Sunday, June 16, 2024

Waldoboro Day - Happy Father's Day Shane!

We went to Waldoboro before going to visit Shane at the Maine prison in Warren yesterday afternoon. There was an event going on, Waldoboro Day...taking place at the Miller School where two of my four grandchildren attend. Pete and I have not seen our grandsons or heard their voices in about three years. Their mother is Andrea Picard.

As luck would have it, as we arrived I saw my now 10 year old grandson walking down the street with his mother on their way out of the event. I didn't see his younger brother, but Andrea was pushing a stroller, which I assume the boys' stepbrother was in.

While my husband went to park, I got out of the car, and proceded to jog down the street so we could connect before approaching the main road. As soon as she saw me she began dialing police apparently. She didn't have to do that, as there was a game warden more or less escorting me. He he had been parked at the entrance of the event...and noticed me heading in that direction a bit hurriedly. 

I hollered out to my grandson that his father is in jail... but that he loves him and his brother, and that we love them too. While waiting for Pete to come and get me, I spoke with the game warden, and Andrea simply strolled away. 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Maine prisoners launch hunger strike

Here's the address for Shane in case anyone wants to write him:

Shane Michaud # 72847
807 Cushing Road, 
Warren, Maine 04864-4600

From the homepage of the Department of Corrections' website under Family and Friends, you can deposit funds for commissary. 

You need the inmate's MDOC # and date of birth. Shane's info is 
MDOC #72847 and D.O.B. 9-24-88.

There are certain rules to follow if you write, like no colored paper. Only blue or black ink, etc... click here for the rules first.  

The rules for visiting are there too. Shane calls me about once a week. He gets a free 5 minute phone call. Why they don't allow prisoners more phone time is... well it's criminal! Hearing from family and friends is important to rehabilitation and to prisoners' morale.

I just found out that some of the inmates began protesting conditions there in Warren on Thursday! By Evan Popp, Maine State Prison residents launch hunger strike over conditions they call solitary confinement

Shane has stated at times he's only allowed out for a very short time each day, due to staff shortages apparently. 

Randall Liberty is the Commissioner at the state prison, and fairly new at that job; however, was previously the warden there. Liberty was a guest on the Maine podcast "Let's Talk About It" 

I might write to him. Criminal defendants who are facing jail time, and those who are already incarcerated while waiting for their "speedy trial" have a constitutional right to have counsel, effective counsel, appointed to them...and Maine is being sued for failing to provide it.

And according to a Portland Press Herald story: ‘It’s incredibly stressful:’ Aroostook defendants say weeks spent without attorneys makes defense impossible. Yeah there are even fewer lawyers there. Maybe that's because in 2008 and 2010 the Maine Supreme Court crushed Husson College in Bangor's hope of educating students to become lawyers. 

It all boils down to the American Bar Association's strict position/policy, whatever: they want professors to be tenured. And Husson stopped giving lifetime appointments to professors long ago. 

Attorney General Aaron Frey said he wasn't familiar with the Maine Supreme Court rulings, when I mentioned it during an interview Jennifer Rooks conducted with him on Maine Calling last Thursday. I was the last caller to speak. 

It will be of little avail to the poeple that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. 

                                                      ~James Madison

Portland Press Herald: ‘It’s incredibly stressful:’ Aroostook defendants say weeks spent without attorneys makes defense impossible

Shane sentenced - 9 years

St. Agatha man involved in 2022 shooting to serve nine years in prison...and 6 years probation. 

The shooting occured at around 5:30 a.m. Do you think they were just waking up? When I discovered the name of the individual who Shane allegedly shot, I googled his name: Justin Steggall. 

Justin L. Steggall, 24, Van Buren: motor vehicle speeding, 30-plus mph over the speed limit, 60 days in jail; failing to stop for an officer, 60 days in jail; driving to endanger, 60 days in jail, license suspended 30 days, $575 fine; operating while license suspended or revoked, prior, 60 days in jail, $500 fine.

Caribou Criminal Docket – February 2022

Justin L. Steggall, 26, Van Buren: Operating after habitual offender revocation, $1,000 fine; six months in jail; violating condition of release, 30 days in jail.

Justin L. Steggall, 26, Van Buren: Violating condition of release, 30 days in jail; permit unlawful use, $150 fine.

Justin L. Steggall, 26, Van Buren: Unlawful possession of methamphetamine, $400 fine, nine months one day in prison; violating condition of release, 30 days in jail.

So, if he was sentenced and served 9 months, he would have just been released when the shooting occured in November of 2022. He was indicted again, in May of 2023, well after the shooting. 

Grand Jury hands up May indictments 

Justin L. Steggall, 27, Limestone: aggravated operating after habitual offender revocation (three counts), eluding an officer, operating after revocation, criminal speed, driving to endanger and operating an unregistered vehicle.

