Wednesday, December 22, 2004
PARIS — A registered Maine guide who was accused of violating state game
laws was found guilty Tuesday of nine of the 29 remaining counts against
him. Jurors in Oxford County Superior Court returned the verdict against
Lawrence Perry, 56, of Fryeburg after weighing the evidence for two hours
on the third day of deliberations.
Perry was found guilty on one of five counts of driving deer, two of five
counts of having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, and one of four counts
of unlawful bear hunting with more than four dogs. Other counts on which
he was convicted range from hunting without hunter orange clothing to illegal
possession of deer killed at night.
Perry remains free on his own recognizance while he awaits sentencing
next month. Two of the violations are Class D offenses, punishable by as
much as a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and seven are Class E offenses,
punishable by as much as six months and a $500 fine. He also faces revocation
of his licenses from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Perry was one of 15 hunters who were summonsed or arrested after an investigation
in which a game warden posed as a hunter from Pennsylvania. He is the only
one who decided to take the case to trial.
Both sides hailed the jury's verdict as a victory.
"This was a very successful operation for us," said Mark Latti,
spokesman for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "He
was found guilty on some major violations and he's going to lose his right
to hunt, to fish and to guide people."
Perry's attorney, William Maselli, said he was pleased at the outcome.
"We won more than a third, and three or four more were dismissed
before they even went to the jury," said Maselli, who promised an
appeal. He said it will focus largely on "whether or not it's constitutional
for a law enforcement officer to continually violate the law in the process
of entrapping citizens or encouraging citizens to commit crimes."
Maselli said Perry is a construction worker who never pursued a career
as a Maine guide. The undercover officer, Maselli said, "was the one
person he took money from over the last few years."