Comments to Maine Supreme Judicial Court

December 15, 2017
The Reporters Committee submitted comments to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court regarding the implementation of policies governing electronic access to court records. The comments expressed concerns with recommendations that electronic access by the public be limited to only court-generated documents, and urged the Court to permit electronic access by the public to all judicial records filed in Maine Courts.

Maine bans texting, instant messaging to conduct state business

Michael Rooney | Freedom of Information | News | March 31, 2014
March 31, 2014

In Maine, the administration of Gov. Paul LePage has enacted a ban on state employees’ use of text messaging, instant messaging and the use of personal email accounts to conduct state business.

The directive is an effort to better comply with the Maine Freedom of Access Act, which requires all communications related to state business to be stored as state records and open to public inspection, unless the record falls into a particular exemption category.

Maine Today Media Inc., d/b/a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram v. State of Maine

June 27, 2013

Maine Today Media sought access to 911 records concerning a landlord-tenant dispute that turned deadly. Despite a presumption that 911 records are subject to disclosure, a trial court ruled that the state could withhold the records based on fears that if the records were disclosed, it could potentially harm witness testimony at the criminal trial. On appeal, Maine Today Media argued that the state had failed to demonstrate that such harm was possible.

Duke University drops subpoenas to lacrosse-scandal blogger

Lilly Chapa | Reporter's Privilege | News | March 4, 2013
March 4, 2013

Duke University has withdrawn subpoenas seeking communications between a college professor who wrote about the North Carolina school's lacrosse scandal and the student athletes following an appeals hearing last week.

Duke lawyers dropped the subpoenas Friday before U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby could rule on whether a lower court’s decision to enforce the subpoenas should be overturned in Maine, where the professor lives. A lawsuit against the university stemming from the lacrosse case was also settled two days prior, making a portion of the subpoenas moot.

Maine Supreme Court orders jury selection to be public in prostitution case

Rob Tricchinelli | Secret Courts | News | January 28, 2013
January 28, 2013

Maine’s highest court reversed a trial judge's decision and ordered jury selection to be public in a notable prostitution prosecution.

“A generalized concern that juror candor might be reduced if [jury selection] is conducted in public is insufficient . . . to bar the public or media from the entirety of the process,” according to the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley.

The trial court did not consider other less restrictive alternatives to closure that would still preserve the defendant’s rights, the opinion stated.

Maine judge orders release of alleged prostitute's clients' names

Lilly Chapa | Secret Courts | News | October 16, 2012
October 16, 2012

A Maine judge Monday ordered the release of the names of more than 100 men charged with hiring a prostitute but issued a temporary restraining order against the disclosure of some of the men’s addresses, causing confusion and leaving journalists unable to verify the identities of the defendants.

Controversial website not protected under press exemption to Maine campaign finance law

Lilly Chapa | News | October 3, 2012
October 3, 2012

A federal court Sunday upheld a fine against a campaign consultant who anonymously produced a controversial political website that violated Maine’s campaign finance laws.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torreson ruled that James Bailey’s website, “The Cutler Files,” was not excluded from Maine campaign finance laws under the statute's press exemption because it was not a “periodical publication.”

Maine newspapers object to 'exceedingly broad' protective order

Lilly Chapa | Secret Courts | News | October 1, 2012
October 1, 2012

Two Maine newspapers filed an objection Friday to a proposed protective order in a prostitution case that would prevent the discussion and dissemination of evidence and progress of the case.

Maine's amended Freedom of Access Act "a step forward"

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | September 5, 2012
September 5, 2012

Recent changes in Maine’s Freedom of Access Act have funded an ombudsman position and improved access to public records under the law.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Richard Rosen and signed into law last week by Gov. Paul LePage, is "a step forward" in the public's ability to access records in a system previously marked by confusion and poor organization, media advocates said.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): Maine bars the recording, interception, use or disclosure of any oral or telephonic communication by means of any mechanical or electronic device without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. The state also prohibits the recording and disclosure of images intercepted in violation of its privacy laws. Violators can face both civil and criminal penalties.