The Maine Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights submits this report regarding indigent legal services in Maine. The Committee submits this report as part of its responsibility to study and report on civil rights issues in the state. The contents of this report are primarily based on testimony the Committee heard during public meetings held via videoconference on October 20, 2022; November 15, 2022; and December 15, 2022. The Committee also includes related testimony submitted in writing during the relevant period of public comment.
This report begins with a brief background of the issues to be considered by the Committee. It then presents primary findings as they emerged from this testimony, as well as recommendations for addressing areas of civil rights concerns. This report is intended to focus on civil rights concerns regarding the right to legal defense for indigent persons. While additional important topics may have surfaced throughout the Committee’s inquiry, those matters that are outside the scope of this specific civil rights mandate are left for another discussion.