Disenfranchised? Not ME

Texas appeals court overturns Crystal Mason’s conviction, 5-year sentence for illegal voting

“We are relieved for Ms. Mason, who has waited for too long with uncertainty about whether she would be imprisoned and separated from her family for five years simply for trying to do her civic duty,” said Thomas Buser-Clancy, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. 

Maine and Vermont are the only two states where anyone can vote. Other states prohibit prisoners, or individuals who've been convicted of certain felonies from voting; the total of disenfranchised individuals is 5.85 million.

Maine and Vermont are also the safest...although if you were to factor in corruption by government and local officials, judges, etc., I'm sure Maine would not rank as highly.

Here's a report from the Business Insider: The 20 safest states in the US, ranked

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Investigation into Lewiston mass shooting

Who was Robert Card? Confirmed details on Maine gunman

Governor Mills established an Independent Commission to investigate the Lewiston mass shooting (ICL) last fall after there were apparent failures by law enforcement and other individuals who may have held the key to prevention. 

The Commission held its first public hearing on November 20, 2023 and I attended. I got the opportunity to speak, and took it. The meetings were recorded and are available at the Maine government webpage for the Commission. I come in at around 10:35 a.m.  

The Commission is chaired by Daniel Wathen, a former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Wathen is from Aroostook County, like me. Easton being his home town, it's just a few miles from where the sun first rises in the United States; depending on the time of year, it's Cadillac Mountain or Mars Hill. 

Even open government laws like the Sunshine Act have some exceptions. And when oversight exists it's often unrushed and/or unproductive, or self-policed by the actual individual complained about, or by those with close ties to them.

When I began to voice my dissatisfaction with certain past decisions made by the Commission members who are former judicial officers of Maine courts, Wathen tried to silence me, saying it was irrelevant. 

The ability to hold judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and other government employees accountable for blatant and harmful decisions is relevant to the investigation, and to the work the public expects of the Commission. 

I mentioned the case Kingsbury v. Forbes, which was a 1998 Maine Supreme Court decision, which got there after it was dismissed, maybe with prejudice, in superior court; I can't remember. The dissent (disagreement) in the case was written by Justice Dana, and Justices Roberts and Clifford agreed with it; here's the last of three paragraphs of the dissent. Daniel Wathen, chair of the ICL, was the chief justice then and in the majority decision:  

Kingsbury v. Forbes (1998)

[¶ 11] A pro se party who has complied with the requirements of the rules and reasonably has placed the responsibility for the next step in the proceedings in the hands of the court, in my opinion, has demonstrated the good cause necessary to prevent dismissal pursuant to M.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Holding pro se litigants involved in small claims actions to the technical requirements of Rule 41(b) in circumstances where the court system has failed to fulfill its own responsibilities defeats the goal of providing a litigant-friendly procedure to resolve small claims disputes. I would therefore vacate the judgment of the Superior Court. 

As for Gorman, she's ruled against me and members of my family, violating our rights of due process of the law. You'll find my past posts regarding her by using the search bar in the top left corner of my blog's homepage.

Regarding Rushlau, read this: Former Lincoln County Employee Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit. According to the Bangor Daily News story, Chastity Krah was a victim witness advocate who in 2016 sued multiple individuals including Geoffrey Rushlau, who was then District Attorney for four Maine counties. 

Rushlau forced her to resign in December 2014 under false and misleading pretenses

I believe that between the time the lawsuit was filed and settlements were reached, is when then-governor Paul LePage appointed and the Maine Senate confirmed Rushlau to the District Court in Wiscasset...lucky me. 

Wiscasset District Court is where I had to go to try to defend myself in May of 2022 against false claims of harassment (WISDC-PA-2022-00071) by my son's ex-girlfriend, Andrea Picard. Rushlau granted her a  Protection from Abuse order. 

In the meeting, I mention how Andrea imprisoned me: restrained my movement by leaving her children with me when I hadn't agreed to supervise and couldn't reach her for days. Shane wasn't always able to care for them when he lived with us due to his drug use. I could've applied for a protection order against her, but didn't. She later moved to Waldoboro with her new boyfriend, whose parents live nearby; and she has kept Pete and I from our grandsons for almost three years now. 

Andrea had also placed a PFA on Shane, who is now incarcerated after an altercation of some sort with Justin Steggall. I'll write about that in another post; this one is already too long.

My four grandchildren in 2020, when we took them to Aroostook County to visit my relatives, and hers! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Shocking Announcement

Sergeant criticized for handling of Robert Card prior to mass shooting running against sheriff.

