Thursday, May 23, 2013

State v. Gadreault case brief

State v. Gadreault case brief
758 A.2d 781

CASE SYNOPSIS: Defendant appealed from District Court of Vermont, Unit No. 3, Washington Circuit, conviction for cruelty to animals. He argued primarily that the court erred by ruling the specific offenses of the cruelty statute with which he was charged did not include an intent element. He also raised speedy trial, constitutional violations, and recusal.

FACTS: A search of defendant's property revealed three frozen, dead pigs in an unsheltered pen in six inches of liquid manure, and a weak calf tethered to a fence post, having difficulty standing. Defendant was arraigned on four counts of animal cruelty under Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 352(3), (4). The State moved to preclude defendant from introducing a diminished capacity defense, arguing his were strict liability offenses. Defendant was found guilty on three counts. He was sentenced to six months to one year on each count, suspended with probation. He argued the court erred by ruling his offenses had no intent element, he was denied speedy trial, the search warrant was illegal, his constitutional rights were violated, and the trial judge should have recused himself. 


  • The court affirmed, because the punishment for violation of the statutory subsections was not severe, and since the subsections did not include an intent element, while other subsections did, the legislature intended offenders be held strictly liable
  • The constitutional and recusal arguments were not preserved for review. Lack of speedy trial was not prejudicial.

CONCLUSION: Convictions were affirmed, as the relevant statutory subsections did not provide an element of intent, unlike other statutory subsections, so court concluded legislature intended offenders be held strictly liable.

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