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Articles and Investigations – ProPublica: Maine Officials Propose Doubling Budget for Agency Charged With Defending the Poor


ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

This article was produced in partnership with The Maine Monitor, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

Officials in Maine are proposing to double the size of the budget set aside to provide the legal services needed to adequately defend the state’s poor who are accused of crimes.

The $35.4 million proposal put forward by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services, or MCILS, would establish the state’s first two public defender offices and provide a substantial raise to private attorneys paid to represent the poor. Members debated the large price tag before unanimously voting in support of the budget plan on Oct. 15. One commissioner was absent.

If approved by the governor and Legislature, the proposal would be the biggest infusion of money ever into the commission, whose troubled history of oversight of its attorneys’ conduct was documented this month by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica.

“Not asking for what is needed to properly fund and run the system has been a common problem for the last decade, and it’s part of the reason that we’re in the mess we’re in right now. I understand and can live with the idea that we’re going to ask for everything,” said Sarah Churchill, a member of the commission who voted in support of the budget proposal and is a former court-appointed attorney.

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The proposal’s fate is uncertain, however, since the coronavirus pandemic has left the state in financial difficulties. The latest estimate by the Revenue Forecasting Committee in August 2020 said that general fund revenues will decrease by $883.2 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Highway fund revenues are also estimated to drop $30.5 million in the same period.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, appointed eight legal experts, including Churchill, in 2019 to a redesigned commission that oversees the state agency. The commissioners have met for 14 months to review and recommend changes to the state’s defense system.

The proposal is the first step in Maine’s biennium budget process, which will determine the next two years of state funding. The governor must submit a budget to the Legislature in January. It must be approved by the appropriations and financial affairs committee and then by lawmakers in each chamber. A final decision is not expected until June 2021.

Most of the new spending is earmarked to increase the hourly reimbursement rate from $60 an hour to $100 an hour for private attorneys who are appointed by courts to represent people who cannot afford legal services. A review of Maine’s defense system in 2018 found that the current pay was insufficient to cover the overhead costs of running a law practice. The last raise for state lawyers took effect in July 2015, when the rate increased from $55 an hour.

It is expected to cost almost $11.5 million a year to increase the reimbursement for court-appointed attorneys by $40 an hour.

Maine is the only state that does not employ any public defenders. MCILS instead maintains lists of private-practice attorneys whom judges can assign to criminal defendants, parents at risk of losing custody of their children and people in involuntary commitment or emancipation cases — when the person cannot afford to hire their own lawyer. Many states have moved away from the court-appointed system because it can be difficult to control costs.

Four state employees have run Maine’s unique defense system for 10 years. Now, the commission is asking lawmakers to add nearly 50 staff positions.

The commission is proposing nearly $4.5 million of new spending to open a trial-level public defender office in Kennebec County and to create a statewide office for appeals and post-conviction review cases.

The public defender office in Kennebec County would employ 17 new staff members, including seven full-time defense attorneys. The public defenders would be supported by a new chief and deputy district defender, three paralegals, two social workers, two investigators and an office manager.

David Carroll, the director of the criminal justice reform organization Sixth Amendment Center, said he was concerned the proposal did not go far enough. The center reviewed Maine’s system for indigent legal defense in 2018 and found that it did not meet national standards.

“It is a step in the right direction. It’s coming late. It’s coming in bad economic times. But at the end of the day, this is a constitutional duty this state has to do,” Carroll said. “The state is failing.”

Commissioner Bob LeBrasseur, a nonvoting member who works as a court-appointed attorney in Cumberland County, questioned during the budget discussion whether there would be adequate support staff in the new office. He asked if the commission was pushing for a public defender office that would begin underfunded and under-resourced. The consensus among members was that they needed to start somewhere.

The Kennebec County office is expected to cost $2 million to open next fiscal year.

Commissioners also requested $2.5 million to open an appeals office. The 20-person appellate office would have eight public defenders assigned to direct appeals and three attorneys devoted to post-conviction review cases.

The commission is also proposing spending $1.1 million a year to add 10 staff positions to the state office, which would manage training, supervision, mentorship and auditing of court-appointed attorneys.

Half of the new hires would perform financial oversight, including an audit director, an attorney to review internal financial operations and three support staff positions.

The proposal did not include two positions for attorneys specializing in family law and juvenile delinquency recommended by the Sixth Amendment Center.

The final budget proposal was delivered to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services on Oct. 19 and will be considered for Mills’ budget recommendations to the Legislature.