Parents convicted of involuntary manslaughter

There's some eerily similar facts in the Crumbley case, to the Maine mass shooting last fall in Lewiston. Ethan Crumbley's mother and father were charged with involuntary manslaughter in Oakland County, Michigan, and convicted in February and March, 2024:

From an NBC news story about the Crumbleys by Eric Ortiz and Corky Siemaszko

While neither James nor Jennifer Crumbley knew their son Ethan was plotting a deadly attack at his high school, they both failed in their legal responsibilities to help prevent it.

Here's what the Commission investigating the mass shooting in Lewiston last fall in which 18 people were killed, stated in it's 30 page Initial Interim Report a few days ago. 

The Commission is unanimous in finding that in September 2023, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office (hereinafter SCSO) had sufficient probable cause to take Robert Card Jr. into protective custody under Maine’s Yellow Flag1 law and to remove his firearms and that the SCSO had probable cause to believe that Mr. Card posed a likelihood of serious harm. 

When public safety officials who we're paying to protect us fail in their duties... to be continued.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Kentucky ruling favors felons

From Judge dismisses gun charge against convicted felon; ruled as unconstitutional (WAVE, 3/15/24) by Natalia Martinez:

Prohibiting a convicted felon from possessing a gun is unconstitutional, according to a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge’s ruling

Martinez reports the defendant, Jecory Frazier, "has been in and out of custody on a number of cases." 

The problem is many people are being released from jails and prisons though they are dangerous, despite they might not ever have been labeled a "felon." Without the proper supports to make changes in their environments when released, some revert to their former life of crime.

On the other hand many people who've committed non-violent crimes which have been classified as felonies, have been stripped of their gun rights. If you are a marijuana user you must report that on question 21 f of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' form 4473; and if you admit it, I believe your application would be denied. 

The federal "Firearms Transaction Record" as revised in August of 2023 is 7 pages, including about 4 pages of disclosures and explanations. 


2018 Maine settlement involved "more than a dozen police officers and prosecutors."

From the Portland Press Herald story

Former Gouldsboro resident Vladek Filler already reached a $375,000 settlement against more than a dozen police officers and prosecutors.

If you can't access that story because you don't have a subscription to the Portland Maine newspaper, here's a link to Filler's story at the National Registry of Exonerations.

And a summary at the website for WABI 5

In 2011, I blogged about this, and tried to help. You can use the search bar; use the keywords Filler petition.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A Jab at the Bar

Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer. How ironic, that The Maine Supreme Judicial Court - if Lincoln was alive today - would not allow him to practice law in Maine. States that do allow students to practice law, who've graduate from non-ABA-accredited schools, limit the cases they can litigate. An article at the Cleveland State University, tells what some of the pros and cons are:  

The short-term benefits of attending unaccredited law schools are outweighed by the realities of the legal profession. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBEX) found that 23 states and territories required completion of ABA-accredited law degrees for bar exam eligibility. Graduates of non-ABA accredited law schools limit where they can practice law from the start.

It's not like an individual is going to behave in a more ethical manner if he graduates from an ABA-accredited school than one who hasn't.

I was reading some of the decisions by The Maine Board of Bar Examiners today. One applicant, who wanted to practice law in Maine, had fraudulently married a man in 2010 so that he could stay in the United States: immigration fraud. She divorced him in 2013 so she could marry her boyfriend. I had to laugh when I read the following in the Board's decision on May 23, 2023 decision denying certification: 

When asked at hearing whether it was accurate to describe herself as being fully cooperative with police in light of her removal of the handcuffs, Ms. McGonagle testified that it would have been uncooperative if police had specifically told her not to remove the handcuffs. 

Now that's the kind of response I'd expect from a lawyer, and I might even hire her... and fire the police officer who didn't properly apply the handcuffs. 

The Board is sympathetic to those who have remorse and who have changed their ways. Apparently, the reason the Board denied McGonagle's application for a Certificate of Qualification on May 12, 2023:  

At every turn since 2010, Ms. McGonagle chose deception over candor. 

Despite her past, she'd been hired to work as a law clerk in Superior Court of York County, for two justices. When interviewed for the position in 2020 she wasn't asked about her past evidently. And in the summer of 2021 Allison took the Bar exam and passed it. 

Being of good moral character a supposed necessity to practice law in Maine, Allison appealed the Board's decision; she did that within days of getting their decision. Efficiency is a good skill for an attorney to have.

On August 31 a hearing was held, and on September 25, 2023 Justice Joseph Jabar remanded the case to the Board for issuance of a Certificate of Qualification! Surely having the two justices she clerked for, Mulhern and Douglas, testify on her behalf influenced the decision by the Maine Supreme Court justice.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Elusive Safety Committee - Lewiston, Maine

The Commission investigating the Lewiston Maine mass shooting (ICL) met again on March 4. I attended and listened to the stories of victims who survived, and family members and friends of those who didn't. They want answers, so something like this doesn't happen again...and solutions.

