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Push for Maine to Cover the Poor's Supreme Court Petitions

By Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Maine - A Scarborough man stripped of his constitutional right to an attorney at trial after threatening multiple lawyers is now at the center of a push to have Maine pay for a poor person's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Members of the state commission that oversees indigent legal services on Tuesday said they may ask Maine legislators for the explicit authority to cover such petitions.

A statewide association of criminal defense lawyers argues the law doesn't prohibit such assistance, and says Maine is the only state that lacks a federal appellate court and also refuses to pay for the cost of preparing such petitions.

This spring, the commission declined Auburn lawyer Jamesa Drake's request to have the state pay for convicted robber's Joshua Nisbet petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.