Maine is a small state with a very good judiciary. Now Maine is doing something atypical for a Supreme Court: Maine’s supreme court justices are planning to do their part to ease a backlog of felony cases.
The justices are going to serve as trial court judges this spring to try to help reduce the backlog of pending criminal cases. Mary Ann Lynch, the court information officer for the Maine court system, said that although the overall criminal docket is actually down in Maine, the number of felony cases has grown. Maine, like many states, is seeing drugs — particularly heroin and alcohol — playing a significant role in criminal behavior.
“Someone can be charged with shoplifting, but you find out they’re shoplifting because they’re drug addicts. It’s amazing the correlation with crimes, drugs and alcohol,” she said.
This isn’t the first time supreme court justices have sat as trial judges. They did at least once before, Lynch said.
Details are still being sorted out but rumor has it that many Maine trial court judges are anxiously awaiting to see the reaction of the supreme court justices when they get reversed for “abusing discretion.”