I've been trying to find out the status of the safety committee which Mayor Sheline formed last fall, before the mass shooting. Just before the committee was formed there was an incident at the library which is located downtown, near City Hall. 

I want to participate in the meetings. Nobody has returned my phone calls, despite that I've left messages a few times.

The mayor was at the March 4 ICL meeting. Before it got underway, he walked over to where I had just sat. I gave him a business card for my cleaning business, PJM Cleaning; and I wrote the name of this blog on the back. I told him that I've had some interactions with Lewiston police lately...and some were not good. I couldn't go into details. 

After the meeting, which lasted from 9 am until 1 pm, I walked around the room asking who I should contact about the going-ons of the Safety Committee. A man pointed to Brian O'Malley. He's the Deputy City Administrator for Lewiston, and the man said, a former police chief of Lewiston. 

I approached O'Malley, tried to speak with him about the safety committee, and offered my card; but he would not take it, and couldn't get away fast enough. It appears that the public didn't want law enforcement involved, but they were later included. It doesn't matter because they aren't holding any meetings anyway. 

Lewiston police union president speaks out against mayor's advisory committee

Under new City Council, Lewiston staff to serve on mayor’s community safety committee

Lewiston officials say public library is secure after employee assaul

Monday, March 4, 2024

"Speedy Trial" Act

The 131st Maine Legislature

Legislative Document LD 1771 - An Act Regarding Speedy Trials

From the Summary of the bill:

This bill establishes time limits for the commencement of a defendant's criminal trial and provides remedies for when the time limits have been violated.

The Legal Director for the ACLU of Maine, Carol Garvan, supports the bill. Ten other individuals gave testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, on May 10, 2023. You can read those here.

The only person who was neither for or against the bill was Andrea Mancuso, Public Policy Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV). And I agree with her. You can read her testimony here.

Passing the bill isn't going to guarantee that the constitutional rights of indigent criminal defendants don't get violated. There's been a lack of private attorneys willing to take on such cases in Maine for many years. A public defender's office was finally funded, and opened late in 2023; I learned about 
The Capital Region Public Defender's Office at Maine Public's website.

However, constitutional rights are being violated in other ways, such as flawed police arrests and investigations, prosecutors and attorneys holding back exculpatory evidence, plea bargains made under duress (all of them are actually), and uneducated, uninformed and/or dishonest jurors convicting defendants. 

The entire justice system needs overhauling. Rules are different depending on a person's wealth! Yes cash bail discriminates against the poor. Here are a few interesting reads about bail and bail reform:

And violations of due process of the law certainly exist in small claims cases and civil trials as well as in criminal cases and trials.

While I think the current crisis needs a solution, I don't agree the solution is to just set the accused free without the possibility of ever being tried for the alleged crime. If you scroll to the bottom of LD 1771, you'll see that's the proposed remedy.

§1493. Remedy for noncompliance with time limit

If a trial does not commence within the time established by statute, the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Robbins v. MCILS - ACLU lawsuit

At the website of the American Civil Liberties Union you'll find the complaint, as well as motions and orders, in pdf form, regarding the lawsuit in Maine which was granted class-action status in 2022.

Under the heading "Take Action" if you scroll to the bottom of the ACLU's webpage, there are topics you can click on and send prewritten letters by email to lawmakers.

In August, 2023 the Portland Press Herald reported that the ACLU and the Commission (MCILS) tasked with providing legal counsel to indigent defendants, had reached a deal. However, it didn't get approved by Justice Micaela Murphy. In September of 2023 under the story "Judge rejects proposed deal on indigent defense lawyers"

The agreement notably goes beyond the commission’s direct control, relying heavily on outside cooperation from court officials, state lawmakers and county jails. Much of the settlement depends on the commission “successfully advocating” for increased resources and support.

“I just don’t know what that means,” she said. “Does that mean you have to bring sleeping bags to the appropriations table?

If Husson College's law students had been allowed to take the Bar exam and practice law in Maine, even though professors at the college located in Bangor were not tenured, maybe there would not be this shortage of attorneys in Maine. From a March 4, 2010 story by Judy Harrison at the Bangor Daily News website, titled Supreme court rejects Husson law school’s application

In its proposal to the supreme court, representatives from Husson said its law school would cater to nontraditional students, offer courses at night and during the day, and allow students to attend part time. As of Thursday, Husson had received 192 inquiries from potential students, mostly from northern and eastern Maine, said Julie Green, Husson’s spokeswoman.

In 1963 The Supreme Court of the United States decided a case, Gideon v. Wainright. That case expanded legal assistance, to criminally charged defendants who could not afford counsel, not only in federal cases, but in state courts. At the American Bar Association's website, from a story in 2008 titled Access to Justice: Is Civil Gideon A Piece of the Puzzle? it's revealed that the ABA has known for thirty years what a problem we have in the United States, regarding the lack of legal aid in civil cases as well as criminal ones. 
...a 1994 ABA study that found that about four of every five civil legal needs for low-income families were not being met. Several subsequent state surveys found similar results.

