Courts and Crime

Maine Public

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is forming a new task force to investigate the underlying causes of a recent increase in police shootings.

Mills invited 13 people with expertise in the fields of addiction, domestic violence and crime to participate.

She says she wants members of the group to start out by asking a lot of questions.

Maine advocates for civil and reproductive rights are urging senators Susan Collins and Angus King to reject the nomination of Kyle Duncan to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eliza Townsend of the Maine Women's Lobby says Duncan was the lead counsel who represented Hobby Lobby, the crafts retailer that successfully won an exemption from the Affordable Care Act's mandate that requires employers to cover birth control for employees.

“He is unfit to be a federal judge,” says Townsend.

Bangor Day Care Staff Says Cookies Delivered By Parent Made Them High

Feb 15, 2018
Alex Acquisto / Bangor Daily News

Staff at a Bangor day care said they felt high on Wednesday after eating a batch of suspected marijuana-laced cookies dropped off by a parent, according to police.

None of the children at Watch Me Shine day care at 28 Gilman Plaza ate the cookies, which are being tested to see “whether they have been tainted with anything at all, to include marijuana,” said to Bangor Sgt. Wade Betters.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Washington County official says he filed an injunction to prevent Republican Gov. Paul LePage from taking further steps to shutter a minimum-security state prison.

Washington County Commission Chairman Chris Gardner says he filed the injunction Tuesday against the Department of Corrections in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Gardner says a hearing will be held Wednesday afternoon.

The governor’s administration on Friday removed inmates from Downeast Correctional Facility even though the prison is funded by lawmakers through the summer.

Ex-BIW Union Treasurer Says He Stole $281,000 To Feed Addiction

Feb 12, 2018
Linda Coan O'Kresik / Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — A former union official at Bath Iron Works was sentenced Monday in federal court to 18 months in prison and $280,865 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzling that amount from Local S6 of the Machinists Union, the shipyard’s largest union.

Ryan Jones, 35, of Biddeford told U.S. District Court Justice George Z. Singal on Monday that he was sorry for his actions and offered his “deepest sympathies.”

The fate of an East Millinocket man charged in a murder that took place 37 years ago now lies with a Superior Court judge after closing arguments in the jury-waived trial were heard Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.

Representing Philip Scott Fournier, Bangor attorney Jeffrey Silverstein said the state had failed to produce the forensic evidence necessary to prove his client had killed 16-year-old Joyce McLain of East Millinocket in 1980.

The Cumberland County district attorney dropped action Thursday against nine people arrested last year for trespassing at the Portland offices of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

The senator asked the district attorney to not to charge the protesters — most of them religious leaders — if they agreed to donate $100 each to a victims compensation fund. Members of the multidenominational group were arrested and briefly held when they refused to leave her office to protest her support for a tax overhaul enacted last year.

BANGOR, Maine - Federal officials say a Maine man who led a secretive and large-scale marijuana-growing operation in Frankfort has pleaded guilty to charges.
U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says 33-year-old Nicholas Reynolds pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Bangor to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The Portland Press Herald reports federal drug enforcement agents conducted a raid on the marijuana farm in 2016, seizing 400 marijuana plants and various paraphernalia used to process marijuana.

Former Maine Deputy Cuts Deal To Have 20 Sexual Assault Charges Dismissed

Jan 26, 2018

Twenty sexual assault charges against former Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement that calls for Hatch to plead guilty to providing a place for minors to consume alcohol.

The Maine Attorney General’s office on Thursday filed the latter charge, a Class D misdemeanor, in Lincoln County Superior Court, according to Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who prosecuted a November case against Hatch.

Thirty-eight years have passed since Joyce McLain’s body was discovered in East Millinocket. On Monday, state prosecutors told a jury that there is no doubt that it was Philip Scott Fournier who killed the 16-year-old Schenck High School student.

Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections is reporting the escape of a prisoner who left his home confinement without permission around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Robert John Berry, 46, was serving a 16-month sentence for theft that began in May of last year.

Berry was assigned to the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston and could have been up for release as early as April.

The department did not release additional information.

A Portland police officer who was the first Somali native sworn to a Maine law enforcement agency is on administrative leave after she was arrested in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Zahra Abu was arrested in Worcester on charges of assault and battery, trespass, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, according to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.

A 22-year-old Westbrook man was convicted Thursday of conspiracy following a three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court.

“He was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit offenses against the United States, namely the offense of SNAP trafficking and WIC program fraud,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney James Chapman, who prosecuted the case against Abdulkareem Daham.

Illegal methamphetamine makers often turn to college students and others to buy pseudoephedrine for them to make drugs in their home labs. Carlos Gutierrez, vice president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, says it’s a practice that law enforcement calls “smurfing.”

“That’s basically the act of purchasing pseudoephedrine, knowing or unknowingly on behalf of another individual who makes methamphetamine out of it,” he says.

In Maine and many other states, smurfing is a crime, punishable by years in prison.

Biddeford has become the latest Maine city to file a federal lawsuit against several manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

The Biddeford City Council voted earlier this month to join the nationwide lawsuit which is intended to bring some relief to local cities and towns from the costs associated with the opioid epidemic. Those include medical expenses, additional law enforcement and treatment programs.