The governor and top lawmakers on judicial matters both expressed interest earlier this month in finding bipartisan solutions to problems at MCILS, The Maine Monitor reported.

Zach Heiden, chief counsel of the ACLU of Maine, which has threatened to bring a lawsuit for more than a year over what it says is inadequate representation of the poor, called the proposal “encouraging,” but said commissioners should have included all of the Sixth Amendment Center’s recommendations.

“The governor is very experienced with Maine’s criminal defense system. She knows the Constitution and the constitutional issues that are at stake,” Heiden said. “So I fully expect that she is going to treat this with the seriousness this deserves.”

Articles and Investigations – ProPublica


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realDonaldTrump on Twitter: So important to VOTE for Republicans in the House. Break away from Pelosi and her high Taxing new Radical Left friends. Protect your 2nd Amendment, Military, Vets, and sooo much more!


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6824 likes, 1668 retweets

realDonaldTrump on Twitter


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realDonaldTrump on Twitter: .@SeanParnellUSA is a bright star for Pennsylvania. Military, Vets, Low Taxes and your 2nd Amendment will be totally protected. His opponent is a weak and ineffective puppet for Pelosi and her new Radical Left friends. Vote for Sean Parnell!


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3726 likes, 953 retweets

realDonaldTrump on Twitter


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mikenov on Twitter: Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlists – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020 russian-radio.blogspot.com/2020/10/brookl… pic.twitter.com/gta00mycj1


mikenov on Twitter


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Saved and Shared Stories

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlists – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020



Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Russian Radio.

Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlists – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020

The Brooklyn Radio – <a href=”http://bklynradio.com” rel=”nofollow”>bklynradio.com</a>
————————————————————

Russia – News and Talk

1.29 Радио Свобода – The Brooklyn Radio
1.10 Echo Moscu – Эхо Москвы – The Brooklyn Radio
1.13 Kommersant 93.6 FM КоммерсантЪ FM – The Brooklyn Radio
1.14 Business FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Radio Sputnik – The Brooklyn Radio
Говорит Москва – The Brooklyn Radio
Коммерсантъ-FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Комсомольская правда – Россия – The Brooklyn Radio
Питер ФМ – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Маяк – The Brooklyn Radio
Русский мир – The Brooklyn Radio
«Красная Площадь» АНБ радио – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Jazz

1.12 Jazz 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio
The Breeze – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Classical

1.11 Classic FM – Gold – The Brooklyn Radio
1.8 Classic FM – Classic Vocals – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Классик – The Brooklyn Radio
Mariinsky.FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Орфей – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Classic Rock

1.1 ABBA 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Pop

1.4 Alla Pugacheva 101.ru Алла Пугачёва – The Brooklyn Radio
1.6 Best FM 100.5FM – Pop – Russia – The Brooklyn Radio
Power Хит FM 104.5 – The Brooklyn Radio
Power Хит FM 104.5 – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Меридиан – The Brooklyn Radio
Междугородье – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Артикль – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио СИ – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Спутник – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио ТСЛ – The Brooklyn Radio
Север FM – The Brooklyn Radio
AntiRadio – The Brooklyn Radio
Art Remix Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Break Beat Zone Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Catradio – The Brooklyn Radio
Fresh FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Graz FM – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – 90s

1.3 90s Gold 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Other and Regional Music

1.5 Avtoradio 90.3 FM Авто радио – The Brooklyn Radio
1.7 Cinema Music 101.ru – Soundtracks – The Brooklyn Radio
1.15 Dozhdlivoe Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.16 Leproradio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.17 Monte Carlo – The Brooklyn Radio
1.28 RTK Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.21 – 3 music Harmony – The Brooklyn Radio
Говорит Майкоп – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио 10 – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Курс – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Ливны – The Brooklyn Radio
Спутник FM – The Brooklyn Radio
ТВС – The Brooklyn Radio
NEON channel – The Brooklyn Radio
DWG Radio Russia – The Brooklyn Radio
M.Deep Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Бард-Радио – The Brooklyn Radio

Former USSR – Regional

АЛАНИЯ FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Ашҡаҙар радиоһы – The Brooklyn Radio

Azerbaijan

1.22 Radio Sputnik Azərbaycan – The Brooklyn Radio
1.25 Iradio – The Brooklyn Radio

Jazz

1.18 ABC Jazz Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.19 Contemporary Jazz Club – The Brooklyn Radio
1.20 Django’s Jazz Club – The Brooklyn Radio

