Courts and Crime

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.

An attorney for the family of a Maine teenager killed during a high-speed police chase in December plans to file suit against the officer involved and the town of Rockport for negligence, according to the Bangor Daily News. A second teen was also killed in that accident.

Courtesy Portland Police Department

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland police are seeking a suspect in the shooting death of a city man and the wounding of another late Tuesday. Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says he believes the suspect does not pose a threat to the general public.

"The individuals knew each other, in the sense that our suspect was there for a reason, and the unfortunate reason, in this particular case, was violence. So we do believe that he showed up at a specific apartment at a given time. But I won't speak to the relationship above and beyond that."

Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley
Portland Press Herald

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley says Maine needs more alternatives to incarceration if the state wants to stem the rising numbers of drug prosecutions that are clogging courtrooms.

PORTLAND, Maine - The state's drug crisis was the focus of Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley's annual State of the Judiciary address. "The wave of drug addictions in Maine is eating at the heart of our beautiful state," Saufley told a joint session of the Maine Legislature.  And she said there is no easy solution.

"What is all too clear to all of us is that, because of the causes and cures for addiction are as varied as they are for any disease, no cookie cutter solution will work."

ALFRED, Maine — Maine officials say a former oil dealer who took payments from customers without providing their heating fuel should be forced to sell his $400,000 home and boat to pay restitution.

Nicholas Curro III was found guilty in 2008 of violating state law. The state Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to order Curro to start making payments.

Authorities say Curro sold pre-paid fuel plans to York County customers in 2007, but had no fuel when it was time to start filling customers’ tanks.

BANGOR, Maine _ Philip Scott Fournier is being held without bail after his first court appearance following his arrest in connection with the death of an East Millinocket girl more than 35 years ago.

State Police say the 55-year-old Fournier killed 16-year-old Joyce McLain, who had disappeared in 1980 while jogging. Her body was found two days later behind a school in her hometown.

Fournier was arraigned Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. A judge ordered him held without bail pending a hearing that was not scheduled.

Maine State Police

Maine State Police say it’s one of the longest murder investigations that has ever resulted in an arrest in Maine.

Thirty-six years after the killing 16-year-old Joyce McLain in East Millinocket, Philip Scott Fournier, 55, has been charged with her murder. Fournier had previously been identified as a person of interest in her death.

McLain disappeared while jogging on a trail in August 1980. Her partially clothed body was found two days later along a power line near Schenck High School. Police say she had been bludgeoned to death.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's highest court has upheld the robbery conviction of a man who was stripped of his right to a court-appointed attorney because he couldn't get along with five previous lawyers.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that Joshua Nisbet willfully waived his right to counsel through his behavior, which included threats. It also found that Nisbet's actions proved detrimental to justice, and that the judge had no lesser alternative.