FARMINGTON — A Franklin County judge issued a bench warrant for Carol Murphy, a New Sharon woman who failed to appear Monday in relation to a contempt of court citation issued to her by police on Oct. 1.
Murphy, 70, is accused of violating a 2010 court order that banned her from possessing animals during her lifetime.
Murphy also did not appear on Oct. 31 when a judge granted the state’s request for forfeiture of the 14 animals police seized from her property in October.
Judge Susan Oram issued a $500 bench warrant for her arrest Monday, according to court documents.
Active-Retired Judge Robert Clifford denied Murphy’s motion on Oct. 31 to dismiss the forfeiture and the case because Murphy did not attend the hearing.
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.
Murphy is accused of having animals since Jan. 1, while under the court ban.
Murphy had filed a written response contesting the seizure of the 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.
A judge entered a denial to a contempt of court complaint for Murphy on Oct. 8, when she refused to enter it herself. At that time, the judge told her the next appearance on the contempt of court case would be Dec. 22. Monday would have been a conference to try to negotiate a settlement of the contempt proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins previously said.
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.
The plenary contempt of court proceeding is used when the state seeks more than 30 days in jail, Robbins said in October. It affords Murphy the same safeguards as a criminal case.
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 previously said.