Jazz – Vocals

1.2 Dash Radio – Ratpack – The Brooklyn Radio

Caribbean Music

1.26 Joy Gospel Radio FM – The Brooklyn Radio
1.27 Radio Campesina Cubana – The Brooklyn Radio
1.27 WDHP The Reef – The Brooklyn Radio
1.28 ZBVI – The Brooklyn Radio

Other Music

World Stations – Music

Isle of Man

1.23 – 3FM – The Brooklyn Radio

Gibraltar

1.24 BFBS Gibraltar – The Brooklyn Radio

Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlist – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020

______________________________________________

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


Categories
Trump Investigations

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlists – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020



Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from The Russian Radio.

Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlists – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020

The Brooklyn Radio – <a href=”http://bklynradio.com” rel=”nofollow”>bklynradio.com</a>
————————————————————

Russia – News and Talk

1.29 Радио Свобода – The Brooklyn Radio
1.10 Echo Moscu – Эхо Москвы – The Brooklyn Radio
1.13 Kommersant 93.6 FM КоммерсантЪ FM – The Brooklyn Radio
1.14 Business FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Radio Sputnik – The Brooklyn Radio
Говорит Москва – The Brooklyn Radio
Коммерсантъ-FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Комсомольская правда – Россия – The Brooklyn Radio
Питер ФМ – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Маяк – The Brooklyn Radio
Русский мир – The Brooklyn Radio
«Красная Площадь» АНБ радио – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Jazz

1.12 Jazz 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio
The Breeze – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Classical

1.11 Classic FM – Gold – The Brooklyn Radio
1.8 Classic FM – Classic Vocals – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Классик – The Brooklyn Radio
Mariinsky.FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Орфей – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Classic Rock

1.1 ABBA 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Pop

1.4 Alla Pugacheva 101.ru Алла Пугачёва – The Brooklyn Radio
1.6 Best FM 100.5FM – Pop – Russia – The Brooklyn Radio
Power Хит FM 104.5 – The Brooklyn Radio
Power Хит FM 104.5 – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Меридиан – The Brooklyn Radio
Междугородье – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Артикль – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио СИ – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Спутник – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио ТСЛ – The Brooklyn Radio
Север FM – The Brooklyn Radio
AntiRadio – The Brooklyn Radio
Art Remix Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Break Beat Zone Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Catradio – The Brooklyn Radio
Fresh FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Graz FM – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – 90s

1.3 90s Gold 101.ru – The Brooklyn Radio

Russia – Other and Regional Music

1.5 Avtoradio 90.3 FM Авто радио – The Brooklyn Radio
1.7 Cinema Music 101.ru – Soundtracks – The Brooklyn Radio
1.15 Dozhdlivoe Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.16 Leproradio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.17 Monte Carlo – The Brooklyn Radio
1.28 RTK Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.21 – 3 music Harmony – The Brooklyn Radio
Говорит Майкоп – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио 10 – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Курс – The Brooklyn Radio
Радио Ливны – The Brooklyn Radio
Спутник FM – The Brooklyn Radio
ТВС – The Brooklyn Radio
NEON channel – The Brooklyn Radio
DWG Radio Russia – The Brooklyn Radio
M.Deep Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
Бард-Радио – The Brooklyn Radio

Former USSR – Regional

АЛАНИЯ FM – The Brooklyn Radio
Ашҡаҙар радиоһы – The Brooklyn Radio

Azerbaijan

1.22 Radio Sputnik Azərbaycan – The Brooklyn Radio
1.25 Iradio – The Brooklyn Radio

Jazz

1.18 ABC Jazz Radio – The Brooklyn Radio
1.19 Contemporary Jazz Club – The Brooklyn Radio
1.20 Django’s Jazz Club – The Brooklyn Radio

Jazz – Vocals

1.2 Dash Radio – Ratpack – The Brooklyn Radio

Caribbean Music

1.26 Joy Gospel Radio FM – The Brooklyn Radio
1.27 Radio Campesina Cubana – The Brooklyn Radio
1.27 WDHP The Reef – The Brooklyn Radio
1.28 ZBVI – The Brooklyn Radio

Other Music

World Stations – Music

Isle of Man

1.23 – 3FM – The Brooklyn Radio

Gibraltar

1.24 BFBS Gibraltar – The Brooklyn Radio

Brooklyn Radio – Stations Playlist – 7:21 AM 10/25/2020

______________________________________________

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠


Categories
Trump Investigations

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