Monday, March 2, 2020

"No peace can exist without justice" Alaska Judge Anna Von Reitz

Not all judges are evil. From Judge Von Reitz's Introduction:

"I am a Great-grandma from Big Lake, Alaska, who can read and think like millions of other Americans and for whatever reasons-- mostly a 17 year-long battle with the IRS--I decided to research the mess this country is in and how we got here."

I love the name of one of her books... America: Some Assembly Required. At her Home Page, you'll find over 2300 articles on a variety of topics relating to politics, the government, and law...and lawlessness.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Form 4473 - and the "Felon" label

The new form 4473 apparently makes it a crime to purchase a gun if you use marijuana. If marijuana users aren't allowed to purchase guns, does that mean law enforcement can take a gun or guns away from someone if they know that individual uses marijuana? Here's a link to a Portland Press story about the new form 4473.

Law-abiding citizens who turn in their guns, or don't purchase them because of this new question on the form 4473, will be helpless against the real criminals. Anyone can get a gun, whether it be through a friend, or through a failed background check as shown below. My husband, Pete, had been labeled a felon, due to a conviction in 1981, but was still approved in 2003 to purchase a gun.

He also purchased guns at K-Mart, Joe Jones, and other dealers. The "felon" label never goes away in Maine, unless you apply for a pardon and it's granted. The state arbitrarily preys upon those who, though they may have made mistakes in the past, might have changed.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Double Jeopardy...or worse.

Maine Game Wardens assisted by other law enforcement officials in April of 2011, raided our home and seized our family's guns, all because of Pete's decades old conviction in 1981 when he was 19 years old. That's like double jeopardy (prosecution twice for the same offense), except you don't get tried the second time...just convicted.

I asked for Intervenor status. Any firearms purchased during our mariage were marital property. Also, I thought it a good idea for Pete to have a Frank's hearing to challenge the search warrant. Law enforcement also
 took guns that belonged to our sons, which we kept in our safe until needed during hunting season. 

A hearing regarding my request to have intervenor status was scheduled in 2013; however I was not notified! Since Pete wanted to get things over with, he never told me, and neither he or his court-appointed attorney went to the hearing, so my motion was dismissed. Pete ended up agreeing to a plea bargain for the supposed crime of being a felon in possession of firearms. He spent a week in jail, lost his guns to the state, has to pay a fine (put on a payment plan), and probably has another felony on his record. 

Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record) has a question on it, 11.e., which asks the applicant if they use marijuana. Despite that your state may have legalized it for recreational use, or even if you have been prescribed it for medical use, you will not be able to legally purchase a gun if you admit to using marijuana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explains to Federal Firearms Licencees in this open letter in 2011.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. vs. Harford Glass Co.

I previously blogged about an employer who lied to the Maine Department of Labor during an interview regarding unemployment benefits. He said I had quit. I didn't quit...I was wrongfully terminated. 

The Unemployment Commission on January 31, 2017, affirmed the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which had affirmed the decision of the Bureau of Labor...or whatever. They're all birds of a feather, and they flock together. By now I know the chances of getting justice if you are just an average Joe or Joann are pretty slim. I've asked for a reconsideration regardless. 

I have 6 months from the date of the alleged violations of employment law, to file a complaint with the EEOC. That deadline will come around the end of March. 

Anyway, there is no deadline to get a decision reversed if someone lies in court, or to a government agency like the Maine Department of Labor. Here's a Wikipedia article about the Supreme Court case Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Co. which affirmed that. However, most people even if they're sure the law is on their side, can't afford the high cost of litigation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Look a likes - Gorsuch and Stewart II

Neil Gorsuch was nominated to be the next justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He has a look alike in Maine: Justice Hal Stewart II.

Gorsuch was chosen by President Donald Trump, though former President Barack Obama wanted a judge, named Merrick Garland, to replace Antonin Scalia, according to an Associated Press story. Scalia passed away on 2-13-2016

Neil Gorsuch

Harold Stewart II

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lawyers Reprimanded

I was working for Wyman's of Maine in their factory in Cherryfield during blueberry harvest when I first read the story while on break in the cafeteria. The August 6, 2015 story in the Ellsworth American is titled "Two area lawyers reprimanded", written by Stephen Rappaport. I've provided a link to the newspaper's website, but couldn't find the story online. I did save the newspaper clipping, so I'll quote from it:
In a second order also issued July 20, Ellsworth attorney Steven A. Juskewitch was similarly sanctioned for his "repetitive improper conduct and inappropriate action" for communicating with a woman who was not his client, and who had no lawyer, in an effort to obtain her signature "on documents that would ultimately benefit his client..."
Huh, an attorney was reprimanded for doing what Judge Hunter had done to Pete: got his signature on a form from the District Attorney when Pete didn't have an attorney's help. 

