Maine's Chief Justice Makes Pitch For Trial Judge Raises, Increased Security Screening

Jan 28, 2020

Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley says the state’s court system needs additional funding to improve compensation for trial judges and hire more marshals.

In her annual State of the Judiciary speech before the Legislature and governor, Saufley highlighted the need for 100% entry screening at Maine courthouses.

“Recently it was reported that the marshals at an entry screening station discovered an individual carrying two undisclosed, loaded handguns,” she says.

Saufley says the allocation of $1.5 million would pay for 19 new marshals and provide entry screening at all courts in the state.

The chief justice also requested that the Legislature raise the compensation levels from $133,000 to $150,000 for trial judges as recommended by a congressional committee in December.

“Your decision will tell the public that you recognize the value to this democracy of an independent system of justice,” she says.

Saufley also urged lawmakers to fund a text alert system to remind people of upcoming court appearances.

“Our doctors do it, our dentists do it, the librarians tell us our books haven’t come back on time. It’s time for the courts to help people get to court,” she says.

Saufley says the project would reduce the issuance of bench warrants and arrests for failure to appear. She called the cost of implementing the project “modest.”