Judge approves forfeiture of New Sharon woman’s animals to state

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FARMINGTON — A Franklin County judge granted a state prosecutor’s request Friday for all animals seized by the state from Carol Murphy’s residence in New Sharon on Oct. 1 to be forfeited to the state.

Active-Retired Judge Robert Clifford denied Murphy’s motion to dismiss the forfeiture and the case because Murphy did not attend the hearing.

Murphy, 70, was issued a contempt of court citation on Oct. 1 for violating a 2010 court-ordered lifetime ban on possessing animals.

Murphy has filed several documents with the court claiming it has no jurisdiction over her “void” case. She claims the warrant the state executed at her residence at 248 Lane Road on Oct. 1 was unconstitutional and illegal, and that the seizure of the animals was illegal. She has told the court not to communicate with her.

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She also calls the court a Franklin County corporation and does not recognize it as a court.

A telephone number listed for Murphy in a phone book has been disconnected. No other listing for her was available, including on the Internet.

Murphy is accused of having animals since Jan. 1, while under the court ban.

A judge entered a denial to a contempt of court complaint for Murphy on Oct. 8, when she refused to enter it herself.

Murphy filed a written response contesting the seizure of the 14 animals, according to a court document.

The animals seized were four dogs; a pot-bellied pig; five chinchillas, including three babies; two rabbits; a cat and a kitten. The animals are in the custody of state animal welfare agents.

Murphy was convicted in 2005 and 2010 on animal cruelty charges and ordered by the court both times to never possess animals. Murphy claimed the first order was not legal because it was not put in the court’s sentencing paperwork.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 22 for a conference to try to negotiate a settlement of the contempt proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said after Friday’s court hearing.

The plenary contempt of court proceeding is used when the state seeks more than 30 days in jail, he said. It affords Murphy the same safeguards as a criminal case, he said.

The state is looking at the case because she has been ordered by two Maine judges not to possess animals, and for the second time, she has willingly possessed animals, he said.

“We are going to seek a significant amount of jail time,” Robbins said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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