The right to the assistance of counsel, in all criminal cases, is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Unfortunately, the account that the State of Maine uses to pay the lawyers who fulfill that guarantee is running low.  The Chair of the Commission that oversees that fund has asked the legislature for an additional $400,000, so that indigent criminal defendants can have lawyers.  You can read more about this problem here and here.

What happens if the fund runs out of money?  It is not likely that Maine will simply stop charging poor people with crimes, but if the State is going to continue to arrest people who cannot afford a lawyer, it needs to find a way to provide them with a lawyer.  After all, every criminal case needs at least two lawyers--one for the prosecution and one for the defense.  That is how our"adversarial" system of justice works.  If the State has money for prosecutors, it needs to have money for defense counsel too.  To do otherwise is a serious violation of the Constitution, which could end up being much more expensive for the State than paying for counsel in the first place.