The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday unanimously set aside the sentence of a Bangor man convicted of stabbing another man to death at a violence prone nightclub on Feb. 1, 2020.
Rayshaun Moore, 37, is serving a 32-year sentence for murder at the Maine State Prison in Warren. A Penobscot County jury found him guilty of slaying Demetrius Snow, 25, in the parking lot of the Half Acre Nightclub on Harlow Street.
The justices upheld Moore’s conviction but ordered that he be resentenced. The same sentence could be imposed again with his earliest possible release date in September 2047 when he is 62.
A resentencing date has not been set.
Justices on Maine’s high court heard oral arguments in the appeal in June.
The justices agreed with Moore’s appellate attorney, Rory McNamara of York, that Superior Court Justice William Anderson improperly considered Moore’s decision to go to trial as a possible aggravating factor at his sentencing hearing.
“Mr. Moore appreciates the court’s effort to ensure his sentence is lawful,” McNamara said. “Though the conviction was upheld, Mr. Moore looks forward to future proceedings where he may continue to try and clear his name.”
The Maine Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the case because of Moore’s pending resentencing.
Justice Catherine Connors said Anderson should not have considered Moore’s decision to go to trial in determining what sentence to impose.
“Here, the court concluded that most or all courts would agree that ‘if you get convicted after a trial, then you’re showing no remorse, and … that’s a proper sentencing consideration,’” she wrote for the state’s high court. “Although the sentencing court then stated it was going to be conservative in applying this principle, this is of no import because any increase in Moore’s sentence for that reason is improper.
“Because a fair reading of these remarks suggests that the sentencing court was — or might have been — influenced by Moore’s decision to stand trial, we must vacate Moore’s sentence and remand for resentencing,” Connors concluded for the court.
Moore’s was one of the first murder trials in the state conducted during the pandemic. To ensure social distancing, the trial itself was held in one courtroom, jurors deliberated in a different courtroom and the public viewed the proceedings remotely from a conference room at the Penobscot Judicial Center.