When I tried to stop Pete from signing anything, and called out "don't sign", Judge Hunter imprisoned me. That morning I had asked the clerk for a form and filled it out with Pete; he hate's paperwork you know. The form was a request for an attorney, at the state's expense. Maine Game Wardens in 2011 confiscated our family's guns under the guise of public safety. Pete had never asked to be pardoned after being convicted of a felony in 1981.

Judge Hunter had the bailiff take me in handcuffs to the law library of the Superior Court in Caribou. It was only for an hour or two, until he got Pete to sign what Assistant District Attorney April Hare had placed before him. It was bail conditions, though he hadn't been arrested! When they took our guns they gave him a summons. I made a complaint regarding Judge Hunter, but the Committee for Judicial Responsibility and Disability dismissed it of course. 

And here's what the the other attorney was reprimanded or sanctioned for, by the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar. The Ellsworth American story doesn't say what the sanctions were. 

In a Stipulated Report of Findings and Order dated July 20, Hancock County Assistant District Attorney William B. Entwisle of Sedgwick was sanctioned "for improper actions and lack of appropriate professional judgment" arising from his failure to turn over discovery materials to the defendants or their lawyers in two separate criminal cases he was prosecuting.

Hungry for Justice - Panel finds no bias in MHRC?

Here's a link to a post I made in October of 2011 after being fired from my waitressing job at the Long Lake Sporting Club.

So, I filed a complaint with The Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) regarding the Martin's. Soon, the MHRC gagged me. That is, they made me sign a statement agreeing not to discuss (or write about) the case while they performed their so-called preliminary investigation. Sounds to me like a violation of the 1st Amendment right to free a Commission that's supposed to protect human rights? 

Regardless, I refrained from blogging about what the owners of this small town, family-owned restaurant in Sinclair Maine had done. It took two years for the MHRC to complete it's investigation; and they found there was NRG - that is No Reasonable Grounds to believe that discrimination occurred. 

Last fall the governor ordered an investigation of the Commission, worried that the Commission was biased against employers! And guess what? Well, read about it here. The story's title, LePage’s probe of human rights panel finds no bias against businesses, leaves no doubt in ones mind of what the outcome was. Any reasonable person would have found that the Commission is biased... against employees! How else can you explain this, from the story? 
The report found that in 2014, only 5 percent of the cases filed with the commission resulted in the commission finding reasonable grounds that there was a violation.
You can see for yourself from the pdf's of the meeting minutes at the Commission's website. The MHRC didn't take Michael Aftkin's case, and he ended up winning a lawsuit against his employer. 

Or you can believe the MHRC. They posted about the findings of the investigation at their website, under news or archives, titled "News flash: MHRC is not biased!" And can you guess what they feel is needed in order to advance the MHRC's good work? You'll find the answers at the law firm PretiFlaherty's website in a post titled "Governor's Panel supports Maine Human Rights Commission" at 13. Increase the MHRC’s budget. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Litigant-unfriendly decision in Maine - Kingsbury v. Forbes (1998)

Following is a bit of the dissent from a 1998 case, which got to the Maine Supreme Court on appeal after being dismissed in a lower court. Chief Justice Daniel Wathen was in the majority who voted to dismiss Robert Forbes' appeal. 

From the dissent in that 1998 case, Kingsbury v. Forbes:

[¶ 11] A pro se party who has complied with the requirements of the rules and reasonably has placed the responsibility for the next step in the proceedings in the hands of the court, in my opinion, has demonstrated the good cause necessary to prevent dismissal pursuant to M.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Holding pro se litigants involved in small claims actions to the technical requirements of Rule 41(b) in circumstances where the court system has failed to fulfill its own responsibilities defeats the goal of providing a litigant-friendly procedure to resolve small claims disputes.   I would therefore vacate the judgment of the Superior Court.

If you go to the Findlaw website, the decision doesn't state who the dissenting judges were, but at Casetext: Smarter Legal Research it does:

DANA, Justice, with whom ROBERTS and CLIFFORD, Justices, join, dissenting.

Here's the citation given at the Casetext website: 

Kingsbury v. Forbes, 714 A.2d 149, 152 (Me. 1998)

The latest on Mary Kellett...

Well, here's news about Mary Kellett. An attorney named Luke Rioux posted the latest at his website Harmless Error, writing that the penalty for the Assistant D.A. Kellett's dirty deeds was "almost nothing."

