Courts and Crime

Fred Bever / Maine Public

There was some chaotic court-room drama Monday in the saga of how and whether to punish Black Lives Matter activists arrested in a Portland protest last year. It was the second time an attempt to establish a “restorative justice” alternative ended in disarray.

BURNHAM, Maine — Authorities say an elderly Maine woman has died after an intruder entered her home.

State Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland says 72-year-old Joyce Wood dialed 911 after a woman got into her house early Sunday in Burnham.

McCausland says family members arrived at the scene before the authorities, found Wood and placed her in a vehicle in the driveway. Wood died in the car.

A Gorham woman is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says between Feb. 2014 and Sept. 2016, Jamie Hussey embezzled more than $91,000 from the South Portland Housing Authority, where she worked as a resident services coordinator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Perry says Hussey stole from a Housing and Urban Development program, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, that allowed people to earn money for achieving certain goals.

Alaskan husky named Dakota, March 30, 2017, in Waterville, Maine. Gov. Paul LePage said he pardoned the dog from a death sentence levied at a court hearing last week, after it killed a neighbor's small pug in May 2016.
Karen Vance/Waterville Humane Society via AP

Gov. Paul LePage has pardoned a dog.

The unusual move, which is now generating headlines around the country, was taken on behalf of a husky named Dakota with a violent past. Dakota’s owners have been ordered to euthanize her, and it’s unclear whether the governor’s action will spare her life.

The man in charge of running the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has been placed on administrative leave, according to published reports.

Long Creek Superintendent Jeffrey Merrill could not be reached for comment. But his leave comes after a series of incidents that have raised questions about policies and safety for youth at the state-run prison.

Maine Warden Service

A tip to the Maine Warden’s Service resulted in charges for five hunters from Massachusetts and one from Maine after the group allegedly killed nearly 90 snowshoe hares during an illegal weekend hunting trip to Great Duck Island.

Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Wardens Service said the men were apprehended Saturday on Great Duck, about 10 miles off Mount Desert Island.

BOSTON - Federal authorities say 10 men have been arrested in an interstate opioid trafficking ring in Maine, Massachusetts, and Florida.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said Thursday a three-year investigation led to the arrests. The men face charges including conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

PORTLAND, Maine - A new report finds gaps and inconsistencies in the sealing of juvenile records in Maine. 

While the juvenile justice system has traditionally emphasized treatment and rehabilitation for young people, limited safeguarding of these records can create consequences for people later in life.  Those consequences include difficulty finding a job, housing or serving in the military.   

A Superior Court judge has found in favor of a Maryland-based trash-to energy company that wants to build a $69 million dollar biogas, organic trash disposal facility in Hampden, just south of Bangor.

Plans are for Fiberright to take over the disposal contract for a group of 187 municipalities in the region currently doing business with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington. Last August, PERC filed an appeal of a decision by the Maine Department of Environment Protection to grant permits for Fiberight’s Hampden project.

Sarah Redmond / University of Maine Sea Grant

A Washington County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of several shorefront property owners who maintain that rockweed, a form of seaweed, is not a resource that falls under the public trust.

In his ruling, Justice Harold Stewart II concluded that rockweed growing in the intertidal zone is the property of the shorefront owner and should not be construed to be included under exemptions that include fishing.

PORTLAND, Maine — A new study by two university researchers in Maine says attorneys, court clerks, corrections officers and judges help spread the myth that juvenile court records are automatically sealed when offenders turn 18.

Juvenile court records are not automatically sealed in Maine and 23 other states. Some juvenile records are confidential, but others are available to the public.

More than $1 million in forfeited drug money was divided Thursday among several Maine law enforcement agencies that participated in one of the state’s largest marijuana growing busts.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has found that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services can’t be held liable for selling a man’s property for less than half its value, letting another property fall into disrepair and euthanizing the man’s cat.

DHHS became the guardian and conservator of William Dean for about a year, after Dean was admitted to a psychiatric facility in 2012. A lawsuit claimed that DHHS breached its fiduciary duty to Dean, who has since passed away.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A court security officer has been placed on leave while under investigation for sending a cellphone photo of a defense attorney's notes to a prosecutor.
The Kennebec Journal reports that court officials are calling the incident a serious ethical breach and violation of courtroom protocol.

The city of Bangor is the latest Maine community to launch an innovative jail diversion program targeting those battling opioid addiction.

Modeled after a New Mexico initiative, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program, or LEAD, provides assistance for addicts facing low-level drug offenses as an alternative to incarceration.

Robin Carr, a substance abuse prevention coordinator for Bangor Public Health and Community Services, says the program will be coordinated by Bangor police and the Health Equity Alliance.