Chief Justice Leigh Saufley delivers State of the Judiciary
AUGUSTA, Maine: Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court delivered the annual State of the Judiciary address on February 9, 2012.  In her address, Saufley announced a change to the state's policy regarding bail in domestic violence cases. Effective immediately, bail commissioners may not set bail in domestic violence cases unless they have access to the defendant’s criminal record.
"To make well-informed decisions, they [bail commissioners] must have the information. Too often, they are not receiving the reports. That is simply not acceptable," said Saufley. Governor Paul LePage and House Minority Leader Emily Cain both voiced their support for the policy change. Criminal defense attorneys have expressed concern over the court's new policy. Walter McKee, an attorney in Augusta, said "I am deeply concerned that the likely effect here is that people merely accused of crimes are going to be held without any bail whatsoever. That’s flatly unfair, unconstitutional and disappointing. The overwhelming majority of those arrested are going to be held while waiting for information that will have zero impact on any bail issue.” 
Saufley also announced that the court system would begin audio web streaming of oral arguments to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
|This article was written by Kelly O'Keefe, the Director of Development for the Lucy Burns Institute. She can be reached at Kelly.O'Keefe@lucyburns.org.|