Courts and Crime

The man in charge of running the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has been placed on administrative leave, according to published reports.

Long Creek Superintendent Jeffrey Merrill could not be reached for comment. But his leave comes after a series of incidents that have raised questions about policies and safety for youth at the state-run prison.

Maine Warden Service

A tip to the Maine Warden’s Service resulted in charges for five hunters from Massachusetts and one from Maine after the group allegedly killed nearly 90 snowshoe hares during an illegal weekend hunting trip to Great Duck Island.

Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Wardens Service said the men were apprehended Saturday on Great Duck, about 10 miles off Mount Desert Island.

BOSTON - Federal authorities say 10 men have been arrested in an interstate opioid trafficking ring in Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida.
 
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said Thursday a three-year investigation led to the arrests. The men face charges including conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
 

PORTLAND, Maine - A new report finds gaps and inconsistencies in the sealing of juvenile records in Maine. 

While the juvenile justice system has traditionally emphasized treatment and rehabilitation for young people, limited safeguarding of these records can create consequences for people later in life.  Those consequences include difficulty finding a job, housing or serving in the military.   

A Superior Court judge has found in favor of a Maryland-based trash-to energy company that wants to build a $69 million dollar biogas, organic trash disposal facility in Hampden, just south of Bangor.

Plans are for Fiberright to take over the disposal contract for a group of 187 municipalities in the region currently doing business with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington. Last August, PERC filed an appeal of a decision by the Maine Department of Environment Protection to grant permits for Fiberight’s Hampden project.

Sarah Redmond / University of Maine Sea Grant

A Washington County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of several shorefront property owners who maintain that rockweed, a form of seaweed, is not a resource that falls under the public trust.

In his ruling, Justice Harold Stewart II concluded that rockweed growing in the intertidal zone is the property of the shorefront owner and should not be construed to be included under exemptions that include fishing.

PORTLAND, Maine — A new study by two university researchers in Maine says attorneys, court clerks, corrections officers and judges help spread the myth that juvenile court records are automatically sealed when offenders turn 18.

Juvenile court records are not automatically sealed in Maine and 23 other states. Some juvenile records are confidential, but others are available to the public.

More than $1 million in forfeited drug money was divided Thursday among several Maine law enforcement agencies that participated in one of the state’s largest marijuana growing busts.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has found that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services can’t be held liable for selling a man’s property for less than half its value, letting another property fall into disrepair and euthanizing the man’s cat.

DHHS became the guardian and conservator of William Dean for about a year, after Dean was admitted to a psychiatric facility in 2012. A lawsuit claimed that DHHS breached its fiduciary duty to Dean, who has since passed away.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A court security officer has been placed on leave while under investigation for sending a cellphone photo of a defense attorney's notes to a prosecutor.
 
The Kennebec Journal reports that court officials are calling the incident a serious ethical breach and violation of courtroom protocol.
 

The city of Bangor is the latest Maine community to launch an innovative jail diversion program targeting those battling opioid addiction.

Modeled after a New Mexico initiative, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program, or LEAD, provides assistance for addicts facing low-level drug offenses as an alternative to incarceration.

Robin Carr, a substance abuse prevention coordinator for Bangor Public Health and Community Services, says the program will be coordinated by Bangor police and the Health Equity Alliance.

BIDDEFORD, Maine - A Biddeford man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after admitting in a plea deal he started a September 2014 fire that killed two people.
 
Twenty-year-old Dylan Collins pleaded guilty to arson and felony murder charges. He apologized in a statement read during his sentencing on Monday.

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland police are investigating the apparent homicide of a 35-year-old man who was found dead in a car in the city's West End Monday afternoon. 

Assistant Portland Police Chief Vern Malloch says officers responded to a 9-1-1 call.  He says the victim's identity is not being released pending notification of next of kin.

"We are working with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Maine Attorney General's Office in that investigation," Malloch says.

BELFAST, Maine - Dozens of people in Belfast say they had money stolen from their bank accounts after using the ATM at the Down East Credit Union branch on Saturday.

Police in Belfast say someone apparently installed a so-called skimming device in that ATM, and that they haven't found any others in the area.

The credit union says the breach didn't happen internally and it believes fewer than 100 members were affected. Most of the withdrawals were made in New York.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine attorney general's office and federal authorities have filed a complaint against three corporations and six individuals accused of falsely advertising, marketing, distributing and selling pills for joint pain and memory problems.
 
The Portland Press Herald reports the consumer fraud lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in federal court. Two corporations and four individuals have agreed to settle for a combined $500,000.
 

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