Courts and Crime

Maine’s Human Rights Commission on Monday found that eight people who said they’d been discriminated against under Maine law had reasonable grounds for going forward with their cases.

The commission investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in several spheres, including at work.

The commission found Shasta Roy had reasonable grounds for her hostile workplace and sexual harassment complaint against Theorore’s Seamless Gutters in Richmond.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday against two Maine men who were caught with guns in violation of a federal statute.

Both Stephen Voisine of Wytopitlock and William Armstrong III of New Vineyard had misdemeanor domestic assault convictions.

A federal judge has thrown out a $14 million defamation suit involving a Maine activist who publicized sex abuse allegations against a former catholic brother who ran an orphanage in Haiti. The judge ruled that the plaintiff in the case was not living in the United States when the claim was filed, and so the suit should never have been heard in a US court.

Maine’s prison system has had a tough time finding and keeping guards, with as many as three dozen officer positions unfilled at the Maine State Prison. A pay raise approved by the Legislature last year has helped the recruitment effort, but now the system faces a new challenge.

Guards had complained about long hours and low pay. And they told lawmakers that they could make better money as private security guards.

A state court is giving a reprieve to three Maine harness horsemen who had been suspended and fined by state regulators over horse doping allegations.

In all, the Harness Racing Commission suspended the licenses of seven trainers in Maine for as long as 15 months for administering a substance called cobalt to horses. Their blood was tested after they won races last year.

Cobalt is a trace element that can stimulate production of red blood cells and blood-oxygen levels in some animals, but whose role in horse racing is in dispute.

Nora Flaherty / MPBN

The Portland Police Department is looking for help finding a suspect who assaulted three women, and robbed two, in the city’s West End.

He’s described as a white male who’s about 30 years old, between 5 feet, 7 inches and 6 feet tall, long blonde hair, heavy, with two or more lower lip piercings and wearing a baseball hat and glasses.

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge says Portland cannot use its noise law to restrict anti-abortion protesters outside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen ruled Monday in favor of a Lewiston pastor who contended he was unlawfully targeted because of his views.

Andrew March filed the lawsuit after a member of his Cell 53 church was sued by the state attorney general to prevent him from coming within 50 feet of the Planned Parenthood facility.

MADISON, Maine — Two former Madison police officers say they were discriminated against due to their age when the town transferred police operations to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office last year.

The Morning Sentinel reports David Trask and Joseph Mitchell filed separate complaints in April with the Maine Human Rights Commission that named the town of Madison as a defendant.

The man who became known as the North Pond Hermit is appealing a court order to pay restitution.

Christopher Knight garnered international attention after he was arrested in April 2013. He had lived alone in the woods for 27 years at North Pond, near Waterville, and committed an estimated 1,000 burglaries to sustain himself.

But his makeshift camp in the woods, it turns out, created an extra expense for state police to access the site, collect evidence and later dismantle it. The tab, says Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, is a little over $1,000.

Access to housing is the biggest barrier for people coming out of jail or prison. That was the message Tuesday from more than half a dozen private and public organizations that work with former prisoners in Maine.

Their meeting at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland was designed to share resources and strategize on ways to prevent recidivism and strengthen communities as part of what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling National Reentry Week.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. - A man from northern Maine charged with using a shotgun to randomly shoot two people in Massachusetts has been ordered by a judge to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Not guilty pleas to multiple charges including attempted murder were entered on behalf of 25-year-old Lucas McPherson, of Mapleton, Maine, at his arraignment Monday in Plymouth District Court.

BANGOR, Maine - Three men convicted on charges stemming from a sophisticated marijuana operation in the woods of eastern Maine are due to be sentenced.

Officials say the operation featured bunkhouses, migrant workers - and $9 million worth of marijuana.

Malcolm French of Enfield and Rodney Russell of South Thomaston face at least 10 years in prison when they're sentenced Thursday for charges including manufacturing drugs and harboring workers who were in the country illegally. Kendall Chase of Bradford faced a lesser sentence.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Penobscot Nation and the U.S. government will appeal a federal judge's decision limiting the tribe's right to oversee the Penobscot River waters near its Old Town reservation.

U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled late last year that the tribe's reservation includes islands on the river, but not the water itself. That means the tribe can take fish for sustenance from the river, but cannot enforce violations of fishing regulations or water quality rules.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Augusta Police Department says officers in Maine’s capital city will be more focused on cracking down on distracted driving from now until September.

Sgt. Christian Behr says extra patrols dedicated to limiting distracted driving will be deployed thanks to an $8,500 grant the department received from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.

Police say the program looks to curb texting while driving and failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle, both of which are violations in the state.

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge in Maine is ready to hear arguments in a lawsuit in which Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves accuses Republican Gov. Paul LePage of abusing his authority.

The hearing on Wednesday focuses on the governor’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Eves has accused LePage of violating his rights by pressuring a charter school operator into rescinding a job offer as political payback. He says the governor "blackmailed" Good Will-Hinckley in Fairfield by threatening to withhold state funds if it hired him.

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