The ACLU of Maine is suing the State over its failure to provide constitutionally adequate legal representation to poor people accused of crimes in Maine.
The ACLU of Maine filed the class action lawsuit in state court on behalf of plaintiffs who’ve been deprived of their constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel. The Court granted the case class-action status in July 2022 – allowing our clients to represent a class of thousands of indigent defendants in Maine entitled to court-appointed counsel.
The lawsuit alleges that the State has violated the constitution by failing to set and enforce standards for attorneys who participate in the state’s indigent defense program, failing to monitor and evaluate these attorneys, failing to ensure adequate funding to the program, and failing to provide training to these attorneys.
The lawsuit alleges that the State’s systemic failures deprive indigent defendants facing criminal proceedings in Maine of their Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. The Court rejected the State’s arguments for dismissal of our Sixth Amendment claims and the case has moved forward to pre-trial discovery, allowing us to request written evidence and witness testimony from the State about its indigent defense program.
The ACLU of Maine is bringing the case with the assistance of co-counsel at Preti Flaherty and Goodwin Proctor.