I helped circulate a petition calling for her dismissal a while back, after Judge Kevin Cuddy found Kellett guilty of prosecutorial misconduct. She'd kept important facts of the case from Vladek Filler's attorney... evidence which was detrimental to the prosecution. Filler was then found guilty of domestic violence and/or charges of that nature.

Interesting, Kellett's disciplinary hearing was presided over by Ellen Gorman. She's the judge who kept us from getting to trial in Androscoggin Superior Court after doctors at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital treated my son, Aaron, for a dislocated shoulder, when it was in fact broken.

The fracture was so slight that it went undetected by emergency room doctors. Yet after they treated for a dislocation, my son needed surgery and pins because they displaced the fracture. That happened in 2000, when Aaron was 14 years old.

The case was pursued for six years with Attorney Anthony Ferguson before we finally got before the medical malpractice screening panel. After an unfavorable decision there, Ferguson dropped the case, and I filed suit on behalf of my then minor son.

Ellen Gorman, a Superior Court justice in 2006, soon awarded summary judgment to the doctors involved, though in their responses to my complaint, they had admitted a "valid claim exists to defend."

The attorney, Patrick Strawbridge, of the law firm Preti Flaherty representing the medical professionals, had asked for a jury trial and paid the $300 fee. From the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 38 e regarding withdrawal

A demand for trial by jury made as provided in this rule may not be withdrawn without the consent of all parties.

Aaron was and I believe still is entitled to a trial by jury.

Judge sentenced to 28 years... Yahoooo!!!!!!!!!

Remember a few years ago in Pennsylvania a few judges were selling out to private prisons... jailing adolescents who shouldn't be? Well, one of those judges was just sentenced... here's the story.
The state's Supreme Court just threw out 4000 convictions under Ciavarella's rule.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Marijuana legalization

Found a story titled Portland, Maine May Legalize Pot. Maine's largest city may soon legalize the herb.  
Among the plan's supporters, Maine ACLU representative Bob Talbot notes that Maine spent $8.9 million enforcing marijuana laws in 2010, and that 47.9 % of all the state's drug arrests that year were for pot charges.
Since legislators killed a bill to legalize pot recently, I read somewhere that it will be 2016 before any law legalizing recreational use could be passed and go into effect.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pete accepts plea bargain.

Regarding the charges against my husband stemming from the April 28, 2011 search and confiscation of my family's firearms at our home...Pete accepted a plea bargain. Maine Game Wardens obtained a search warrant based on nothing but Pete's "felon" conviction from 1981 and the fact that they'd seen him carrying a gun, while hunting.

Just before he pled guilty, I mailed to the court a motion to be an intervener in the case; but I got no answer. I have a stake in this, as the guns are marital property. The judge didn't respond to my filing. However, the clerk of the court did send a date-stamped copy of my motion to the D.A., and to Pete's attorney who then sent it to Pete.

If a warrant is obtained on false or missing information which would have made a difference in the judge's decision to issue the warrant or not, the case should be dismissed. Well, I requested a Frank's hearing to challenge jurisdiction. However, since the judge wouldn't acknowledge me as a party to the case, that went nowhere.

Two other attorneys had asked to be dismissed from his case... probably because I was asking questions they felt uncomfortable answering, or just couldn't answer without admitting that the whole system is set up to screw the average Joe! Law enforcement officers, in this case the Maine Game Warden Service, often play the "public exigency" card to obtain a warrant, when they have no real reason to believe any danger is about to come to the public.

Apparently, Judge Hunter recused himself from the case. It could well be due to my filing a complaint against him with the Committee for Judicial Responsibility and Disability. Why did I file a complaint? Well, Judge Hunter imprisoned me in the law library of the Superior Court. It's true, he had me handcuffed by the bailiff and escorted out of the courtroom when I tried to assist Pete, who had yet to be appointed an attorney. Judge Hunter wanted him to sign papers put before him by the prosecution: bail conditions, though he wasn't under arrest! With me out of the picture, Pete signed. And he was not too happy that I'd caused a scene, because he had to wait for me for about an hour after he got out of court. To be released I had to apologize to the judge for disrupting his courtroom.

My complaint to the Committee for Judicial Responsibility and Disability was dismissed. Are you surprised? I'm not. This Committee's budget is controlled by judges; complaints are usually dismissed.

The state has yet to return any of ours or our sons' guns. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is there a pharmacist in the house?

Yes. after I wrote to Representative Joseph Bruno a few years ago asking for his help regarding a summary judgment by Judge Ellen Gorman in my son's medical malpractice case, essentially denying him a trial and telling him "You lose," Bruno resigned. 

Soon after that, I discovered his ties to the medical community. Well, a recent investigation reveals other legislators and their spouses who benefited from State of Maine contracts from 2003 to 2010 totaling about $235 million... contracts not required to be disclosed because the receiving party was the legislator's company and not the individual legislator; how sick is that?

