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.