Samantha Hogan

Reporter

Amid Calls for Reform, Maine’s Criminal Defense System Reaches a “Breaking Point”

As the Maine legislature considers a cash infusion to its public defense system, the state’s governor has yet to signal approval of the proposal, which critics say is not enough to fix the struggling agency.

Following a DUI Arrest, Maine Defense Lawyer Banned From Representing Defendants

For nearly two weeks after her arrest, a Maine lawyer continued to be contracted by a state agency with a record of mismanagement to serve as legal counsel for Maine’s poorest residents.

Lawyers Who Were Ineligible to Handle Serious Criminal Charges Were Given Thousands of These Cases Anyway

In the only state with no public defenders, people charged with murder and other serious crimes can get assigned attorneys who are legally ineligible to take on their cases. The state claims it was unaware.

Maine Governor Won’t Fund Reforms for Public Defense Agency Without Accountability

The state’s defense agency for the poor lacks the oversight structures and staffing to provide high-quality representation, a report found. The governor says more money won’t fix accountability problems.

Following Our Investigation, the Director of Maine’s Public Defense Agency Resigns

Amid mounting criticism of his management of attorneys, finances and the quality of legal services for Maine’s poor, John Pelletier stepped down as executive director of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services. His last day will be Dec. 11.

Maine Officials Propose Doubling Budget for Agency Charged With Defending the Poor

Lawyers proposed opening Maine’s first two public defender offices and a substantial pay raise for court-appointed counsel in a $35.4 million budget approved by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services.

Maine Hires Lawyers With Criminal Records to Defend Poor Residents. The Governor Wants Reform.

Gov. Janet Mills publicly called for a bipartisan effort to reform Maine’s defense system for poor people accused of crimes in response to an investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica.

She Was Afraid of Her Lawyer. Then the Text Messages Started.

Leah Kerwin started receiving daily texts and videos explicitly requesting oral sex or intercourse. They came from her court-appointed attorney, who had already been suspended for other misconduct.

Maine Hires Lawyers With Criminal Records to Defend Its Poorest Residents

Maine is the only state in the country with no public defender system. Instead, legal services for the poor are left to private attorneys, who face disproportionately high amounts of discipline, and an office that doesn’t supervise them.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica