Courts and Crime

Maine crime victims must now receive notification of a defendant's escape from prison or jail under a new state law.

The law also applies in the case of individuals with mental illness who have escaped from an institution where they've been committed.

Victims must receive information about how the defendant escaped, from where the defendant escaped and when.

Currently, the Department of Corrections does notify victims of such escapes but no law requires such updates.

The bill became law April 15 without Republican Gov. Paul LePage's signature.

Maine courts setting sentences for those convicted of murder will start considering if the victim had also been subjected to domestic violence.

A new law directs courts to weigh whether the victim was a family or household member who had also experienced domestic violence at the convicted person's hands.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, himself a survivor of domestic abuse a child, signed Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson's bill into law this month.

The law will become effective three months from the day lawmakers return to Augusta to consider LePage's vetoes.

A former mechanic for the City of Portland is suing his former employer for gender and race discrimination in federal court.

Wieslaw Sobieraj alleges that co-workers at a city garage verbally abused him with slurs against his Polish ancestry and anti-gay epithets. He also alleges physical abuse at co-workers' hands.

In court filings, Sobieraj calls for reinstatement to his old job, back pay and punitive damages.

The city, which instituted its anti-harassment policy some 30 years ago, has denied the allegations. A settlement conference is set for next week.

Maine legislators have endorsed a bill that could temporarily keep "high risk" individuals from possessing firearms.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday in support of the bill that allows police or family members to seek a community protection order against someone who presents an "immediate and present danger" of injuring him or herself or another person.

The order would need a judge's approval.

A majority of residents have voted to end a Maine town's lawsuit with the state over summer traffic congestion.

The Kennebec Journal reports Wiscasset sued the state Department of Transportation last November, alleging that Republican Gov. Paul LePage backed away from promises and over his assertion the state didn't have to follow local ordinances.

The department said in a statement that it is "gratified" the residents have spoken in support of the state's plan to ease traffic congestion.

A superior court judge says he will not remove state prosecutors from the case of Sharon Carillo who, along with her husband Julio Carillo, is charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter.

Sharon Carillo's defense attorney, Chris MacLean, had asked for the prosecutors to be removed after a judge ruled they had failed to follow proper procedure in getting Carillo’s school and employment records from New York state.

Westbrook police have made an arrest following a spate of armed robberies across southern Maine.

Police said 38-year-old Travis Card was arrested Friday and his vehicle was seized. Police also searched his Westbrook home.

Police said the operation was a joint effort between the Westbrook, Portland and South Portland police departments, along with the FBI. Westbrook Police Capt. Sean Lally said they are investigating the possibility of a connection to other robberies.

After an emotionally-charged debate, the Maine House passed legislation Thursday that would ban what is called “conversion therapy” for minors. Conversion therapy involves treatments by state licensed professionals intended to change an individual's sexual orientation.

Supporters of the ban argued that the controversial therapy is not supported by science, and that national professional counseling groups have said it is unethical and can be harmful. Portland democrat Rep. Matt Moonen, an openly gay lawmaker, supported the bill.

Both of Maine's senators support President Donald Trump's nomination of a superior court justice to the federal bench.

Trump nominated Justice Lance Walker to fill a vacancy in federal court in Bangor, where District Judge John Woodcock is now on active senior status.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King issued a joint statement praising the nomination, saying that Walker has demonstrated "the intelligence, temperament, and integrity required for this important position."

A Superior Court judge has sided with the town of Kennebunkport in its almost decadelong dispute with a number of property owners who filed suit to halt public access to Goose Rocks Beach.

Attorney Amy Tchao is representing the town. She says the property owners claim they have exclusive ownership to the beach areas in front of their homes.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Amid a national debate over gun violence, Maine lawmakers are being asked to grapple with a difficult question: If someone is deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves and to others, should police be able to temporarily confiscate their guns?

A lawyer for Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage has urged a federal appeals court to toss a Democrat's lawsuit accusing him of blackmail.

Attorney Patrick Strawbridge told the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday that the governor is immune from the legal challenge brought by Former House Speaker Eves.

Eves says the governor overstepped his authority when he threatened to withhold state funding to force a charter school operator to rescind a job offer to Eves.

Maine Developer Accused Of $50M Fraud, Using Shell Companies To Scam Investors

Apr 3, 2018
Bangor Daily News/file

PORTLAND, Maine — Fresh out of a federal prison, developer Michael Liberty is facing new legal troubles and the allegation that he and several accomplices deceived investors and took $50 million of their money to support lavish lifestyles.

A district court judge has granted a protection from abuse order against Seth Carey, a Rumford attorney who is running as a Republican candidate for district attorney in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that the victim believed she was in “immediate and present danger” from Carey, who she said sexually assaulted her in the home they shared.

Reached by telephone Monday, Carey said the allegations are “100 percent false.” He said the woman is a friend who was trying to get out of an abusive relationship and had nowhere else to go.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Bangor police have made an arrest in connection with Wednesday night’s double homicide near the city’s waterfront.

Sgt. Wade Betters said 25-year-old John De St. Croix of Bangor has been charged in the deaths of Michael Bridges and Desiree York, described by police as members of the area’s transient community.

He said police believe De St. Croix is believed to have lived on Ohio Street in Bangor, but that he was friendly with members of the city’s homeless population.