Defense lawyers during online court hearing argued it may be too late, that their clients were treated illegally.
Crime & Justice
Courts routinely order people convicted of lesser crimes to report to jail on a certain date. When they show up in York County, they’re being told the sentence has been delayed.
The decision means new evidence may be considered in a high-profile, 1994 murder-rape case. A U.S. Supreme Court opinion was a key consideration.
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.
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