State v. Witham

876 A.2d 40 (2005)

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State v. Witham

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
876 A.2d 40 (2005)

Facts

John Witham (defendant) lived with his girlfriend, Augusta, who owned a cat. Witham did not like the cat and frequently would fight with Augusta about the cat living with them. One day, Witham was sitting in his truck with the cat in a carrier in the car with him. Augusta came outside and the two began arguing over the cat. Witham said “last chance, either me or your cat,” before dropping the cat carrier. Witham then maneuvered the car to run over the carrier and killed the cat. A witness testified that he observed Witham laughing after running over the animal. The State of Maine (the State) (plaintiff) charged Witham with aggravated cruelty to animals. The jury convicted Witham of the charge. On appeal, Witham argued that the cruelty-to-animals statute he was convicted under was void due to its unconstitutional vagueness. Particularly, Witham asserted that the statute’s reference to depraved indifference to animal life or suffering is not defined by the legislature and thus vague.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Levy, J.)

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