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.
Crime and Justice
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.
Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos asks, ‘Do we believe in redemption or not?’ while seeking support to overturn a parole ban that has existed in Maine for 45 years.
The Judiciary Committee opposed Gov. Janet Mills’ plans to flat-fund the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services in the upcoming budget and instead is pushing for the state to greatly expand its oversight of attorneys.
Gov. Janet Mills intends to recommend people to fill three vacancies and two expired terms on the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services as early as next month.
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