Courts and Crime

The group, Alliance Defending Freedom, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that state noise restrictions under the Maine Civil Rights Act should not be used against Lewiston Pastor Andrew March. 

March was prohibited from shouting anti-abortion remarks in front of Portland's Planned Parenthood center two years ago by Portland police, who said he was disrupting activities inside.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Five protesters who were arrested last week at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Bangor office on criminal trespass charges will collectively donate $500 to a Brewer food distribution group.

As part of a negotiated agreement with Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy, in exchange for a dismissal of all charges, Old Town demonstrator Erin Oberson told reporters Monday that the activists will make their cash donation to Food and Medicine, a social justice group at the Solidarity Center in Brewer.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has joined fourteen other state attorneys general in a lawsuit alleging that the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Donald Trump, has failed to meet a smog pollution deadline.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to designate areas of the country which have attained public health and welfare standards for smog and also those which have not met the standards. The deadline was Oct. 1.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Five activists arrested Monday night during a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Bangor office will not face prosecution as the result of an agreement endorsed Friday by Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy.

The prosecutor said the circumstances that resulted in the criminal trespass charges against the protesters were given special consideration.

State police say they arrested a 17-year-old boy Monday afternoon inside one of eight seasonal homes that had been broken into along Messalonskee Lake in Belgrade, including one in which the teen was living.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland says a trooper responded after an alarm had been set off.

“Found that that home had been broken into and then started finding others and, as he continued to search the neighborhood, he was inside one of those homes broken into and encountered a young teenager face to face and arrested him at gunpoint,” he says.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Oxford County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to file a formal complaint to remove Sheriff Wayne Gallant from office for inappropriate sexual conduct. The matter is now in the hands of Gov. Paul LePage.

After spending most of the day in executive session, the three commissioners convened in open session by midafternoon, when commissioner David Duguay promptly made a motion.

“To issue a complaint to the governor with respect to the sheriff in the form reviewed by the commissioners in executive session,” he said.

BELFAST, Maine - A Maine woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a home invasion victim was literally scared to death.
Belfast officials say 37-year-old Tara Shibles pleaded guilty in a deal with the state for a 10-month jail sentence. WABI-TV reports Shibles apologized in court Monday, saying she never meant to hurt anyone.
According to police, Shibles broke into the home of 72-year-old Joyce Wood in April and jumped into bed with her. Wood called 911 and ran out of the house before suffering a fatal heart attack.

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal prosecutors say a Detroit man has been sentenced to slightly more than a year in prison for operating an unlicensed bitcoin business.
U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says 41-year-old Sal Mansy was sentenced Monday following an investigation conducted by offices of the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Michigan and Maine.

Gov. Paul LePage says he’s waiting to see if the investigation by Oxford County Commissioners into the behavior of Sheriff Wayne Gallant yields a complaint to his office before deciding what action to take.

Gallant has admitted to sending a lewd photo while in uniform in his office to a woman two years ago, but has denied allegations of seeking sex with employees. LePage says he is waiting to see if he receives a formal complaint about Gallant before deciding whether to hold a hearing on Gallant’s possible removal from office.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man sentenced to life in prison for a West Virginia slaying is in Pennsylvania to face charges in an interstate killing that police say was a case of mistaken identity.
The Public Opinion reports John Wayne Strawser is accused of chasing down and killing 28-year-old Timothy Davison along Interstate 81 in January 2014.
Police say Davison was driving home to Maine when the driver of a pickup truck started firing at him. The truck then rammed Davison's SUV, forcing it onto a median.

The lawyer for Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant says Gallant denies any misconduct toward county employees in the wake of allegations raised by an agent of the union representing county employees.

Last week, Gallant admitted to sending sexually explicit photos of himself to a woman two years ago. The photos, which showed his genitals, were taken in his office while in his uniform.

A man accused of running a major welfare scam out of a Portland halal grocery is pleading guilty to several charges of federal food stamp and other welfare fraud.

Ali Ratib Daham is also pleading to money laundering and theft from the state’s MaineCare program. Prosecutors are agreeing to drop dozens of other charges in the case. The plea deal, filed earlier this month, will be considered in federal district court Tuesday afternoon, with sentencing to come later.

Attorneys were back in federal court Tuesday arguing about a lawsuit brought by the Portland Pipe Line Corp. against the City of South Portland over its Clear Skies Ordinance.

In August, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock rejected the city’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. But the city says last month’s cancellation of a massive pipeline project in Canada has undermined the company’s case.

Police in Falmouth are warning about the possibility that discarded turkeys are being redistributed, something officials are calling a “very bad idea.”

AUGUSTA, Maine - A mistrial has been declared in the case of a onetime "Deputy of the Year'' charged with sexually abusing three girls in Maine.
Jurors in Kennebec County acquitted Kenneth Hatch of Whitefield of two felony counts but deadlocked Monday on the remaining 20 felony counts, resulting in the mistrial on those charges.
Prosecutors say Hatch abused the girls from 1999 to 2014. Court documents say the abuse of one girl started when she was 6 years old. The others were 14 or 15.