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State v. Snowman
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	1997 ME 184
Docket:	Lin-96-243
on Briefs:	November 22, 1996
Decided:	August 8, 1997




	[¶1]  Louise Snowman appeals from the judgment entered in the
Superior Court (Lincoln County, Perkins, J.) affirming the judgment entered
in the District Court (Wiscasset, Westcott, J.) finding her guilty of disorderly
conduct (Class E), 17-A M.R.S.A. § 501(3) (1983), amended by P.L. 1995, ch.
258, § 1.{1}  Snowman argues the District Court erred by concluding the
statute did not require a contemporaneous order to cease.  We conclude that
the case is moot and dismiss the appeal.
	[¶2]  Louise Snowman was arrested on November 2, 1993, and
charged with disorderly conduct.  While the case was pending, she was
arrested and charged again with disorderly conduct on May 10, 1994.  The
cases were consolidated for trial, and she was found not guilty of the first
charge, but guilty of the second charge.  She was sentenced to 15 days in
the county jail, all suspended, and one year probation commencing on
December 2, 1994.  She brought an appeal in the Superior Court which
affirmed the judgment.
	[¶3]  The only issue we address is the State's contention that because
Snowman completed her one-year term of probation on December 1, 1995,
nothing remains on which her appeal may operate and the matter should be
dismissed.  Snowman argues she has a criminal conviction on her record
and that we may act on that conviction alone.  Because Snowman voluntarily
satisfied her sentence, we decline to act solely on her conviction.
	[¶4]  In State v. Osborne, 143 Me. 10, 54 A.2d 526 (1947), we
concluded that the defendant's voluntary payment of a fine mooted his
appeal.  We cited with approval cases from other jurisdictions that
concluded courts should avoid deciding a "mere speculative question," and
that it was "inconsistent" for a defendant to "yield a voluntary obedience to
a judgment of a court, and afterwards appeal therefrom."  Id. at 13, 527
(citations omitted).  Since deciding Osborne, we have adhered to its holding. 
See State v. Haskell, 492 A.2d 1265, 1266 (Me. 1985); State v. Lewis, 406
A.2d 886, 888 (Me. 1979); State v. Madden, 357 A.2d 516, 517-18 (Me.
1976).  These decisions comport with those of numerous other courts that
have considered the same question.  See J.P. Ludington, Comment Note,
When Criminal Case Becomes Moot so as to Preclude Review of or Attack on
Conviction or Sentence, 9 A.L.R. 3d 462 (1966 & Supp. 1996).
	[¶5]  The rationale underlying Osborne is the practical notion that
courts should not give gratuitous advice and litigation should be brought to a
final conclusion.  When drawing the line between these practical values and
clearing a defendant's record, we look to the actions of the defendant. 
Here, Snowman's probationary term was automatically stayed pending her
appeal pursuant to M.R. Crim. P. 38, but was reinstated at her request. 
Snowman's request demonstrates that she voluntarily accepted her
sentence.  In such circumstances prudential considerations of finality and
judicial economy prevail over a defendant's desire to clear her record.  See
State v. Irish, 551 A.2d 860, 861-62 (Me. 1988) ("The test generally used to
determine mootness is whether there remain sufficient practical effects
flowing from the resolution of the litigation to justify application of limited
judicial resources.") (quotation omitted) (alteration omitted).     	
	The entry is:
				Appeal dismissed.
Attorneys for State: Geoffrey Rushlau, District Attorney Patricia A. Mador, Asst. Dist. Atty. High Street Wiscasset, ME 04578 Attorney for defendant: William M. Avantaggio, Esq. Howard & Bowie P O Box 460 Damariscotta, ME 04543-0460
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1}. 17-A M.R.S.A. § 501(3) (1983), amended by P.L. 1995, ch. 258, § 1, provides: "[A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, i]n a private place, he makes loud and unreasonable noise which can be heard as unreasonable noise in a public place or in another private place, after having been ordered by a law enforcement officer to cease such noise."