Courts and Crime

Elizabeth Noble

A Superior Court judge has sided with a Maine State Prison inmate who claimed his due process rights were violated when he was put in solitary confinement for nearly two years.

Caroline Losneck / Maine Public

An agreement reached between the Cumberland County district attorney’s office and a group of Black Lives Matter protesters fell apart Wednesday in a dispute over a required restorative justice session. Now it appears prosecutors will reinstate misdemeanor charges, which had been put on hold.

Some residents of Augusta and Freeport got up Monday morning to discover that the Ku Klux Klan had randomly left fliers in their neighborhoods.

One of the neighborhoods is where Augusta Police Chief Robert Gregoire lives.

“An officer got a call that there as a bag containing a message from the KKK in a driveway up here on Washington Street in Augusta, and then a short time later one of my neighbors showed up with one at my house,” he says.

SANFORD, Maine - The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says it made the largest seizure of heroin in the history of the state during an arrest of two people on trafficking charges.
The agency says authorities arrested 39-year-old Jason Bolduc of Parsonsfield and 35-year-old Nichole Farrar of Sanford. It says they seized more than 8 pounds of heroin, half in Sanford and half in Massachusetts.
Police say the street value of the drugs was more than $1.8 million. They say numerous other suspects have been identified and they're continuing to investigate.

A 54-year-old South Paris woman has been charged with a civil violation in connection with the death of a Lewiston Middle School student who was in a crosswalk when he was struck by a pickup truck.

Lewiston police say that Laurie Young was driving the Ford F-150 that hit 13-year-old Jayden Cho-Sargent this past November. Officials say that the Androscoggin County district attorney’s office reviewed the investigation and that Young has been charged with a “motor vehicle violation resulting in death.”

WINTHROP, Maine - Newly released court documents say a Maine couple slain last fall died of stab wounds.
Andrew Balcer is accused of killing Antonio and Alice Balcer in their Winthrop home on Halloween. Andrew Balcer, now 18, faces charges including murder in their deaths.
A state police affidavit released Thursday indicates Balcer told a dispatcher he stabbed his parents to death along with a family dog.

PORTLAND, Maine - Police in Portland are seeking information to help solve a 7-year-old killing.
Police say Darien Richardson and Cory Girard were shot while sleeping in Richardson's apartment on Jan. 8, 2010. The pair were awoken by a masked intruder who entered their room and began shooting.
Richardson was shot in the hand and thigh while Girard was shot in the arm. Richardson died the following month from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot that resulted from the thigh injury.

Susan Sharon / Maine

In jails around the country, visits between inmates and their families are being replaced or augmented with video. In Maine, at least three jails have embraced the technology and at least three more plan to do so soon.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The University of Maine is reaching out to 86 employees and students tricked into providing their passwords to cybercriminals.

But the university says its systems weren’t breached or hacked.

The perpetrators of the attack asked employees and students to provide their personal password to access a fake online document. Then the perpetrators used those credentials to access the 86 personal accounts, which means they could have accessed personal financial information like bank account and social security numbers.

BANGOR, Maine - Prosecutors say a Maine man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for selling counterfeit versions of dollar coins that were used in the U.S. more than 100 year ago.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty says 32-year-old Mwashuma Sithole of Waterville started ordering counterfeit Morgan dollar coins in May 2014. Morgan dollars are a U.S. coin minted from 1878 to 1904 and again in 1921.

BANGOR, Maine - Federal prosecutors say a Canadian man has pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to enter the United States after having been ordered removed.
Fifty-four-year-old John Fraser of Nova Scotia pleaded guilty on Wednesday.
Court records state that Fraser drove a vehicle with Florida license plates to the Calais, Maine, point of entry in November. He first told authorities he was going to his winter home in Florida.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine landlord sentenced to 90 days in jail after a fire killed six people is requesting a new trial.

A judge sentenced Gregory Nisbet for a code violation on Dec. 1, and his attorney requested the new trial in a court filing dated Monday.

Nisbet owned a Portland apartment house where the deadly fire occurred on Nov. 1, 2014.

The judge acquitted Nisbet of manslaughter charges but ruled that he was guilty of a violation related to the home not having adequate means of escape from third-floor rooms.

v1ctor / Flickr/Creative Commons

A national coalition of more than 50 youth development organizations is calling on judges, state and local policymakers around the country to end the practice of youth incarceration. Instead, the National Collaboration for Youth says jails should only be used for a small number of violent kids and that other youth offenders should be placed in community-based programs.

To bolster its argument, the coalition released a report that says there’s overwhelming evidence to show that youth prisons are “harmful, ineffective and excessively expensive.”

Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet will spend three months in jail for a code violation related to the 2014 apartment fire that ultimately killed six young people.

Elizabeth Noble

It’s been nearly a year since we reported on the case of Doug Burr, a Maine State Prison inmate who spent 22 months in solitary confinement in an 8- by 10-foot cell for reasons that he and his attorney say are still unclear.