April 06, 2020

Michaud to appeal conviction > Lawyers protest use of police tapes at trial

CARIBOU — Attorneys for Dean Michaud, who is serving a 13-year sentence for the death of a college classmate, will appeal his manslaughter conviction and sentence to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Michaud, 20, of Clair, New Brunswick, will argue that tapes of interviews he had with police should not have been played during his November trial for the killing of a 20-year-old classmate, according to a notice filed this week in Aroostook County Superior Court.

Michaud was sentenced last week to 16 years in jail, with three years suspended, for the manslaughter death of Thomas Maki, 20, of East Bridgewater, Mass. Both were students at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

Currently, Michaud is at the state prison in Thomaston, according to the appeal notice.

Several hours of audiotapes of Michaud being interviewed by two state police detectives after Maki’s death were played for Justice Susan Calkins during the non-jury trial in Caribou during the fall. Initially charged with murder, Michaud was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter after a five-day trial.

During pretrial proceedings, Michaud’s attorneys, E. Allen Hunter and Scott Hunter, both of Caribou, filed a motion to suppress those tapes and not have them entered as evidence during the trial. The attorneys had argued that because of Michaud’s predominately French-Canadian background, Michaud didn’t understand what was happening during the questioning.

Michaud also should have been read his Miranda rights before the questioning, the defense attorneys argued.

But another Superior Court judge, Justice Paul T. Pierson, had denied the motion to suppress these tapes in October before the trial, finding that there was no language barrier between Michaud and police during the interviews.

In his decision, Pierson also determined there was no evidence of physical restraint being placed on Michaud during the interviews.

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