In September, the Maine Supreme Court will hold a public hearing on a proposed change to the Maine Rules of Criminal Procedure. The proposal would extend from 48 to 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, the maximum allowable time for bringing a person before a judge for an initial appearance and the setting of bail after that person has been arrested for a crime. The proposed extension is a really bad idea. To illustrate, a person who is arrested on a Wednesday before a Monday holiday could be held in jail without appearing before a judge until the following Tuesday. Under the current rule, the State would be required to arrange for that person to appear before a judge on or before Friday, within 48 hours after arrest. The proposed amendment was floated because the Sheriff of Washington County has trouble finding an open courthouse with a judge who can handle initial appearances in time to meet the current 48-hour rule (which has been in place just about forever, by the way). So the Washington County Sheriff wants to extend the time to 72 hours, so he won’t have to set bad actors free because the rule’s been breached. With the ready availability of video conferencing, there is absolutely no justification for this rule change, but some folks evidently think it makes more sense to hold people in jail for an extra day than to figure out a way to apply readily available technology to fix the problem. Now, according to the following link, pointed out to me by Walt McKee, Esq., the Maine Sheriff’s Association as a whole stands with the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in opposition to this ill-conceived proposal. Kill it!
Maine Sheriffs Join Opposition To Propose Time Extension for Initial Appearance After Arrest
Update: The Law Court cancelled the public hearing and the idea died a quiet death. It didn’t require euthanasia.