In the story there's a link to a chart telling who and how much. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LePage proposes cuts - but there is a larger debt train than Medicaid!

A December 7, 2011 Morning Sentinel story gives these numbers:
MaineCare is a $2.5 billion-a-year program, although federal funding and other revenue cover most of the cost. MaineCare will cost the state's general fund about $660 million this year.
From a New York Times story on December 23, 2011, about Governor LePage's proposed Medicaid cuts:
Calling the state’s entitlement system “a runaway train,” he has proposed contentious changes, including some of the most drastic Medicaid cuts in the nation.
But Dan Billings in May of 2010, before he was appointed as LePage's chief legal counsel, wrote about another, even larger debt train than Medicaid - it's Maine's unfunded pension obligations, totaling in the billions of dollars! Quoting Billings from the article:
You may wonder how Maine has more debt than the bonds approved by voters. Though the Maine Constitution strictly limits loaning Maine's credit "directly or indirectly," through the years politicians have been creative in coming up with numerous ways that debt could be incurred without voter approval. Unfortunately, Maine's courts, beneficiaries of this extraconstitutional debt, have upheld such schemes.
Maine also has unfunded pension obligations totaling nearly $4 billion. In addition, unfunded obligations for health care coverage for retired state employees, teachers and legislators is estimated to be more than $2.2 billion. These are bills that are certain to come due that will be paid by Maine taxpayers.

"Legislator loophole" - Governor LePage proposes to close it

Legislators and government officials, may soon have to disclose more details about their ties to companies which receive government monies. From the 12-15-11 article:  
Current law only requires that legislators or high-level state employees report state purchases of goods or services worth more than $1,000 directly from the individual legislator or family member, not from a corporation or entity for which the legislator or family member works.

A report by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting  apparently is what prompted Governor LePage to propose the legislation. The story by Naomi Shalit and John CristieIt looks like in a seven year period, 2003-2010, an average of 34 million dollars per year was received by companies owned by legislators or immediate family members of legislators, or by companies which employed them.

Another loophole exists; and the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission, Jonathan Wayne, doesn't believe that it can be closed until 2013. It's that the deadline for legislators to report such affiliations with companies which receive government money, often comes due after the legislator has left it never gets filed. From  the January 4, 2012 story
There is no disclosure form on file, for example, for the last month and a half that Kurt Adams served as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission in 2008.
This link from one of the stories  shows the names of the Maine officials and legislators whose companies, or companies owned, or partly owned or run by family members, were the major benefactors of our hard-earned tax dollars.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Food for thought

I've been soooooo busy. I'm trying to get my rental units occupied for winter, and my father-in-law, Alcide Michaud, passed away on October 2. 

I started work as a waitress on Friday, September 30, at the Long Lake Sporting Club in Sinclair. I hadn't done anything like that since high school. I was excited about the chance to earn a hundred or more dollars in like five hours of work; however, I was denied an equal share of the pooled tips! Telling me I was still "in training" the owners allowed the waitress in charge to give me less than half the pay other waitresses received... including one who was hired a few days AFTER I was!  

About the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

And now I've been fired. Quoting the owners "It's just not working out." Luckily chef and co-owner of The Swamp Buck, Mark Tardif, had called me just a few days before I was fired, and I've been putting in a few hours at the restaurant, doing some cleaning. I met a woman there named Mindy, who said the owners of the Sporting Club, Deb and Ken Martin, had done the same thing to her.
We actually get to take breaks there, and we have a time clock... unlike at the Sporting Club. Though it isn't illegal to not have a time clock, it is illegal not to pay employees for hours worked simply because you didn't get any customers that day, or night. 

Maine Department of Labor

Maine Human Rights Commission - The Whistleblower's Protection Act is supposed to protect a person who reports his/her employer's illegal activity and then is fired. You'll find actual reports at the Commission's website, however names are hidden. 

Deal, or No Deal? The plea bargain

My husband, Pete, had to appear in court today regarding the "felon in possession of firearms" charges. He wouldn't let me go to court with him. He wants to get this over with. I want him to go to trial. It's causing alot of anxiety in our home. 

Hunting was a sport that he enjoyed so much, and something our sons liked to do with him. Maine and federal law enforcement officers, judges, and other players in the so-called "justice system" have turned our lives upside down. 

Back in May I blogged about the unreasonable search and seizure involving about a dozen employees of Maine - most of them Maine Game Wardens, and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). 

Agents of the state and federal governments took over a dozen guns - many belonging to our sons - from our home on April 28, 2011. They did it under the guise of public safety, even though they waited 3 months before acting on the knowledge that Pete was a "felon" and in possession of a firearm. We kept our family's guns in a locked safe until needed during hunting season.

Here's some information about plea bargains from a 1979 law journal, titled Plea Bargaining - A Necessary Evil?