York County refused to release records about times it may have recorded and listened to phone calls between defense lawyers and people held at the jail.
Hard-fought reforms to Maine’s public defense system were enacted on July 15 without the signature of Gov. Janet Mills.
In a scathing court motion, Amy Fairfield accused the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services of launching a “targeted campaign” against her law firm.
Three bills cleared a major hurdle in the state House and Senate on Thursday and gained unanimous support of legislators. The reforms could change how Maine provides legal services to its poor and pays court-appointed attorneys.
The Legislature faces a vote on a $21.8 million package to overhaul the state’s criminal defense system, but Gov. Mills has yet to signal approval.
Private phone contracts at Maine jails and prisons are adding millions of dollars to state and local coffers while financially straining families.
Suzanne Dwyer-Jones was charged with impaired driving on May 10. She continued to represent the state’s poorest defendants — until she was suspended Thursday.
Lawyers and clients were unable to show that Securus Technologies intentionally recorded their calls at county jails, a federal judge ruled.
If confirmed by the Senate, lawyers Meegan Burbank and Matthew Morgan would help oversee the system they – and scores of other attorneys – violated.
Lawmakers delay decision again on whether to add money to the next state budget for legal services for Maine’s poor.
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