Courts and Crime

Three years in jail and $1.4 million in restitution: that's Ali Ratib Daham's sentence for a welfare fraud scheme he ran from a Portland halal market, according to a press release from U.S. District Attorney Halsey Frank.

U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby imposed the sentence, saying that Daham's actions caused distrust of government welfare programs and may lead to prejudice against welfare recipients and immigrants.

Maine High Court Considers Whether Facebook Posting Violates No-Contact Order

Jun 15, 2018
Richard Drew / Associated Press

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will decide if a man violated the law by posting comments on his Facebook page about a person he was forbidden to contact.

The Maine supreme court says employers don't have to pay for medical marijuana under the state workers' compensation system.

In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled Thursday that federal law takes precedence in a conflict between the federal Controlled Substances Act and the state medical marijuana law.

The case focused on whether a paper mill must pay for medical marijuana for a worker who was hurt on the job.

Patty Wight / Maine Public/file

The attorney for the woman accused in the beating death of her 10-year-old daughter, Marissa Kennedy, argued before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday to have state prosecutors removed from the case.  At issue are confidential records -  including a psychological exam -  that the defense attorney says the state improperly subpoenaed from Sharon Carrillo's former school.  

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

In an unexpected announcement, Maine's chief justice says that in the future state court records will be available to the public online.  

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley says she envisions something similar to the federal PACER system which charges a small fee for online access to  court documents such as schedules, motions and decisions.

A judge in Maine has denied a request for new DNA testing from a man convicted in the execution-style shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and the toddler she was baby-sitting.

The Bangor Daily News reports 55-year-old Jeffrey Cookson is seeking a new trial for the 1999 killings in Dexter. He argues that a DNA test of hair found in his ex-girlfriend's hand could exonerate him. Previous tests indicated the hair was not his.

The judge declined to order new tests last week, saying there was no proof the hair came from the killer.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

ALFRED, Maine - A 51-year-old woman police have charged with driving onto a baseball field and striking and killing a man is being held on $500,000 bail.
Carol Sharrow of Sanford, Maine, made her first court appearance in the manslaughter case on Monday. She's charged with killing 68-year-old Douglas Parkhurst and faces up to 30 years in jail.

An advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mainers said Monday’s Supreme Court court decision favoring a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple actually affirms that states can protect LGBT people from discrimination in the marketplace.

Matt Moonen, executive director for Equality Maine, said the court ruling essentially concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not acted impartially when it originally considered the case.

A Maine man has pleaded guilty to running an illegal sports gambling operation out of his home and business for 14 years, netting him millions.

The Portland Press Herald reports 61-year-old Stephen Mardigan pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawful gambling, money laundering and filing a false tax return.

Court documents show Mardigan ran the gambling operation from his Portland home and business from 2003 to 2017.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

The ACLU of Maine says the outcome of a federal free speech case against President Trump bodes well for a similar lawsuit the organization filed against Governor Paul LePage.

ACLU of Maine Legal Director, Zachary Heiden says in both cases, the defendants were stifling comments and participation on a public social media site.

The superintendent of schools in Lewiston says a lockdown that began at about 9:30 a.m. Monday at Lewiston High School is over.

On Twitter, Bill Webster says the school has been given the “all clear” and returned to normal operations after about an hour of being locked down. He says the district put the school in lockdown on police advice, and that it was just a precaution.

“We’re in times when we’ve got to take every conceivable situation seriously, even though in the past this might not even have raised a red flag,” Webster says.

On technical grounds, a federal judge in Connecticut has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Nestle Waters North America, the parent company of Poland Spring.

The suit alleges that the company has been perpetuating a colossal fraud against American consumers by claiming on its label that bottles contain 100 percent natural spring water. In their suit plaintiffs say Poland Spring products contain ordinary ground water collected from wells.

Rather than deal with these allegations, the judge agrees with Nestle that plaintiffs' claims are all preempted by federal law.

Maine State Police

Maine State Police say they have nabbed a long-haul trucker who has been evading tolls for up to six years, avoiding more than $1,300 in tolls in Maine alone.

Troopers said Friday that 61-year-old Danny Olson of Turner avoided paying tolls by attaching license plates belonging to a deceased motorist and another man who was not involved in the scheme.

Police say Olson was arrested Thursday after driving from New Hampshire. Charges include theft of services, illegal license plates and logbook violations.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Investigators with the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department are following up on leads as they try to identify the individuals who vandalized 22 RSU 16 School District buses and a pick-up truck parked at the administrative office in Poland.

The RSU 16 district includes the towns of Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls. Chief Deputy William Gagne says the office has received a few calls. Gagne says, in addition, that a couple who lives in RSU 16 has offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved with the criminal mischief.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

MaineCare's ban on abortion coverage was challenged in the state Supreme Court Wednesday.