AUGUSTA – The ACLU of Maine’s lawsuit challenging the state’s unconstitutional system for providing court-appointed attorneys to low-income people accused of crimes will proceed.
Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy is allowing the ACLU of Maine to move forward with its constitutional challenge to Maine’s indigent defense system. The ACLU of Maine argues that Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services (MCILS) is violating the constitutional rights of low-income people accused of crimes by failing to adequately train, supervise, monitor, evaluate and support the court-appointed attorney program.
However, Justice Murphy has dismissed the ACLU’s state law claim, which had asked the court to require MCILS to establish specific rules regulating indigent defense services. The decision comes in response to a request by the government that the entire case be dismissed.
The following statement can be attributed to Zachary Heiden, chief counsel at the ACLU of Maine:
“We are thrilled to move forward with the case. Maine is not meeting its duty under the Constitution to provide low-income people accused of crimes with access to quality legal representation. We are prepared to show this in court, and hold Maine accountable to its constitutional obligations.”