his life choices, doesn't negate the responsibility this criminal has to society to abide by the law.

Noel Foss's picture

6th Amendment.

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

I suspect the Judge was apologizing on the basis of possibly infringing on the accused's constitutional right. According to the interwebs, generally it's not considered a violation until a full year has passed, but longer times can be judged constitutional, and shorter wait times have been considered violations.

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