Courts and Crime

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.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine police are on the lookout for a prickly piece of art.

Officials said Tuesday that a porcupine sculpture was recently stolen from the grounds of the Portland International Jetport. It’s one of 10 individual animal sculptures that are part of a work called Glimpse by artist Wendy Klemperer.

The metal animals are the first thing travelers see when arriving at the airport.

Animals include a deer and wolf. The porcupine that was stolen is nearly 3 feet long and is made from steel and repurposed nails.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State police’s Commercial Vehicle Division has cited MaineGeneral Medical Center for commercial vehicle violations involving what the hospital has called an "internal use" vehicle.

The Kennebec Journal reports Trooper Bernard Campbell cited the Augusta hospital for one count of failing to investigate a driver’s background and three counts of failing to require that drivers provide driver and vehicle inspection reports.

Another phone scam is targeting Mainers’ personal information and credit card numbers.

A bill that would make possession of heroin a felony offense advanced in the Maine Senate Tuesday, even though supporters of the measure remained largely silent during a half-hour debate on the issue.

Opponents from both sides of the aisle argued that the get-tough approach to heroin possession would not be as effective as placing greater emphasis on treatment. But supporters maintain that without the threat of a felony, it’s hard to convince many drug users to seek treatment.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine couple was indicted last week on charges stemming from their 1-year-old daughter's alleged ingestion of heroin last summer.

The Kennebec Journal reports 34-year-old Jason Thomas and 23-year-old Katie Robinson were charged with unlawful possession of heroin and endangering the welfare of a child.

The drug possession charge is a felony and carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Endangering the welfare of a child is a misdemeanor punishable by at least one year in prison.

A Superior Court Judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by 12 of 14 municipalities in Androscoggin County against the county and its commissioners.

The suit alleges the commissioners improperly set and approved their own salaries, benefits and budget.

Attorney Peter Brann is representing the municipalities. He says what the towns and cities have wanted to do all along is engage with the commissioners in an effort to try and resolve this matter.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Attorney General's Office says a police officer was justified in shooting at a car that backed into his cruiser during a chase.

The Portland Press Herald reports that a report released Tuesday says it's reasonable to conclude that Bridgton Police Officer Todd Smolinsky thought "deadly force was imminently threatened'' against him and others.

The report states Smolinsky smelled alcohol when he pulled over a woman for speeding on U.S. Route 302 in September.

Bangor Daily News File Photo

By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — A Superior Court judge last week denied a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by the Maine attorney general’s office against a man who loudly protests outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Congress Street.