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State of Maine Judicial Branch: Court Rules
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Criminal Procedure in the state of Maine
Paperback , pages. Published January 1st by Independently Published. More Details Friend Reviews. After 20 years in the Judicial Branch, I resolved that I ought to leave while I still had a good batting average and retired on January 23 of this year. On January 10, I was honored to be the beneficiary of a wonderful retirement dinner put on by the Bath-Brunswick Bar Association and this essay is a slightly revised and extended version of my remarks that night. After that reflection, I am somewhat less convinced of the importance of the particulars of what we decide in any given case, but I am also far more convinced of the systemic importance of the fact that we make decisions, that they are generally respected, and even when not, are enforceable.
Accordingly, my umbrella topic is the importance of the rule of law in our state. I begin my overview with resources, or lack of them. We have one of the hardest working but least well-funded judicial systems in the country by most statistical measures and almost the least well-paid judges.
The other important actors within the Judicial Branch, the clerks, the marshals and the administrators, are all paid less than they could be elsewhere.
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All of us share the bedrock assumptions that our judges have integrity, that our police and prosecutors are honest, that our clerks will handle a massive workload, and that our marshals will keep us safe. We all share the ethic of hard work, done well.
- Maine Rules of Unified Criminal Procedure 12222: Complete Rules as Revised Through April 4, 2017.
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So, we continue to make do with what we have and, somehow, it works. Our state government focuses a lot of its energy on economic development, as it should. But when I think about just what Maine offers that other places do not, it is two things—the quality of its people and the character of its place. It is still possible to go almost anywhere in Maine at almost any time of the day or night and feel personally safe. Our government is generally competent and clean. What if we lose these qualities?
I suggest that if we do so, that if the drug culture or street gangs or casual violence take over our unique place in a way that compromises our individual sense of well being, we will never get that feeling of security back. We all have to remember that civility is a core value of this place. One of the things that make our state such a good place to practice law in is the civility usually shown to each other by the members of our bar.
I know that there has been a long line of local judges who have made it a priority to nurture respect between and amongst the court and counsel in the mid-coast and elsewhere, and I and the other current class of judges and magistrates have sought to follow in their footsteps. I sometimes think of myself as a collector of other peoples wisdom. However, wisdom is also found in less likely places.
I found another quote that I cherish in a spy novel named Shibumi that was published back in The author observed:. Politeness is more reliable than the moist virtues of compassion, charity or sincerity; just as fair play is more important than the abstraction of justice. The major virtues tend to disintegrate under the pressures of convenient rationalization. But good form is good form and it stands immutable in the storm of circumstance.
It is not only possible but also necessary for judges and lawyers to disagree without being disagreeable when in court. Whatever else may happen, at a minimum, we should all be polite with each other, especially when we are tempted not to be. We model behavior, good or bad, to clients and everyone else in the courtroom. But the virtues of politeness go beyond that.
I can tell you that from having observed skillful lawyers in action that the most polite and respectful cross-examination techniques can sometimes wound the deepest, as the opposing party often does not quite realize that he or she has just been cut off at the knees. Moving on in our tour, let us consider the use of discretion and the value of actual justice, as opposed to compliance with the forms of justice.
All of us in the justice system have been temporarily entrusted with discretion by society and judges in particular have great latitude in many, but not all, cases.
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See, e. However, we offer the following discussion in the spirit of observing certain ethical ramifications raised by the inquiry, rather than as any attempt definitively to construe M. Matter of Dwyer , A. Assuming that such gratuities are indeed unsolicited, it is immaterial whether the act occurs during the course of ongoing representation or after the underlying matter is concluded.
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- Maine Rules of Unified Criminal Procedure with Advisory Notes & Comments.
Our view of the offering of cash, in however small an amount, necessarily differs from the above. The lawyer should reject the tender. The cautious practitioner would be wise to seek court authorization whenever in doubt. While sensitive to this possibility, we regard it as sufficiently remote that it can, for the present, be discounted.