Courts and Crime

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

In an unexpected announcement, Maine's chief justice says that in the future state court records will be available to the public online.  

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley says she envisions something similar to the federal PACER system which charges a small fee for online access to  court documents such as schedules, motions and decisions.

A judge in Maine has denied a request for new DNA testing from a man convicted in the execution-style shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and the toddler she was baby-sitting.

The Bangor Daily News reports 55-year-old Jeffrey Cookson is seeking a new trial for the 1999 killings in Dexter. He argues that a DNA test of hair found in his ex-girlfriend's hand could exonerate him. Previous tests indicated the hair was not his.

The judge declined to order new tests last week, saying there was no proof the hair came from the killer.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

ALFRED, Maine - A 51-year-old woman police have charged with driving onto a baseball field and striking and killing a man is being held on $500,000 bail.
 
Carol Sharrow of Sanford, Maine, made her first court appearance in the manslaughter case on Monday. She's charged with killing 68-year-old Douglas Parkhurst and faces up to 30 years in jail.
 

An advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mainers said Monday’s Supreme Court court decision favoring a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple actually affirms that states can protect LGBT people from discrimination in the marketplace.

Matt Moonen, executive director for Equality Maine, said the court ruling essentially concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not acted impartially when it originally considered the case.

A Maine man has pleaded guilty to running an illegal sports gambling operation out of his home and business for 14 years, netting him millions.

The Portland Press Herald reports 61-year-old Stephen Mardigan pleaded guilty Wednesday to unlawful gambling, money laundering and filing a false tax return.

Court documents show Mardigan ran the gambling operation from his Portland home and business from 2003 to 2017.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

The ACLU of Maine says the outcome of a federal free speech case against President Trump bodes well for a similar lawsuit the organization filed against Governor Paul LePage.

ACLU of Maine Legal Director, Zachary Heiden says in both cases, the defendants were stifling comments and participation on a public social media site.

The superintendent of schools in Lewiston says a lockdown that began at about 9:30 a.m. Monday at Lewiston High School is over.

On Twitter, Bill Webster says the school has been given the “all clear” and returned to normal operations after about an hour of being locked down. He says the district put the school in lockdown on police advice, and that it was just a precaution.

“We’re in times when we’ve got to take every conceivable situation seriously, even though in the past this might not even have raised a red flag,” Webster says.

On technical grounds, a federal judge in Connecticut has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Nestle Waters North America, the parent company of Poland Spring.

The suit alleges that the company has been perpetuating a colossal fraud against American consumers by claiming on its label that bottles contain 100 percent natural spring water. In their suit plaintiffs say Poland Spring products contain ordinary ground water collected from wells.

Rather than deal with these allegations, the judge agrees with Nestle that plaintiffs' claims are all preempted by federal law.

Maine State Police

Maine State Police say they have nabbed a long-haul trucker who has been evading tolls for up to six years, avoiding more than $1,300 in tolls in Maine alone.

Troopers said Friday that 61-year-old Danny Olson of Turner avoided paying tolls by attaching license plates belonging to a deceased motorist and another man who was not involved in the scheme.

Police say Olson was arrested Thursday after driving from New Hampshire. Charges include theft of services, illegal license plates and logbook violations.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Investigators with the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department are following up on leads as they try to identify the individuals who vandalized 22 RSU 16 School District buses and a pick-up truck parked at the administrative office in Poland.

The RSU 16 district includes the towns of Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls. Chief Deputy William Gagne says the office has received a few calls. Gagne says, in addition, that a couple who lives in RSU 16 has offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved with the criminal mischief.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

MaineCare's ban on abortion coverage was challenged in the state Supreme Court Wednesday.

Police in Maine's largest city say no one will be charged in the stabbing death of a 31-year-old man because the stabbing occurred in self-defense.

Anthony Best died as a result of the April 2016 stabbing, which took place during an altercation in a Portland parking lot. Police say a fight ensued in which Best was stabbed several times in the torso, and an investigation reveals that he was the aggressor in the incident.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Bus drivers for RSU 16 School District, arrived at work Wednesday morning only to find their entire fleet of buses inoperable.

The buses had been vandalized overnight, forcing school officials to cancel classes for about 1700 students.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced Tuesday that her office has filed a civil complaint in York County Superior Court against two Biddeford men who allegedly violently assaulted an African-American man in April and used racial epithets outside a 7-Eleven convenience store.

Dusty Leo, 27, and Maurice Diggins, 34, were arrested at the time and charged with aggravated assault for the alleged incident, Mills said in a news release.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday challenging the state Medicaid program's ban against covering abortions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has appealed a Maine Superior Court decision against the group's lawsuit filed on behalf of three abortion providers.

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