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
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."